Sunday, 11 July 2010

Glen Allen: Voiceover Man

Glen Allen was "the voice" of UK Gold for four years during the mid-1990s, so naturally, WhoGold wanted a word...

Hello Glen, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions! How are you?

I’m very well. Rather amazed at your blog to be honest. It brought back so many wonderful memories.

Glad to hear it! So how did you first get into television? What gave you the broadcasting 'bug'?

Two seperate questions there as it turns out. Well, I got the bug at a very young age. In fact, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time - literally! I was in school (yes, just a "couple" of years ago) and a teacher called me over and asked how I fancied going to help out at the local hospital radio station, Radio Maelor in Wrexham, North Wales and I thought it sounded like fun. Through that I went to the local BBC radio station, Radio Clwyd, to help out with Children In Need, answering the phones, making the tea etc. At one point, after I'd become a familiar face for quite a while, doing odd jobs and recordings, I was asked to present when the regular presenter was on holiday.

As to how I got into television, well I was working at BBC Radio Clwyd when one of the girls handed me a copy of the Media Guardian. There was an advert saying something like "Do you like Doctor Who? Can you talk passionately about Eastenders? Do you enjoy classic TV shows?" and I thought "Ooh yes I do, to all three questions!". I sent off a voice demo with my application and two weeks later I was asked to go down to London and do an audition for UK Gold. Thats really how it all started...

What a great advert! So did you have to undergo any specialist training to become a continuity announcer?

Not so much training as such, but obviously moving from radio into television was quite a change. Some things stayed the same - I had to talk to time, of course. I remember from the audition being told "If you overscript or go over, then the visuals on-screen will automatically change so you’ll be talking about the wrong show over the wrong picture.” I mucked up my first go. Luckily they had tape problems, and I still don't know to this day if it that was true or if they were being kind and giving me another chance.

As I understand it, you write your own scripts for work - was it important for you to develop your own 'style' as a voiceover artist?

I think it was just something that evolved naturally. Listening to some of the clips on your blog I'm amazed at what I sounded like - especially around late 1993 when I had just started. I sound like someone who’s trying too hard, to my now trained ears! (laughs) As I settled in, and just generally knew more about the programmes I wanted to share my news, gossip, whatever you want to call it... Then I just started getting cheeky, and surprisingly most people liked it. It's the kind of style I still do today. I guess I “found myself”.

Would you say there was an art to writing a script for voiceover work?

In a word, yes. Ha. Now I know there are thousands of people who are regularly yelling at their televisions "I can do a better job than that!" and quite possibly they could, but you have to have the right voice to start with. If you mumble or aren’t clear about WHAT you’re saying then it doesnt matter how good the script is because the viewer isnt going to understand a word.

Of course, certain programmes appeal to certain groups. I saw a trail on your blog when Colin Baker appeared in both Doctor Who and Blake's 7, and that's a good illustration. Some Doctor Who fans don’t necessarily watch Blake's 7, so you sell the fact that someone they do like is in one of the episodes, then they just might give it a go.... Gawd I've gone on a bit, haven’t I?

Only a little.

Shut up, don’t answer that. (laughs)

Do you ever have to ad-lib announcements? Or do you always stick to the script? I assume when programmes are delayed or replaced you have to think on your feet?

Most of Gold was all written by me anyway, so there wasn't any need to ad-lib unless something just popped into my head. The same at Five too, although I do like to ad-lib off the back of the soaps - something I was doing on BBC1 and BBC2 as well, actually. I purposely wouldn't watch the end of the programmes on some occasions so I could react genuinely. I got a "Well Done" kind of message from the boss after an episode of Flash Forward - it wasn't anything dramatic or witty which made me smirk, it was a very confusing ending and someone we thought was dead suddenly appeared and I kinda went "Whaaat?" in an incredulous tone... you see, it was hardly Shakespeare (laughs) But apparently I hit the mood just right and it's what the viewers would have been thinking too.

It must be tough at work when you've got a cold. Do many voiceover artists insure their voicebox?

Funny enough, I think I have one at the moment... a cold I mean. It's either that or hayfever and I've never suffered from that. I don't think anyone has insured their voicebox. Is that possible? Maybe I should look into it...

Well I'm sure stranger body parts have been insured! So you landed the job at UK Gold in October 1993 - did you have much competition?

I can't remember, I suppose I must have. The guy who did my audition, Eric, still to this day reminds me "I gave you your start in TV, dear boy!" and it's true, he did. Apparently I wasn’t the best, but the one that showed the most potential to learn and adapt. Not sure how to take that, but I'll take it as a compliment.

What did you think of UK Gold before you joined?

I have to confess that I hadn't seen much of it, although I did want to get it, purely and simply for Doctor Who! When I heard I had the interview/audition I asked my Uncle and Auntie to record a couple of nights line-ups... now bear in mind this would be well before we were able to watch one channel and record another, so the poor guys must have sat through hours of UK Gold just for me... I guess they still had terrestrial!

So what was an average working day for Glen Allen? Were announcements always performed live on-air or did you tend to pre-record them?

I can't really remember how it was at the beginning, other than that we were live from about 6pm to 10pm. I would then record up to about midday the following day to give me time to get in the following day and start it all over again. This changed as time went on, and I also got involved in making promos. I produced a lot of the Doctor Who ones, and usually voiced too... and of course arranging our "special guests" for the in-vision continuity, which we’ll come to later...

Which other continuity announcers were at the channel when you joined?

Well, before my time the only ones they had were mainly promo voices who also recorded some continuity links. My good friend Trish Bertram (the smokey voice of London Weekend Television) often appears on early promos and continuity that pop up on YouTube these days... but by the time I arrived, it was just me.

On your own? Did you have to work every day? Or pre-record the weekend's worth of links in bulk?

Oh that still gives me nightmares! Yes, it was just me for a good few years. The only time someone else would do it would be if I was on holiday, and one year I was extremely amazed that BBC Radio 2’s Alex Lester stood in for me. I just couldn't get my head around that. Someone from Radio 2 was standing in for ME!??

Fridays were a headache. I mentioned earlier how I would record material up to about midday the following day. On Friday afternoons I had to record links for all day Saturday, all day Sunday and Monday morning up to midday - I'd finish Friday and wouldn’t know what day it was! I hated Fridays.

I don't blame you!

Originally when I started, the brief was to voice all of the idents of an evening and just a few throughout the daytime. It was my own silly fault that I decided it just didn't look right on-air with no introduction to some shows during the day. So I ended up recording something for every programme! No mean feat. But I created all the work for myself and shouldn’t complain about it.

Later on I was involved in cutting trailers and writing scripts for the in-vision stuff, as well as doing weekly voice sessions for "Gold Goes Pop". Eventually I had to say "ENOUGH!" and so other people came in under me - I was joined by Sue Radford, and then of course by the lovely Susanna Boccacio, who co-presented "A Flare For The Seventies" with me at the very end of our time there.

I think we've put it off long enough. Doctor Who. When did you become a fan? Do you have a favourite Doctor?

Favourite Doctor? TOM!!! Gotta be Tom. I met him last year actually (pictured below) and made him roar with laughter by turning one of his own stories back on him. I think I thanked him on behalf of my granny for making her bosoms tingle!

I think my first memory of Doctor Who is a very vague memory of Robot - or it might have been Pyramids of Mars.

Favourite story?

That's a difficult one. I seem to be in the minority of being a season eighteen fan - I love Logopolis and Castrovalva, but I think that's because Logopolis takes me back to my childhood and seeing my Doctor die, rather than it being an amazing story.

Many Who fans of a certain generation have happy memories of watching the Doctor Who Omnibus, and hearing your fun little introductions, in which you offered interesting trivia and some very honest opinions about the episodes... was introducing Who always a highlight for you?

Yes absolutely! I had to calm down, especially when we got round to doing in-vision links - they usually averaged about 20-30 seconds, but my Doctor Who musings would sometime last up to a minute, and I still hadn't finished what I wanted to say!

I was rather bemused to find an old link of mine from the end of one of the two screenings of Survival we put out, introducing it as "the last ever episode of Doctor Who”, to which someone (who's clearly only seen the new series) commented "What an idiot, saying that!" (laughs)

Right Glen, let's get geeky. What kind of tapes were used for broadcast?

Ah now I know this one, they were Betacam SP. That's what we broadcast on.

Some of the copies were not of the best quality - occasionally you had to apologise on-air for their shoddiness! Did you just have to use what the BBC gave you?

Yes, we had to use what the Beeb gave us, although I recall speaking to Rosie (their librarian) about colour copies of Doctor Who stories. I guess I must have seen The Daemons colourised on VHS so I knew that we didn't have what was actually available. I also tried to get The Ambassadors of Death in colour after seeing clips on More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS - of course, they didn't exist, the material that existed was "unbroadcastable". I'm pretty sure if there were any colour episodes I'd have tried to get hold of them.

The first episode of Ambassadors still exists on its original colour videotape, so I think they were having you on! Right Glen, let's test your memory. When UK Gold showed the Jon Pertwee era for the very first time (just before you arrived) the order the stories were shown in was completely random - very annoying for viewers, I'll bet! By the time Tom Baker's era began, the order was more or less correct - was that down to you?

It's possible, but I think they were already into Tom by the time I got there. Later, I would often be in meetings saying "Err, you can't show that story there because we haven't shown this one yet". I have a vague recollection of them transmitting them in production order rather than transmission order at one point.

Your recollection is good - Season 15 was first shown in production order (Invisible, Fang Rock, Sun Makers, Fendahl) rather than transmission order (Fang Rock, Invisible, Fendahl, Sun Makers). Tom Baker's era was shown often, but the surviving William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton stories were rarely seen during your time on UK Gold – was it simply because they were black and white programmes and the viewing figures weren't as high?

I don’t recall why no black and white ones were shown, but I remember being terribly excited when we were allowed to show Terry Nation's stories, which included 'The Keys of Marinus' (which I'd never seen). Did we have a Dalek season?

Indeed you did, the early Dalek stories started airing at the end of October 1993 with The Daleks. The repeats went right through to 1979's Destiny of the Daleks, rounding off with The Android Invasion and as you say, The Keys of Marinus.

I've unearthed a lot of UK Gold's trailers for the blog – there were some great Doctor Who trailers, did you have a hand in creating those too?

Some of the later Doctor Who trailers I produced. Off the top of my head I made trails for 'The Three Doctors', 'Underworld', 'The Two Doctors', 'The Curse of Fenric', 'Survival', 'The Claws of Axos', 'The Curse of Peladon', 'The Caves of Androzani' (loved that one), 'The Stones of Blood', 'Nightmare of Eden', 'Planet of The Spiders' (pictured below)... oh, and a very long compilation one for when we were going back to Jon Pertwee again - with Pat Troughton being outraged!

You'll be pleased to know we've got plenty of those (and others) in the WhoGold 'vaults', to be added at a later date. So, who came up with the idea for the Vortex sci-fi strand on weekend mornings?

Kim Lambert McCroddan, who was the Head of Presentation and Promotions. He also directed the famous and bloody fantastic gold bar “Forge” idents, as well as the “The Bullitt” sequences and "Comedy Cupboard", was it called? "The Vortex" was part of all that and I remember thinking it looked okay, not fantastic, but okay... of course it looks rather dated now.

Were you involved with the Doctor Who pages on Goldtext, UK Gold's teletext service? I remember it was page 270...

No, that would have all been done outside of the Presentation department. I did have some contact with them. I remember we got hold of several copies of 'Star Trek: First Contact' to give away and I made a trail to air during The Vortex. I think there were some goodies from The Who Shop too. That was more intense than I thought and there were loads of entries. That was a Goldtext competition, but other than that I didn't have a lot to do with it.

We've got clips from Sunday 31st August 1997, recorded hours following the tragic death of Princess Diana – you were announcing programmes on UK Gold that morning, which included the Doctor Who omnibus (which had to be changed at short notice, Planet of the Spiders replaced The Armageddon Factor). Do you have any memories of that? Was it difficult working in such an atmosphere?

I remember that day very well. Only that week’s editor (four editors were responsible for a week each per month) and I went into work. You got Planet of the Spiders purely and simply because that was the only six-parter we had left in the library. I remember lying on the floor checking under all the shelves in case we had anything else. In retrospect I'm not sure people would have been that offended about a fictional princess in an old sci-fi show.

We had to view every show that was going out that day to make sure it was safe. Two comedies had to go. One was a Jasper Carrott episode that had him talking about fast cars and "Who wants to go at 100 miles an hour anyway, apart from Princess Ann" ... CUT. The other was an episode of Alas Smith & Jones which had Griff sat in the middle of a crushed car shouting “Vorsprung Durch Technique”... CUT. Thinking back it was rather bizarre. I was just the voice of the channel, and suddenly I'm viewing and editing programmes and actually choosing what went on air!

In 1996, UK Gold introduced in-vision continuity at a time when most channels had phased it out. Personally, I thought it added a warmth and personality to the channel. Do you enjoy working in front of the camera?

That was the idea of the new Head of Presentation. It was quite a gamble really because you’re right, every other station had phased it out years previously. It worked of course, and also enable us to speak to the stars of the shows we had on. Blake's 7 had been repeated twice and the videos were out there so we needed a reason for people to watch them again on Gold. Cue Paul Darrow and his little stories saying "look out for this scene". Such a simple way of keeping the viewer there.

I recall having an argument with David Jackson (Gan from Blake's 7) when he insisted that 23rd November 1963 was NOT the day that Doctor Who started. I was rather shocked as I thought everyone knew that. I disagreed but he was most insistent and much bigger than I was!

I wouldn't have argued! So what was meeting Paul Darrow like?

I was very nervous and remember it very well. There was a guy in Transmission who had worked with Paul on an ITV drama called "Making News" and he said he was a nightmare to work with, so as you can imagine my feelings were very mixed - I was about to meet Avon! We had had most of the cast in a few years previously when we first managed to get Blake's 7 and I vaguely remember some problem about why he couldn't attend that shoot.

Anyway, I was in the studio doing some in-vision links. Someone called to say Paul was in the green room so I went to meet him. I was in my black suit and as I walked into the room he turned to me, looked me up and down, grinned and said "You look like I used to!". A memorable meeting. Brilliant guy. As you know, we did quite a lot of episode intros so worked together quite a bit. After we had finished I recall that he asked me if I still had the scripts I'd written - I would write an intro as if it was coming from him just in case he couldn't remember anything specific about that episode. Of course he always could, so I'd rewrite them and he would read them from the autocue. I felt a bit silly when he asked me to sign the scripts. When I asked why, he said he would do the same and was going to sell them to raise some funds for charity. Top bloke!

You met quite a few TV stars during your time at Gold - Elisabeth Sladen, Nicholas Courtney, Leslie Grantham, June Brown, Gretchen Franklin...

How fab was that though, to actually meet your childhood heroes!? As I mentioned earlier, it was to see if it would help with viewing figures and generally I just thought that fans of the shows would love to see the actors as they are now. There's a lovely outtake I still have somewhere of Lis introducing Terror of The Zygons and you suddenly hear this little Scottish voice pipe in the background... "Err Lis, do you think you could say Loch and not Lock Ness Monster? Being a Scotsman you know...". She paused, said “Oh God!” and then Oh bloody hell, yes of course I can!”. Well, it's funnier watching her reaction than reading it from a page - maybe I’ll share it with you sometime...

I'll hold you to that.

With Leslie Grantham and June Brown it was a bit of a bigger campaign. Did you know I’ve written an episode of EastEnders? Okay, so only a mini episode but still!

How did that come about?

Well, Eastenders was going out twice a week back then, and we were showing it five times a week, so it was only a matter of time before we caught up to BBC1. So, remembering the Dot and Ethel two-hander from the 1980s when it was a rainy Sunday and they were talking about the war, I thought wouldn't it be great to have them talking about the old days of EastEnders - that way we could show clips and give people a taste of the early days, before we went back to the beginning.

I didn't do any of the negotiating myself, but of course we had to clear with them and the BBC that they were free and happy to do some promotion for us in character - some actors are terribly luvvy about it - it turned out easier than I thought actually, after all, we were promoting EastEnders. Of course, UK Gold Management wanted Den and Angie. I said they'd never get them as they've taken so long to get away from those characters - even being seen together would fuel "Den and Angie" again. Anita Dobson was approached - she’d done us some Christmas messages a few years previously - but after hearing that Leslie Grantham was involved sadly she declined. Nothing personal but understandable for the reason I mentioned earlier.

So I started writing the script, and after MANY conversations with June Brown - she does love a chat! - we got around to the shoot. So bizarre! Seeing June Brown and Gretchen Franklin referring to each other (even off camera) as Dot and Ethel was just weird.

You presented 'Familiar Faces', a ‘before they were famous’ type show used to fill the gap between programmes… there was also a few 'A Flare for the Seventies' theme nights in 1997.... you really were 'the face' of the channel at the time! Were those programmes your idea?

'A Flare for The Seventies' happened purely because we were about to be taken over by the BBC/Flextech and frankly we were running out of programmes. They couldn't buy any more at that time and someone realised that we had a lot of old 1970's shows that we still had repeats rights to. So, 'A Flare For the Seventies' was born. Susanna and I linked them all together and meeting Valerie Singleton, Johnny Ball, Polly James and Rod Hull (and of course Emu) was fantastic.

If anyone has any of the Rod Hull and Emu clips I'd love to get a copy. I have VHS tapes of the other three but Rod Hull and Emu’s is sadly missing...

As for 'Familiar Faces', I suspect that probably came from me. I kept a log and everytime a famous face popped up in another show I'd make a note of the programme and tape number so I could easily find it again. This was actually well before Angus Deayton's Before They Were Famous series - I still suspect that they copied my idea after I told someone high up in the Beeb about it. That’ll teach me!

Which was your favourite UK Gold "ident" and why?

My favourite “look” was the solid gold bar idents. They still look good today, unlike Goldie the labrador and the blue silk idents. When I joined they had just got rid of Goldie and I was using the blue silk ones. My favourite one has to be the full version with all the forge elements but if you’re talking about a specific one I’d have to say the one that looks no way similar to the BBC2 POWDER ident.

Did anything ever go really wrong on-air? Like your voice appearing during a programme or tapes not playing on cue?

The recordings frequently went wrong on playout. Many a time there was a loud screeching noise which was very uncomfortable. Strangely they were recorded onto floppy discs. Yes, regular PC floppy discs. Not even a cart or minidisc which was odd even at the time.

I’m sure you’ve had a look at some of the clips on the blog - do they bring back happy memories for you?

Very. I spent this morning looking through all the clips. Some of which I'd forgotten about and some I remember really well. It's quite odd to see my work coming back to haunt me, although I do cringe hearing some of my early stuff. Why on earth was I doing that strange voice?

I think you're being a bit hard on yourself there, Glen!

In late 1997, the channel underwent major re-branding and you left for the BBC, providing continuity for the terrestrial channels and BBC Choice. Was it hard to leave UK Gold behind after four enjoyable years?

Very. If I'm honest I could have stayed there for many more years. I loved it. Its the best job I have ever had. Possibly because the people there acknowledged my geeky knowledge of the programmes and would come and ask me. For example, when we were showing Doctor Who around this time (weekday evenings during June-October 1997) they were going to stop after The Ribos Operation, until I pointed out that they shouldn't do that because of the whole Key To Time season and they either needed to stop it before then or after The Armageddon Factor.

Yes, those repeats ended with the final episode of The Sun Makers on 4th October 1997...

I am quite pleased that one of my last appearances in-vision on UK Gold was me being strangled by a Cyberman. What a way to go! My very own Doctor Who cliffhanger! And I just found this, which is annoyingly my very last in-vision appearance - I'd forgotten about the little music at the end...

Many people think G.O.L.D. (as it is currently known) has lost much of what made it great viewing; with so much archive television now available on DVD, do you think there would be a place for a channel like the old UK Gold in this day and age? Or was it very much of its time?

Hmm, it’s difficult. Of course I’d love to see one again but with everyone now much more focussed on revenue it's hard to see how any channel could justify showing some of the things we did. Even Crossroads got relegated to the early morning. Things like Sons And Daughters or Callan, Z-Cars, The Generation Game... Love Thy Neighbour! They’re all terribly dated and apart from maybe a one off, I can't see anyone wanting to tune in regularly to see them ...of course I would!

And me too. Well, maybe not Love Thy Neighbour.

The thing is you see, even when Gold started (in November 1992) nobody believed anyone would want a channel that just showed repeats. How wrong (thankfully) they were! The poor actors involved didn't get much of a repeat fee, Jon Pertwee got about 50p an episode (that rumour's been doing the rounds since the 1990s) because repeats on a satellite channel simply weren’t figured into their contracts at that time.

I would love to think that someone somewhere has plans for a similar channel but I doubt that's the case. So many channels are now just branching out into genres. Sci-fi, soap, comedy etc. It's a shame. Yes I’d love to see a new UK Gold style channel... as long as they’d let me onboard!

You recently provided a voice-over for a featurette on the Doctor Who ‘Dalek War’ DVD boxed set – will your dulcet tones be appearing on any future Who DVD releases?

Well yes I did. I narrated the "Multicolourisation" feature about the restoration of episode 3 of Planet of The Daleks. That was such a thrill. Even more so than finding out I was already on a Doctor Who DVD. None other than THE story, Genesis of the Daleks. There’s a part of my continuity from when they repeated it on BBC 2 (February/March 2000) which came as a rather nice surprise.

As for the future, well the answer is yes. I recently completed a narration for the upcoming "Revisitations" box set. I'm not sure what its called but it’s about "The Wilderness Years" and should be on the TV Movie disc. Of course I'm more than happy to do lots more...

I hope you get the chance! And that was a very nice touch, given that you have that link with UK Gold, doing more than most to keep the Doctor Who flame buring during the 1990s...

Moving forward, I see you’ve attracted a new fan base with your intros to Neighbours on Five – there’s even a Facebook group ("The Channel 5 Pre/Post Neighbours announcer man is awesome") in your honour!

That was surreal to say the least! It started when someone sent me a link to it and I realised that "The Channel 5 Pre/Post Neighbours announcer man" was me. I should point out it's not just me that does it, but the comments they were talking about were indeed ones I'd made on air.

Are Neighbours fans anything like Doctor Who fans in their commitment towards the show?

Yes, they're just as dedicated to Neighbours as the Doctor Who fans but in a slightly less reverential way. They're quite happy to say they thought that "insert character here" was s**t and stupid today and why couldn't he get his shirt off more... (laughs)

I'm sure plenty of Who fans who said about about Matthew Waterhouse. Well, maybe not.

How would you say your has job changed over the last two decades?

Well that's easy. It got less fun. As my Aunt Vanessa used to say, “If you stop enjoying it, give it up!”. I think that was my Aunt Vanessa...

Anyway, the years at the BBC were hardest of all. I went overnight from being someone with knowledge and passion for the programmes and the channel I worked at, to someone who was just an announcer, one of dozens at the BBC. No influence, no knowledge and nobody really cared. I struggled there, I must admit. Then in 2003, Five came knocking at my door and I grabbed it with both hands. I don't think I’ll ever get back the fullfilment I felt at Gold but it's fine at Five, they let me be myself and I think my personality shines again.

Certainly does! You always stand out whenever I hear you introducing CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, or CSI: Weston Super Mare... sorry, it's just that Five do like to show that franchise! I'm sure lots of people love watching it too...

I'm now also the voice of MGM HD (Channel 345 on Sky) which is showing some great old films restored to HD. It's almost like a film version of UK Gold in some ways, although there’s definitely no personality on it. It's all fairly formal, but still enjoyable to do.

Do you have your own studio set up at home? New technology and the rise of the Internet must have changed the way you work since the early 1990s quite drastically?

I do have my own setup but it's really not as high tech and posh as you might think. In fact, the Planet of The Daleks narration was recorded on my laptop! Okay, I had a decent mic and software, but essentially it was me in my front room. Now that’s spoilt the glamour hasn’t it! Gotta love the t’internet!

You've destroyed the magic, Glen!

I know colleagues who have spent thousands on kitting out their spare room with sound proof tiles, mics, cables, mixing desks. In truth all you need is a mic and a PC! Technology is great!

Maybe I could be a voiceover artist one day then. Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

Yes - I’d like to do a Big Finish radio play. I e-mail them every now and then to let them know I'm interested and not dead, but I think they’re not that interested. Shame. I'd love to actually be in Doctor Who.

Get Steven Moffat on the blower! You could give Nick Briggs a day off.

I'd love to do a DVD narration or something for every Doctor but as we’ve already got all of Colin's stories, and there are not that many left, I think it’s unlikely. I would love to do a Tom and a Peter one though... so if anyone’s reading this who can sort it...

I’d also love to go to Australia. Thats not really work related but if anyone wants to fly me there I can do some recording for you so that I can justify it as work if you like!

Any Australians reading, take note. What do you think of the New Series?

In 2005 when Who came back I was one of the ones who said (and am now constantly reminded by a friend) "Billie Piper?? Billie bloody Piper?! That's rubbish! She's a singer! Why on Earth would she be in Doctor Who?"


Okay! I also was one of those people going “But the TARDIS is the wrong shape!"

Oh Glen...

Those points aside I loved it, and seeing School Reunion just made me so happy. I’d lost Lis’s number but wrote her a letter asking if she remembered me and how much I loved seeing her back. Well she wrote back and in her typical style said something like "Bloody idiot, why didnt you put your number on this letter?" (laughs)

I think Matt Smith shows promise. I thought he was totally wrong at first but during his first episode I realised that the time had flown by and I'd just accepted him. Amy Pond slightly less so. There's something I can’t take to about her. The series finale (The Big Bang) was very 'wibbly wobbly timey wimey' and I'm not entirely sure it worked. I've heard friends say it was the weakest series ending yet. I think it might need a few more viewings...

Speaking of viewing, what are your favourite TV shows?

I'm loving The Hotel Inspector. Actually, this will take forever so I’ll just list them... I think Who goes without saying! Blake's 7, Dallas, Prisoner: Cell Block H, One Foot In The Grave, Lost, Torchwood, The Mentalist, Eastenders, Corrie, Hells Kitchen, Star Trek (all versions), Miranda, Ladies of Letters... oh I could go on and on - yes, I'm still a telly addict!

Speaking of Telly Addicts, didn't UK Gold have their own version of that? Goldmaster was it? Or Tellyshack? Or both?

Indeed Gold did, and you’re right, they had both. From what I remember Goldmaster was fans of one show against fans of another. No doubt there are people reading this who probably still have an episode on tape somewhere. Tellystack I remember more clearly. It was essentially Telly Addicts, hosted by Paul Ross and there were a number of celebrity guests who would appear. I remember Melvyn Hayes, Bill Oddie, Colin Baker... I forget who else... someone who used to be in The Brittas Empire I seem to vaguely remember. A number of shows would be filmed on the same day which meant these celebrity guests appeared in as many as they could shoot on that day. Ultimately that meant that on screen they seemed to pop up every few days ...which was a little odd, and I remember thinking "Not Melvyn Hayes again!"

I have a picture (above) taken by one of the production team, of Colin Baker standing in front of the actual Tellystack. It was a Polaroid (do they still exist?) and he’d signed it "To Glen, from his friend The Doctor" and a little P.T.O at the bottom. What was on the back? Well, it was another little message from him that simply read "Gizza job!" Sadly I never got to the opportunity to do that.

When you get away from the microphone, what are your hobbies and interests?

I took up photography a while back. Enjoyed it for a while but I'm not sure I have the passion for it anymore. I don't seem to use the camera that often any more.

I recently discovered I like camping and really never thought I would. Some really great places and beaches down Cornwall way that I think I really must get to again this year.

And I think I might check out a few more conventions too. I had my first one last year where as I mentioned I met Tom Baker and made him laugh. This year I caught up with Kate Mulgrew (Voyager's Captain Janeway) and even though it was a much shorter time with her, it was still nice to see my TV heroes.. you see, I've still not grown up!

There's no point in growing up if you can't be childish sometimes, Glen! Thanks for talking to us.

Thanks for bringing back the memories for me. Well now, it’s the end... but the moment has been prepared for...

Cue Paddy Kingsland.

Thanks for reading - WhoGold will return in two weeks time on Monday 26th July.

1 comment:

  1. It was really a great interview of the great voiceover artist Glen Allen and I come to know a lot of new things about this voice over celebrity and I think now I will enjoy more and more watching his voice overs. Thanks for sharing this nice interview.