I used to sing in a girl band with Carol Vorderman and a married footballer once tried to seduce me at a Buckingham Palace party; DJ LIZ KERSHAW ON HER ENCOUNTERS WITH THE STARS.
When I went into broadcasting I never set out to be famous. Which is good, because I'm not really. I was, and still am, a music fan wanting to be close to the action. And Radio 1 let me get close enough to shove a microphone under the noses of my idols. I met them all.
Boy George was intelligent, funny and charming. Alice Cooper, despite his scary black eyeliner and snakes, was a poppet.
Even Gary Glitter was polite and a gentleman. But then, at 29, I was probably well past my "best before" date for him.
At Top of the Pops artists spent a lot of time sitting around between rehearsals. I hung around too and got to know Gene Pitney and Marc Almond who, despite sharing a hit, Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart, sat back to back and barely spoke.
Tina Turner was the same with me. Her face lit up and she talked the talk with the mic on. But, interview over, not even a goodbye. I was dead upset.
Other divas didn't disappoint. Tammy Wynette had just recorded Justified and witty and charming Ancient with The KLF. She was gracious and friendly and we spent an afternoon together shopping for her spandex jeans.
That night after her show at the London Palladium I was invited backstage. What a shock - Tammy didn't recognise me because she was addicted to prescription drugs and coming down from the high that had got her through the show.
Dolly Parton, who I've met a few times, couldn't be more different. She was the epitome of Girl Power long before those silly Spice Girls coined the phrase. She knew what her best assets were and she damn well used them, building up a huge career, business empire and fortune.
But George Michael was a disappointment. At the 1988 Free Nelson Mandela Concert I grabbed him coming offstage and asked on live TV why he was supporting the cause.
"I think that's obvious, isn't it."
It just went downhill from there! A taxi driver recently reminded me about this Great Moment In Broadcasting History.
"That was the worst interview I've ever seen on the telly."
Thanks. I still cringe when I'm Your Man comes on.
I made a few real DJ mates like John Peel, Johnnie Walker, Nicky Campbell and Bruno Brookes (as opposed to "great mates" - DJ speak for a "friend" just waiting for you to take a holiday so they can grab your slot!)
Me and Bruno did the weekend breakfast show. We both loved the Bee Gees and were gobsmacked to find the biggest "boy band" EVER loved us too! They were amazingly unspoiled by their massive fame and wealth.When they did a concert going out on Radio 1 and the World Service, they wanted us to introduce them on stage. Me and Bruno went live in front of a capacity Wembley crowd and 500 million BBC listeners around the world!
Other famous fans included our Coronation Street heroes Jack and Vera Duckworth - Bill Tarmey and Liz Dawn.
"Eh kid," said Vera spreading fags, lighter and ashtray across the studio desk. "We bloody love you and Bruno. Don't we Jack?"
Then there were the Radio 1 Roadshows. For one week a year it was like being a rock star. Listening to the build-up on your hotel radio, being driven on-site with a police escort, introducing the likes of Status Quo and Kylie Minogue to the stage, rolling into town in a massive articulated truck with rock music blaring
Phillip Schofield once flew me by helicopter to his Roadshow, like James Bond and the Queen. But I had to cadge a lift home in a friend's old banger. Two hours later on the hard shoulder of the M1 a passing Mr Whippy took pity and delivered us back to the BBC 100 miles away at a giddying 30mph to the jingly-jangly sound of Greensleeves.
Before we made it to Radio 1 my brother and I were on Radio Aire and shared a Leeds flat. One day Our Andrew arrived home with a real glamourpuss in tight coffeecoloured leather trousers and Tina Turner-style spiky, streaked hair.
"This is Carol."
Bloody hell! Carol Vorder-man? I hardly recognised her from Countdown - the brainy bird with the sickly smile who did the sums and wore dowdy catalogue clothes. What a transformation!
She'd just won a songwriting competition on Our Andrew's show and was guffawing in my kitchen. Vorders and I were soon friends and decided we'd storm the charts with a girl group, like Bananarama. With pal Lindsey (Miss Radio Aire) we were Dawn Chorus and the Bluetits. While we practised Chez Vorders, Carol's lovely mum Jean served tea and biscuits, typed out lyrics and videoed everything. Jean's still got the tapes. They haunt us!
In 1986 we first heard I Believe by an unknown band from Georgia called REM. Our Andrew and I drove across the southern states to track them down and when they came to London we'd hang out.
I bought the beer one time because they had no money and I spent a pretentious afternoon going around the galleries with Michael Stipe.
In 1993 Bruno and I were regulars on the Noel Edmonds House Party and we did his summer garden parties around the country. One day the phone rang in my hotel room.
"You dirty ******* *****!"
"I beg your pardon! Who is this?"
"You want me, don't you?"
Bruno had signed my name to a note, sealed it with red lipstick and slipped it under the door of a fellow guest - John Leslie! Apparently, I'd left him in no doubt exactly what I'd do for a Blue Peter badge. But I thought the world of John and Bruno's prank had us rolling around. With laughter.
I felt so, so sorry for him a few years later when his career was effectively ended by rumours about his private life. It was so unfair. He was hot. And single. And I'd seen girls literally queueing up to try their luck with him.
After presenting The Crunch, a daily phone-in on Radio 5 Live, in 1996 I became roving reporter on the Adrian Chiles show. It was a demotion. But I soon got over it, careering round the country with "access all areas" for fascinating interviews.
I was set up with big stars from every sport - Tim Henman at The Queen's Tennis Club, Damon Hill and David Coulthard at Silverstone and Lawrence Dallaglio at Twickers. I met legends like Barry Sheene, who I'd been in love with since Our Andrew took me to watch him race in 1975. Even Eric Cantona said a few words to me at Manchester Utd.
Back in 1989, when I didn't known anyone in football, a famous player tried to cop off with me at Buckingham Palace when I was the DJ at a big charity event.
As the crowd parted for the Queen, he was bobbing about waving and winking at me. He came over and assumed I'd know who he was. I didn't.
But I think he found the challenge of a blonde who didn't fall immediately into his arms quite erotic. We shared a taxi later and he said we'd be great together. He could invite me to matches and I could get him tickets to see Simply Red. First things first, though. "Will your wife not mind then?" I asked.
"Er, er, how did you know I was married?"
"I didn't. But I do now."
Just think. If it hadn't been for that and the other hitch (I didn't fancy him) I might have been a Footballer's Wife myself.
Liz Kershaw The Bird And The Beeb, RRP PS12.99, only PS8.99 at www.mirrorcollection.co.uk, 0845 143 0001. Adapted by Rachael Bletchly.
Carol's mum Jean still has all the rehearsal videos. They haunt us! LIZ ON THEIR BAND DAWN CHORUS AND THE BLUETITS
STILL ROCKIN' You can hear Liz on BBC 6Music
HELLO DOLLY With DJ brother Andy and the country queen
CHORUS LINE Carole, Liz and friend Lindsey were Dawn Chorus and the Bluetits
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Mar 13, 2014|
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