#4. I Started A Joke
Clive Anderson seemed to be everywhere in the 1990s and 2000s, so much so that he even had his own TV chat show under one name or another for 12 years.
As an aside, looking up Clive Anderson All Talk (which ran from 1996-2001 with Clive Anderson Talks Back running from 1989-1996), I was staggered by their bizarre lineups. This includes:
- Series 1, Episode 9: Hugh Laurie, Neil Kinnock, Gary Glitter
- Series 1, Episode 12: Danny DeVito, Angus Deayton, Sylvester Stallone
- Series 3, Episode 5: Ben Elton, George Hamilton, Edward Heath
I only mention this because the guests on the episode in question were comedian/actor and all-round earsman Martin Clunes, former Conservative MP and Great Office of State-holder Douglas Hurd, and falsetto fathers of funk The Bee Gees. It was the latter with whom Clive had a bust-up with.
Now, this was not Anderson’s only hostile interview, indeed Clive saw a row with Jeffrey Archer and water poured over him by Richard Branson on the same show.
Barry Gibb, the de facto leader of the band in many people’s eyes, started out with what seemed a playful rivalry with Clive after the host lashed out a few digs at the band. Even Maurice Gibb at one point said all Bee Gee members shared the same sense of humor, a foreshadowing of events to come.
Despite calling “hit writers” with a letter missing at the front, it was a different jibe that was the real source of tension. Barry revealed the band’s old name of Les Tosseurs, to which Anderson snapped comically: “Well, you’ll aways be Les Tosseurs to me.” With a face like thunder, Barry remained defensive, before talk of ‘old’ egos and Barry referencing “Don’t Forget To Remember” which Clive jokingly said he forgot about. Whilst being one of, if not the, most inoffensive joke so far, it seemingly tipped Barry over.
Barry suggested a walkout before standing up and declaring “You’re the tosser, pal!” to Clive. You can hear murmurs of the band in the background as Anderson’s laugh turns to fear at a catastrophic interview blowoff. Maurice initially stayed but awkwardly had to leave. Clive quickly signed off thanking “those who stayed and those who’ve gone”, dipping his head as the show ended.
The Bee Gees have since spoken about their respect and admiration for Anderson, who himself has admitted his fault in his approach. Clive still says it is what he is most asked about to this day, over a quarter of a century later. As the ex-Footlights president said himself: “[it] went from the best to the worst in a few minutes.”