Saturday, February 25, 2006

Grandeur, real and deluded

So I was back at the library today. I found something else for On This Day that I can't use.

Last time it was because I'd just missed the date (it was an item for late February or early March, I've forgotten now, and this coming Monday morning I'll deliver On This Day for the fortnight up to March 24). This time because the thing I found was just too long.

Do you know of Peggy Ramsay? Literary agent? Not many agents get portrayed on screen by Vanessa Redgrave (in Prick Up Your Ears) and on stage by Maureen Lipman (in Peggy For You) but there generally aren't many agents like this one. I never met her but I know Alan Plater who was one of her clients.

I found an Arena episode from March 17, 1989 which was devoted to her and the billing went into great detail about her most famous clients - yet it didn't mention Alan. Something wrong here, I was thinking, as I turned to the feature on page 11.

Only to find the feature was written by Alan. And here's my problem. Normally I can spot what's known as a pull-quote really easily and since On This Day is about 90 words long, I have to find these nuggets, I can't quote long passages from anything.

But this time I just can't see where I can lift a line from. It's not just that it's all good, that usually means I've got plenty to cherry-pick from, but this feature was quite tight, quite woven. It was one feature rather than a set of staccato paragraphs and though this is what you would strive for when writing it, it's a bugger when you're trying to steal. Tune in on March 17, 2006 to see how I coped.

And as this is all about the On This Day feature in Radio Times magazine, may I correct an impression I might have given you the other day about RT mag? I just noticed that in mentioning how the magazine and the RT website are having a gallery of Hustle pictures that I've come across as thinking I was important in the selection of the shots we used. Nope.

The mag's picture desk staff did everything. I ended up with, I don't know, a couple of dozen shots they weren't using and I chose six. Just wanted to put that right.

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