I went to the BBC ‘Talent’ party on Thursday, which is a thank you from the BBC for its on-air staff. It’s an interesting do, with more famous faces than OK. I always feel a wee bit of a fraud at these things; and as you’re not allowed a plus one walking in is always very scary. Luckily after a few minutes I saw Jeremy Vine, Julia Bradberry and Kate Silverton talking in a group and as I’ve worked with them all and get along well with them – it was a great start.
After that I realised I knew more people than I would of though; impressionist Jon Culshaw was there (he’s one of the MSG’s best friends) so we had a chat; quite ironic as many of the first group I met are currently ‘being done’ on his show Dead Ringers. There were also lots of the Newsround team and lots of journalists to say hi to.
Then I saw Angela Rippon, who I’ve not seen for a couple of years. I started my Money Saving Expert having left the BBC as a producer/reporter in the Business unit, and joined small Sky channel Simply Money (now long defunct) as a reporter. As I was the only one who knew his ISA from his elbow (all the rest had much more TV experience, but no money experience) I was made ‘Business Correspondent’ after a week. Then I was offered my own show and asked what I wanted to do in it, my suggestion was that I wanted to try and do MoneySaving things, the programme was then named ‘Deal of the Day’ and the Money Saving Expert title followed a few months later.
On Simply Money, Angela and Jan Harvey (ex-Howards Way and also Family affairs amongst many others) shared the main presenting job and both were fantastic to work with.
Watching Angela especially on TV is a lesson, she has amazing focus, poise and concentration; and back then I was very green and still trying to find my style and she was always helpful, friendly and constructive. After about nine months, I started to think about the future, and how I could develop MoneySaving. So of course when you’re working with a broadcasting legend – she’s the person you ask.
In fact she’s the reason I got my agent. Newbie broadcasters often struggle to find an agent, as it’s not likely they’ll generate much commission for them. I remember the conversation with Angela very well.
Martin, “Do I need an agent, is it a good thing to do?”
Angela, “Absolutely, you need the support and someone with contacts to nurture you through and help”
Martin, “So how do I get a decent one”
Angela, “Like this…”
She then picked up the phone in the dressing room, called her Agents Knight Ayton who have an amazing client list and only deal with serious broadcasting grown-ups and said “Hi Sue, it’s Angela. I’m standing here with a wonderful guy, Martin Lewis, he knows everything about saving money and it going to be very big, you should add him to your books.”
She put the phone down and said, they want you to go in and see them. And Knight Ayton have been my agents ever since.