Tony walked into the studio wearing a large hat. It was difficult to tell whether it was a cowboy, a Mexican sombrero, a ladies wedding hat, or a gigantic hat from ladies day at Royal Ascot, but it was absurdly large. Walking straight through to the control room, where he greeted Nigel with a nod. “Is everything set to go?”
“It is. Oh how it is.” replied Nigel with a grin.
“Wonderful.” exclaimed Tony. “I'm off to get make-up then get changed.”
Nigel chuckled and awaited the start of the show.
Tony walked back to the dressing room, where he took off his hat, said hello to Abbie, and sat in his chair while she added the finishing touches to his style.
Nigel came to the dressing room to give Tony the call to be on set. “Tony I... whoa.”
“You like it Nigel?” Abbie enquired.
“It's erm... perfect.” replied a bemused Nigel. “Five minutes til we're on air.”
Tony hugged Abbie, gave her a kiss on the cheek and said thank you. Stepping out of the dressing room he walked up to the side of the stage and prepared himself.
As Tony walked onto the dark carpet of the set, one by one the audience member spotted him and let out audible gasps. Tony checked his desk and walked up to the front of the stage for the opening introductions.
“Ready. On in five, four, three...” declared Nigel through the earpiece.
As the titles finished and the shot faded in, Gerald, watching the show from his office, opened his mouth in disbelief and promptly fell off his chair.
“Welcome to the Tony James Show! You might not realise it, but I am Tony James.”
Nigel looked at the writer and smiled.
“On this weeks show we have the star of LTV's own 'The Mega Quiz Show' Ian Fielding!”
The crowd gave an instinctive round of quiet applause, still puzzling about what they were looking at.
“We also have two of the judges from 'Variety Star Search'. Adam Morley and Vanessa Paris”
The crowd continued its robotic auto-pilot applause.
“Finally we have a special surprise guest, all the way from Norway, they are the hottest thing in pop music right now... but you'll have to wait!”
The crowd looked blankly. One of the audience members turned to the woman next to her. “What...er...who...er.” The woman stared into space for a moment, and replied in a confused voice. “Did they kill him?”
“Our first guest is the host of one the most popular quiz shows of the year, 'The Mega Quiz Show', please welcome to the stage, Ian Fielding!”
More autopilot applause.
Ian walked onto the set, heading across to Tony with a wave and a bow to the audience. As he turned and saw Tony, he gawped and for a brief half-second, stopped walking.
“That's, er.. a very interesting look you have this week Tony. What inspired this?!” Ian opened the conversation.
“Thanks for asking, welcome to the show by the way.” Tony answered. “This amazing hair was created by our guests from a couple of weeks ago, Abbie Jones. While the suit was originally a Vivienne Westwood, but had a few modifications made by a friend of mine.”
“It certainly stands out.” exclaimed Ian truthfully.
“That it does my friend. There isn't enough artistic clothing and styling on TV, I thought it was time to change that.” Tony explained.
“I agree. I don't think that style would suit me though, for a start I'd need hair.” joked Ian.
“It does help. So tell us about the Mega Quiz Show.”
“Well, it's the biggest quiz ever to be seen in the UK. Over the first series, we will be giving away more than ten million pounds in prize money.”
I could do with ten million pounds thought Tony.
Ten brief minutes later and it was time for the break. Nigel spoke to Tony through his earpiece. “Tony, great outfit, but you are being too nice!”
“I feel bad being rude to people.” explained Tony.
“Well let's get to the end of today and we'll discuss it. We still have our special guest.”
Nigel and Tony both smiled.
The judges from Variety Star Search were professional but as cold as you might expect from people that have to destroy the deluded dreams of talentless members of the public for three months in a year. The show went to the break, and Tony raced into the control room to speak to Nigel.
“Are we ready Nigel?”
“Oh we are.”
“How did you get them through make-up?”
“I didn't. I figured pale is a good look for them.”
“Brilliant. Here we go.”
Tony walked back onto the set, sat in his chair and smiled as the show restarted.
“Time for my final, special guests tonight. We'll be speaking to them in a minute, but before we do, it's time to introduce them!”
If Gerald had been paying more attention to the set, and not to Tony's clothing, he might have noticed that the music set didn't look like it was preparing for Scandinavia's latest teen pop sensation. For a start, there were two guitars and a bass, with a drum kit that appeared to have every cymbal ever produced by mankind.
“Their latest album went into the Norwegian charts at number one, and they are predicted to do great things here.”
Nigel covered his eyes with his hands, and then realised he had to watch.
“Please welcome to The Tony James Show, my favourite new band, Zombie Grave Diggers with their latest single, Entrails of a Virgin Queen.”
Gerald raised his eyebrows, leant back in his chair and puffed his cigar in contemplation. As he did, seven gigantic Norwegians in chunky New Rock boots, dressed head to toe in black with metal spikes, and each with 2 foot long black hair, walked onto the stage and started to play.
It was unlikely that Gerald, or much of the audience for that matter, had ever heard black speed metal before, but they were now unlikely to ever forget it.
Tony made surprisingly good conversation with Zombie Grave Diggers, especially considering their limited knowledge of the English language and penchant for swearing every third word. As the show finished and the silently stunned crowd left their seats Tony wandered back to his dressing room. He sat down briefly and a knock came on the door. “Come in.”
“Tony the band were amazing, but you were too nice!” Nigel explained as he walked into the dressing room. “You still made the show work! We shall talk about this tomorrow.”
Gerald watched the end credits roll, and switched off the screen. He took a sip from his whiskey glass, and muttered to himself. “This means war.”