Wednesday, January 2, 2013

27. Undercover

Nigel had turned up early to the studio for the next episode of the Tony James Show. After the chaos of the previous week, he had decided to take the time to enjoy the whole show. If Tony managed to pull off the success, of a sort, of last week it would be well worth watching.

Nigel walked through the studio, without the usual show lights and video screens switched on the combination of black carpet and dark d├ęcor gave it a shadowy, creepy atmosphere. He walked over to the blue carpet of the music area of the set, and sat quietly down, looking around the set in contemplation.

Though he was relatively new to working at LTV, Nigel had more than enough experience to look forward to watching Tony get one over on them, eventually, he hoped.

He thought to himself. This whole studio, this channel, the whole thing, just churns out the lowest quality rubbish seven days a week. It has been years since this station produced anything intelligent. When he started working with Steve on the Tony James Show, the belief that Tony would finally change that long hole in the schedules was his key motivation. Sadly, he thought, that belief didn't survive very long with Gerald.

"Let's make some shit television gentlemen."


"How can we make this more asinine? I know, dancing dogs, gentlemen."

What an arsehole.

Nigel frowned, Gerald was everything he hated about TV, everything he hated about the media, and everything he hated about business. He was eternally grateful to Tony for giving him an opportunity to take him down a peg or two.

Just at that moment, Tony walked into the studio, and noticed Nigel sat on the blue square over on the far left of the set. However Tony was not feeling particularly in the mood to talk, he walked past Nigel who followed him silently with his eyes, and wondered if he had been missed in the darkness.

"Tony?" Nigel queried.

"Not now Nigel."

"Oh, er, ok." Nigel shrugged and started looking around again, but his train of thought had departed from the station. Then he figured that he should find out what was up with Tony.

Nigel got up from the blue carpet, walked off the set and through the black corridor to Tony's dressing room. He walked up to the bright white door with the cheap plastic star, and knocked.

"Go away." Tony shouted.

"Are you in character or really annoyed?" Nigel asked.

"Really annoyed."

"Oh." Nigel went to walk away, before realising that was probably more of a reason to stay. "What's the matter Tony?"

"Well aside from the fact that my career is being slowly destroyed, I'm being forced to work out a stupid contract on a terrible show, oh, and my girlfriend has left, everything is fucking rosie posie Nigel."

"We're working on the show, your reputation will be okay, and what about Abbie?" Nigel responded quickly.

"It's hardly fair is it?" Tony replied despondently. "I do love Alison but something isn't right, and then this whole situation with Abbie just adds to it."

"Tony. Do what is going to make you happy." Nigel replied with a maturity that surprised him.

"I wish I knew what that was." Tony sighed. "I wish I knew that I could."

"What do you mean?"

"Why on earth would Abbie want to be with someone like me?"

"Why would she not?"

"For a start, she's gorgeous, and I'm quite a few years older than she is."

"Tony. What happened to you?"


"You are always so confident, so assured of who you are and what you do. Where the hell is this coming from?"

"You clearly haven't known me long Nigel." Tony remarked.

"No. But..." Nigel pondered. "I guess I just figured you were always that way."

"First rule of television and theatre Nigel." Tony explained. "Most actors, most presenters, most comedians, they have ups and downs, and they need the reassurance of being applauded and being liked.

"I know Tony." Nigel replied. "You just seemed different, better."

"Sadly I'm not Nigel. I am just the same, I might be a great actor, but I am not the Tony James you see on screen all the time."

"Given your current character, that's probably a good thing."

"What does it matter anyway? After this show ends I'm never going to work again. I might as well just get into character and trash this piece of shit so I can get on with finding something better to do that no one will ever watch."

Nigel gently turned the door handle and pushed open the door to find Tony sat on his black leather chair with his head resting in his hands. He carefully approached Tony, rested a reassuring hand on his back, and said. "You're Tony James man. You'll be fine."

"Thanks, but not bloody likely." Tony sighed.

“Tony. Did you not see how the people in that club reacted to you?” Nigel explained.

“They were happy I slagged Chillgame off.”

“Well yes, weren't we all. But you know it was more than that. You put something out there in public that no one else was daring to do.” Nigel continued. “Maybe that is something to take forwards when this crazy series ends.”


“We'll chat about it tomorrow, we will find a way Tony.”

Tony thought to himself. “I actually feel a bit better now, thanks Nigel.”

Nigel bowed. “You're welcome. Let's get Gerald and work you out of this contract first though yes?”

“Yes. I have an idea too.” Tony plotted.

“Excellent.” Nigel nodded and left the dressing room.

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