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Hello and welcome to The One Show with Alex Jones. And Matt Baker.
Tonight's guest is a comedian and master of improvisation, so we are
putting him on the spot straightaway. Paul, you have 10
seconds to give yourself a glowing introduction to the show, and you
have to start with the words "Pam Ayres". Off you go! Pam Ayers is a
famous comedian. Paul Merton is appearing on The One Show tonight.
Pam, I am your illegitimate son. is of course Paul Merton. I did not
know you're going to do that. My mum will not be happy. We will have
more from Pam Ayres later as well. Excellent. Now, it has of course
been a momentous couple of days for the people of Liverpool after an
independent panel uncovered the true extent of the police cover-up
after the Hillsborough disaster. a moment, we will talk to the
city's mayor, Joe Anderson, but first, here is what you had to say
on the streets of Liverpool. Everyone is going round with a
smile on their face today, which we always have. But there is an extra
smile today because we have justice for them people. It was just one
last thing hanging over our shoulders as Liverpudlians. We
always knew we were right, and yesterday we were vindicated.
weight has been lifted. And the mood has changed. Liverpool won out
in the end. They stood up for us. The truth came out. Liverpool, as a
city, has always stuck together through everything. But today does
for definitely feel a lot happier, and that we have come over the
other side. As we said, Joe Anderson joins us
now, the Mayor of Liverpool. A new inquest is expected to follow, but
from your perspective, what effect have the apologies from the Sun,
Kelvin McKenzie and the Prime Minister had on the city? From the
prime minister, it was welcomed. He handled it well and he was
dignified, with a personal perspective. We were pleased with
that. From Kelvin McKenzie, it was contemptuous. He apologised during
the two-minute silence we were holding, at 3.06, the time when we
remember the 96 people. It is 23 years and 30 hours too late. As the
editor rob the Sun, it was too late. As you say, it has been a very long
time, but can you give us a flavour of how their campaign has managed
to overturn what has been described as the biggest police cover-up
over? The report has been something they have complained for in terms
of the truth. That was what we always wanted. As a result of the
report yesterday, the truth is now known not only to the UK, but to
the whole world. The report is both shocking in one sense, but also
liberating in another sense, in that it has lifted a cloud that has
hung over the family's and victims who suffered at Hillsborough. It
has lifted a cloud from the city. We all welcomed the report. As
mayor of the city of Liverpool, I pay tribute to the families and the
campaigners for what they achieved for the city. The likes of Kelvin
McKenzie don't understand that it has added a sense of justice --
injustice to their lives, as well as the bereavement process. What
comes next for the families and Hillsborough? How good a move on
now? We have now got the truth. From my perspective and there's,
hopefully from the truth follows justice and accountability.
Somebody made those terrible decisions. It is good disease some
people coming out and making apologies, including the FA today,
for their part. But clearly, somebody has to be held to account
here. Somebody has to take responsibility for the decisions
that were made. That is what the City of Liverpool will be looking
for, and hopefully will get the support of government to back us up
so that we can achieve what is rightly ours. We should not have to
beg for justice. Paul, have you been following this?
Yes, it is obviously an incredibly terrible story. Now the events have
reached the point where they might find closure on the thing, but back
then, the football fans were demonised a bit. People were so
ready to believe that people could behave in the most extraordinary
way while people were dying around them. I find it deeply disturbing.
The people of Liverpool are a very tight-knit community, and it is
something they have felt passion about for a long time. If there is
a release, that is good. Now, all this week, we have been on
an extraordinary journey with a retired teacher called Jackie.
Jackie is back from India. She helps a small group of Indian
children, all the way from her home in Oldham. Last night, we followed
her to India to meet those children for the first time. This is the
final part of her journey. Here near Oldham, tacky Berra
teaches kids in India via the internet. Hi! After an emotional
meeting with them for the first time, she is going to see where
they live. It is a slum. I feel quite apprehensive. It is one thing
to drive past these slums. It is something else to actually walk
into them and really see how people are living. This man has been one
of the most active members of Jackie's group since it began. His
family moved to the slum in search of active employment, and Jackie is
keen to talk to his mother. Do you notice that it has made any
difference to him that he does sessions and talks to me? He seems
very smart when I speak to him. What would be your hopes for him to
His mother is so dedicated. She works physically so hard. She is
not in good health. The idea is that her children were have a
better life than she has had. Incredible. Over 7 million children
in India have never been to school. Once a week, this 12-year-old girl
learns how to sow in a group for girls with no education. Stand up
and show me your skirt. It is beautifully made. I love the
colours. Why don't you go to Do you know how to write anything?
She can write her name. Would your parents be able to let you go to
school? She really wants to go, but she doesn't know. Later that day,
Jackie went to meet the girl's mother. The family of six live here.
Come and sit with us. She was telling us that she doesn't go to
school. But it was here that Jackie found out the real reason the girl
doesn't go to school. Her little brother was the one who let the cat
out of the bag. He said by the way, my sister left school because she
got married. And as the guest, she is indeed only 12 or 13 years old.
They were following a tradition. It will not be considered for at least
another few years. And did she have any say in a matter? No. So it is
understandable that she feels awkward about going to school, when
probably, some of the other children would tease her. 18 % of
girls are married before their 50th birthday, often in poverty-stricken
rural areas. -- they are married before their 15th birthday.
think that a child's life is set out for her before the age of 10
without her having any say, that is just so shocking. Today is Jackie's
last day here before heading back door Oldham. But before the good
bys Begin, there is time for one last session. This is the last time
I am going to CU here in India. I am going to show you how to make
some bunting, like this. It has made a big impact. The boy who was
cheating in my card game, and yet he was the one who was here till
the last minute at this evening, holding my hand and reading bits to
me out of a book. My relationship with the children will be different,
particularly those two little girls. My name is Lakshmi. I have seen
where they live and what their lives are like. They have big
ambitions. One wants to be a doctor, and the other wants to go back to
the village and make sure they have a clean water supply. And I think
things like that will leave a lasting impression.
As you saw earlier, Jackie is with us now. Watching that makes me want
to cry now! That was quite a few weeks ago. Since you have come back,
what have you said to the children about what is going on over here?
We have spoken on several occasions. One of the lovely things was that
the bunting we started making, we didn't finish it when I was there
because we didn't have time. But they have finished it, and they
showed it to me over Skype and they took a picture of them. They have
sent photos of it. They know they are on television here this week,
because I spoke to them on Tuesday. What was their reaction? They are
really excited. They know the BBC. They were really enthusiastic about
the idea of the film. Since we have been there, they wanted to make a
film themselves. I think somebody is going to do storyboarded with
them. They loved the fact that Mike was called Mike, because they kept
saying Mike, can I hold the Mike? They thought that was a huge joke.
They loved that whole thing about the filming. Big was a clear that
Europe spending time with the children. We got clear impressions
of you as a teacher. Paul has something here written by Sunil.
says, we thought they were bird eggs, but when she gave them to us
to eat, we realised it was chocolate. Jackie is rich, but she
did not speed down to us. I liked that very much. So straight to the
point. It is true about the BBC. When we were filming a documentary
for Channel 5, we said we were from the BBC and immediately got more
respect. And then you were there for Just A Minute. Yes, we did a
show there earlier this year. In Indian universities, they often
played Just A Minute as a way of improving your English language,
because you must not repeat, deviate or has a tape. So it is
used as a tool for exploring English. I would be hopeless.
Jackie, you were an experienced teacher before going to India, but
has your trip changed the way you teach the children via Skype now
that you are back in the UK? It is really difficult doing it over
Skype. You realise how much of interacting with people is to do
with body language, hand movements, expressions. And over Skype,
because the equipment is never great, that is quite hard. You have
to work doubly hard. It is a slightly different technique.
have inspired so many people. Lots of people got in contact with us,
wanting to do what you are doing. The numbers are limited from a
teaching perspective, but there are other things you can do. We have
put a link up. There are loads of ideas on our website. If you want
to volunteer, there are some postcodes specific ideas, and there
are other ideas for people over the age of 50.
And now, when Christine Walkden was invited the pan as garden, she
found the green fingered poet had a very specific technique when it
comes to planting. Paul, you know Pam quite well. What do you think
is her gardening technique? On it all in and don't care about the
Quiet please. Kindly, don't impede my concentration. I am sitting in
the garden, thinking thoughts of propagation. Of nurturing the
fruits that my work will bare and the place will not know what has
hit it, once I get up from me chair! Pam Ayres and her husband
have lived on this Gloucester farm for 25 years. From the look of it,
there has been a lot of nurturing going on.
I'm not much of a planner, really. My great aim is to bring insect
noose the garden. As and when I read something or see a plant that
is good for wildlife, I tend to buy it and bung it in. There is a
structure, as you can see, but there is a lot of bunking in that
goes on! I love bunged in! Now, you bunged in this remarkably well. It
is so much easier to grow than lavender.
I know and the bees love it. It is so much easier to grow. Everyone
think it is is lavender. It is such good value. It is cheap, easy-going.
It stands on a north wall. You don't have to fiddle to it or
pander to it. You just have to bung it in! This is not a working farm,
but animals of all sorts live here. And hidden away from them is a
secret walled garden. So, the veggie garden? Yes, this is a
vegetable garden. You can tell from this place, Pam
knows her way around a runner bean. I am the youngest of six children,
my dad grew all of our vegetables. At the back of our garden there was
another huge garden. The man was always gardening, he would produce
an abundance of vegetables in season. Dad would try to enthuse us,
but I was bored by it. But when I moved away in my 20s, I
never wanted to buy a tired old vegetable from somebody elgs, so I
started to grow my own in my own garden when I was about 22 - not
long ago, really! Absolutely! Look at those splend id flowers? I know.
And the bees and the butterflies love them. I tell you what,
Christine, I have started -- started to dead-head them. The only
thing is you need to be very, very tall.
Or good on a ladder? Or a pogo stick! Pam's favourite spot is here,
looking out over the ponds and the fields.
Has your life turned out as you expected it to? No. I did not have
expectations. I was not a planner, but I did have an driving -- a
driving ambition to be a performer. I loved the idea of being a
performer. Because I have a cranky country accent. I have a funny
sense of humour. I like write being small things, like the husband that
know it is all. I was then able to put things together with that. It
seemed to work. Did you ever dream about living on
a farm? I did dream about living on a farm, but I only thought it would
ever be a dream. I used to ride a pony in the village where I lived
once, at the Manor Farm. I loved it. So craved to be in that environment,
but I never thought I would be lucky enough to acquire one. I know
every tree, stick, detail of the place here now. I cannot imagine
not having it. It would be heartbreaking.
She is so warm and lovely. So perfectly matched to the place
where she lives. Yes, but one of the questions that Christine asked
was had Pam's life turned out the way she expected it to, what about
yours? I don't know, when I was young I wanted to be in comedy. I
could not have predicted it lasting as long as this. Have I Got News
For You has lasted 20 years. It is a long time. I'm immensely pleased,
it has lasted all the way up to this evening, this could be the
programme that kills it forever. You went to the circus? Yes, I went
to the circus, I saw people, they said not to do that. Then I would
see adults dressed in boots, throwing sausages at each other,
throwing buckets of water. I loved You have been out on the road with
On The Road. You came on the last time to talk about Out Of My Head.
It is coming to the West End from October? It is.
The blush describes it as "lovingly honed"? Well, we did 50 shows in
the spring. Over 50 shows you develop things. Things change, you
drop it if it is not good. It took ten gigs for one joke to work. It
did, then, but it is like a moving jigsaw. That bit is OK, then this
bit is not. You tink irwith it. That was fascinating as opposed to
the improvised stuff. This has props, cues, so lots going on.
Is that nerve-wracking for you? is. You don't know how it is going
to work. You have to hope a lot. So it is nerve-wracking, but the sense
of achievement after is enormous. You have not done stand-up for 14
years? Something like that I did a solo stand-up tour 14 years ago. It
was a tired cliche, listening to the buzz of the audience, while I'm
having a cup of tea, liking like the most miserable person in the
venue. There must be a better way to do it. There is, but this show
is more social. Is it a massive difference
withstand-up and improv? Improv is easier. The stand-up is hard.
Why? It is funny, if you do an improvised show, the audience
expect it. They buy that fact. When it is a written show it needs
certain things. So a joke, you write a joke, now, if you give the
audience too much information it sounds too corny. If you don't make
the point that A is related to B, they don't know what you are
talking about. So there must abgap that they have jumped themselves.
So give them a certain amount of information, but not too much. That
is difficult to judge. Doing it in front of a live audience is the
best way. Until you get out there and try it, you don't know.
Sometimes they laugh, sometimes they just look at you.
You say that improv keeps you "match fit", as it keeps your mind
ticking? It does. I do a regular show at the Comedy Store. Things
like Have I Got News For You which is improvised. When they come along,
I feel like I've done lots of improvisation. When I do the comedy
store, I feel rusty. It is good the improv. It keeps you alert.
Are you starting to rehearse? Yes a director coming in, John
Nicholson. I am looking forward to it, but it is unlike the improv,
there is so much to look forward to and fear that it may not work, but
so far, so good. Well, Out Of My Head is on at the
Vaudeville Theatre in London from the 1st to the 20th of October. Now
to the weather. Of course, lots of people like to complain about it,
but when you do, spare a thought for the men and the women working
out on the oil rigs in the North Sea. Out there drastic changes in
conditions can happen in a matter of minutes. Marc McCarroll explains.
It is one of the most inhospitable workplaces in the world. Where the
weather is often violent and always unpredictable.
We are all used to changing weather, but out in the North Sea, the rigs
can be hit by several severe weather systems in a single day.
Because of its location, the North Sea is a hostile environment,
bombarded by different weather systems battering it from both the
Atlantic and the Arctic. In summer, the warm winds blow over the cold
waters to create the har, a Scots word describing the sea mist and
fog that smothers visibility. Winter brings the lows of cold air
that hit the warmer sea, that creates a short-lived storm. That
is not all. Storm surges build within hours. In squally conditions
they build in minutes, bringing with them gales of up to 90 mph and
waves that can reach nearly 20 metres high. Out here getting to
work is a battle against the elements. Crews change shifts by
helicopter, preparation is all. Over 30 years, the helicopter
accidents in the North Sea have caused 110 deaths. Today, there are
more res crews than fatalities, with the pilot training playing a
crucial part in the successes. This helly centre is as close to the
real thing as you can get. Chris puts the pilots through their paces.
Chris, there is driving rain, poor conditions? Yes, we set up the
simulator to represent the conditions that the pilot would see
and the point where he has to make a decision whether to land or fly
away from the ground. It is important to expose the pilot to
the conditions, and to stimulate their decision-making process.
We are going the wrong way! There we go. We landed.
And it is not just the helicopters, every aspect of the oil industry
has its risks. On December 27th 195, disaster struck the oil platform,
Sea Gem. The steel legs gave way and the structure sank into the
waters. Nearly half of those on board lost their lives. Kevin was
won of the few who survived. I had been on board about half an
hour. There were two huge explosions or cracks.
I knew straight away that something was radically wrong.
So I decided then that the best thing to do was to get off it.
Which, -- which I did. It was freezing. We had a jumper on and
slacks and I had slippers on. I had no time to get anything else.
A public inquiry concluded that the probably cause of the disaster was
metal fatigue, the cold waters had taken their toll on the structure.
Hard lessons were learned. Today with the new rigs, insurers insist
that a meteorologist is on board, but before they get to the sea, the
engineers put themselves to work building platforms that are as
weather-proof as possible. Here in Newcastle they are building a new
rig, 5,5,000 tons of metal, the legs have been given a layer of
specialist paint to protect them against the salty air, improving
its defences against the temperatures of minus 50 to plus 50
Celsius. You have to design these things to
withstand massive wave and wind blowing. Some models anticipate the
type of wave that may come along only once in every 10,000 years.
That must be in place to have a safe structure that is going to
stay there and make it is safe workplace for people.
Today there are 283 platforms in production in UK waters. Their
safety relies on the expertise of engineers, cruise and
meteorologists. They will never completely weather-proof the
industry, but they have learned from the mistakes of the past and
work to ensure that they can deal with everything that nature throws
at them. This work is essential to the safety of the 22,000 men and
women working off our shores. Thank you very much, Marc McCarroll.
Alright, improv time. Oil rig, ten seconds, go! What do you mean? Oil
rig, well, I can do it in a minute. Oil rigs invented by Professor Oil