Celebrities choose the TV moments that have shaped their lives. Linford Christie joins Brian Conley for a look at the archive TV that helped set him on the path to Olympic success.
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Telly - that magic box in the corner.
It gives us access to a million different worlds,
all from the comfort of our sofa.
'In this series, I'm going to journey through the fantastic
'world of TV with some of our favourite celebrities.
'They've chosen the precious TV moments that shed light...'
The wind almost blew my blank off.
You're nearly in the telly here.
'..or the stories of their lives.'
If you're so blinking clever, you look after him.
This takes me back completely.
'Some are funny...'
# And when they were down they were down... #
-Ah, thank you!
It terrifies the life out of me.
'Some are inspiring.'
I wanted to be on telly.
That's it from me, back to you two.
Though this rather futuristic TV...
'..are deeply moving.'
And it was heartbreaking. I wept. It was heartbreaking.
It's not real.
'So come watch with us, as we hand-pick the vintage telly that
'helped turn our much-loved stars into the people they are today.'
Welcome to The TV That Made Me.
My guest today was born in Jamaica
but grew up to become one of Britain's greatest ever Olympians.
Linford Christie sprinted into the history books
and the nation's hearts with his incredible performances
on the track.
The TV that made him includes a world of high kicks...
And low blows...
A reverse double knee hold by Nagasaki...
A pair of likely lads who couldn't help
getting into all kinds of romantic bother...
My wife has left me, I don't give a rat's.
And a footballing genius who gave us all
a new definition of the term legend.
A man who has represented his country with distinction.
The only runner in history to hold at the same time Commonwealth,
European, Olympic and World titles.
It can only be the one and only, the legend that is,
Truly is a legend, this man.
Shall we tell them that we once entered the sports day race?
Because our kids went to the same school, and I entered
the Father's Day race with Linford Christie,
who cheated and did win.
I was very upset.
It was quite technical.
Do you remember we had to run along with the beanbag on our head?
-And I brought my fast legs, I should have left them at home.
-Yeah, I know.
I'll take you on at comedy one day.
But today is a celebration of you,
so we're going to have a trip down memory lane now and wind
the clock way, way back, and this is a very young Linford Christie.
Linford Christie was born in 1960 on the Caribbean island
of Jamaica, to Mum, Mabel, and Dad, James.
Linford's parents joined the half a million people
who emigrated from the West Indies for a new life in Britain,
leaving two-year-old Linford behind with his grandmother, Anita.
Five years later, aged seven,
Linford moved from sun-drenched Jamaica to just
plain drenched Britain to be with his mum and dad in London.
From then on, he grew up in Shepherd's Bush
with his four sisters and two brothers.
So, do you get a chance to get back to Jamaica these days?
I try, I try. I mean, I try to get over every couple of years if I can.
-Good to get back and...
-Has it got a good vibe, Jamaica?
-(It's the food.) The food.
There's no food, for me, like Jamaican food,
so I've got to go back.
Everyone's just laid-back.
So we're taking you to your earliest TV memory now, Linford.
I'm not going to say anything except watch this...
-It's the Big Daddy.
-Big Daddy, look at him.
ITV was the home of televised wrestling for a staggering 33 years,
and the heyday of the half-nelson was the '70s, when millions
of us spent Saturday afternoon cheering on our Lycra-clad heroes.
I think it came on about four o'clock and we just sat there
and the whole family would gather round the TV.
Just pandemonium, seriously.
We would just laugh and my dad would be in front of the TV
making loads of noise. And even my old granny, you know,
she was normally a really laid-back old lady,
and she'd be up there throwing a few punches and getting involved.
I mean, looking back on it now, I think
we can all tell that it was choreographed, to a degree.
Or do you still think...
-Go on, what's your view on it?
-I don't know, it was good.
It was more real than the ones they've got now.
I mean, they've got the WWF and all that kind of stuff.
To me, this was more real. And it was entertaining.
No-one got hurt, at least I don't think.
No-one got hurt making this programme.
It was entertaining, no-one got hurt.
-They were wrestling, but it was...
The characters were what made the programme.
What did we have? Mick McManus.
We always thought the bad guys just wore the leotard
that came across, and the good guys wore trunks.
Mick McManus was one of those guys
and he would always stop you in your tracks
and then he'd point at something and while the other guy wasn't looking,
-the referee wasn't looking, he'd hit him.
You know, we'd shout at the TV and say, "Look, he's hitting him, he's hitting him."
Mick McManus...in his little blue shorts. There he goes.
Look at this, it's like the other one's laid down.
LINFORD LAUGHS See, and nobody knows.
The referee didn't see it because he was doing something else.
Mick McManus always got a public warning, there was always one or two.
I think if you got three, they disqualified you.
But it's McManus with a second and final public warning there.
He always made it through.
Look at that.
I mean, he looks like he's been eating too many sweets.
The spectacle of grown men throwing each other around
and sitting on each other had a surprisingly wide appeal.
The Duke of Edinburgh and Margaret Thatcher were fans.
-Oh, here we go. Here's another one.
-That's Kendo Nagasaki.
A reverse double knee hold by Nagasaki...
What other memories do you have of Saturdays and the build-up?
On Saturday mornings, we all raced up because the TV was
in my parent's room.
And my dad would get up and go to work
and my mum would be at home, so we'd all run up the stairs,
get in bed and we'd just sit there and watch Banana Splits,
-all the cartoons and all that kind of stuff.
So this is not in your lounge?
No, no, no, no.
The lounge was a place where...
only, I suppose, guests and visitors came.
My mum kept her best plants in there.
She had all these plants and everything else.
You'd go in there and greenflies would kill you, seriously.
It would be like going through the jungle.
And she kept all the best crockery and everything in there,
so that was the privileged few...
I want to make you feel at home.
We've got the plants and I've got a few little goodies
for you now that will take you back to your childhood.
Now, you being a highly toned, tuned, physical athlete,
in your younger day, I'm assuming it was fruit,
..all that sort of stuff.
Oh, look at it. I can name all these already.
I could close my eyes, eat them and tell you what it is.
We've got a Dib Dab.
-So this was what you used to eat?
-Go on, tell us.
-These are Black Jacks.
-You could buy four of these for a penny, which...
What's a penny now in old money?
-I don't even know.
But, yeah, four of these for a penny, you'd buy these.
-Are these Mint Imperials or Trebor Mints?
-I don't know.
It's mint. Mint Imperials.
I'll have one of them.
So have you still got a sweet tooth?
I can take it or leave it.
But in your youth,
this is obviously before you got into athletics?
Well, yeah, but you're burning it off,
you're burning off those calories you're going to need...
I'd still eat one of these though, trust me. Sherbet Dip Dab.
With sherbet in it.
It looks like the Grange Hill tuck shop.
Look, we don't care. Money's no object on here.
There we go, look at it.
There you go, mate.
So, Linford, we're moving on to your biggest influence now,
growing up as a young man.
I suppose we would assume it would be a runner,
but the person isn't a runner?
No, well, I'm sure he ran a couple of times from other people.
Linford's biggest influence was Belfast's golden boy Georgie Best.
Georgie's footballing skills
inspired a generation of youngsters...
thanks, at least in part, to television.
The start of his career coincided with the first British
football results show - Match Of The Day.
It hit our screens in 1964 and showcased his
incredible talent to the whole nation.
He became the first global football superstar,
appearing on chat shows and ultimately being given his own show.
I loved Georgie Best growing up.
The thing is, as a kid, I didn't think about being a runner at all.
I wanted to be a footballer, as most kids do.
And Georgie Best, you idolised?
I did because he had skill, poise, he was a ladies' man.
-I mean, not that that's...part of the reason why I liked him.
You know, I just wanted to play like him and my mum bought me
a pair of Georgie Best football boots, which laced up at the side,
and I'm sure once I put those boots on, I can play like him.
Just, I wasn't discovered that way, you know?
I had all the skills of Georgie Best once
I put on Georgie Best football boots.
-Shall we have a look at Georgie Best?
-Let's do it.
-There we are.
Look at that, the ball looks like it's attached to his feet.
I know, I know. He was an absolute natural, wasn't he?
There's a magnet in his shoe and a magnet in the ball
and it just won't move away from it.
Do you feel sad, the way it went for him?
Yeah, I mean, of course...
He was taken from us at such a young age as well.
I think he had a lot more to give, but I suppose...
-Look at that, look.
-First superstar of sport, wasn't he?
-Look at him there.
George Best was the first football star to shine both on the pitch
and the small screen. And he blazed a trail for others to follow.
Emlyn Hughes and his infectious laughter had 19 million viewers
tuning in to A Question Of Sport in the '80s.
In the mid-'90s, Gary Lineker swapped scoring goals
as England's captain for getting laughs in a TV studio
on They Think It's All Over.
And since the late '90s, he has played the role of the cool,
calm frontman on Match Of The Day.
Ian Wright's TV career took him even further
from the football terraces,
onto The National Lottery - Wright Around The World.
And in 2011, Robbie Savage hung up his football boots
and slipped into his dancing shoes to appear on Strictly Come Dancing.
So in a way, that got you into sports, Georgie Best,
or was athletics always there?
I mean, I got into athletics in a funny way
because, again, I was playing football at school
and the teacher looked out his window and he came down.
I must have been about eight years old, and he said,
"Oh, you look like you can run.
"Would you like to try out for the school athletic team?"
And it all started from there.
I mean, I had no idea.
There was no inclination at all that I was going to run.
Because I didn't even really like it.
It was just something that they asked me to do and I did it.
I changed schools from primary school
and there's always a teacher there telling me I could run.
And, you know, so... I mean, I joined the club.
My teacher at school took me down and I joined the running club
and I went to a championship
for the English schools, all the schoolboys.
All the school kids from England took part and I ran the 200.
I didn't have a coach or anything and I came second.
And so from there, people kept telling me, "Oh, you could be good."
Even the guy who won said to me, "If you train, you could be good."
And so I met my coach, Ron Roddan, and even then
I was still playing with it,
and he wrote me a letter and told me,
"If you change your lifestyle and come down to the track
"and train more regularly, you could be really good."
This was most probably in '85,
and within six months, I won the European Indoor and Outdoor Championships
and everything else, and broke the British record.
Linford, I want to talk now about your family favourite.
I believe, I mean, some people would struggle with this,
especially now, obviously, we've moved on, it is
-a different era, but I'm talking about the show, Love Thy Neighbour.
-Love Thy Neighbour.
We live next door. I'm Eddie. This is my wife, Joan.
Oh, nice to meet you, I'm Barbie.
ITV sitcom Love Thy Neighbour ran for eight series
from 1972 to '76.
Its humour came from factory worker Eddie's struggles
to accept his new neighbours, Bill and Barbara,
recently arrived from the West Indies.
You will be careful what you say...
Although in most episodes, Eddie ended up as the butt of the joke.
His views might seem out of place now, but at its peak,
16 million of us tuned in to watch,
including young Linford and his family.
They did struggle to find a clip that we could show,
let's be honest. Let's have a look at the clip.
# Love thy neighbour... #
-God, check this.
-# Love thy neighbour
-Thy neighbour... #
Comes back to you, doesn't it?
I wouldn't be surprised if he don't come in here tonight, Eddie.
I hope he doesn't.
It's bad enough living next door to him and working with him.
He's not sitting with us. I've enough of him all day.
-Hi, Arthur. Can I buy anybody a drink?
Very nice of you, Bill. Come and sit down.
What did you enjoy about the show?
-It was the jokes.
-It was the jokes, you know?
You know, the way the programme was, it was like, there's a black guy
and a white guy, and they just throw, you know,
insults at each other.
-You know, I suppose now,
-you've got to be too...you wouldn't be allowed to show that...
..because it's not PC, but in those days, you know,
people didn't care.
People just watched things for what they actually was,
-and we enjoyed it.
-You enjoyed it?
-You never saw it as the white guy being racist?
-No, not at all.
-Not at all. You know, and...
I suppose it was a time when we all got round, again, together.
Which I suppose, in those days, it was a big thing, you know,
-for the whole family to sit together.
Will you stop staring at my wife?
I was just admiring your garden.
Oh, it's nice, isn't it?
Isn't it time you get the lunch ready?
I've only been hot out here a few minutes.
Look, but, the sun's moving round. You'll be in the shade soon.
We've got plenty of sun over here. We get it all day in our garden.
In those days, I mean, there was not many black people on TV,
anyway, so, you know.
-But, I mean, they allowed black and white minstrels, at the time.
So, you know, I suppose it was... we was a lot worse.
-Too sensitive, you. That's your trouble.
-Oh, am I?
Well, look, you just ask Joan to put on a bikini and come out here
and let me have a good look at her.
You dirty devil!
This was just, you know, we thought it was fun and it was,
you know, I suppose, good banter.
-Oh, it's different for you, is it?
-Of course it is, I'm white.
-And what's that got to do with it?
A white man has white thoughts. White for purity.
It's from such a different... I feel really awkward.
-I loved it.
I mean, not now. It is wrong. It is.
-We have moved on, but...
-My dad would still love it now.
If it came on TV, my dad would be the first person in front of the TV.
-Yeah. I mean, I would still watch it.
I would still watch it. I wouldn't have a problem watching it at all.
Linford, this is your first...um...
..your first tears at TV,
and not tears of sadness, but tears of laughter.
Have a look at this.
# Oh, what happened to you?
# Whatever happened to me?
# What became of the people
# We used to be? #
Oh, this was fun.
-She's left me.
-She hasn't left you for long.
-Well, how do you figure that out?
-Case was too small.
The Likely Lads were a pair of mismatched Northerners -
upwardly mobile Bob and working-class Terry -
struggling to enjoy the '60s on their tiny factory wages.
In the sequel - Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? -
Bob has married Thelma and Terry is home from the army,
endlessly leading Bob astray and into trouble.
What would you do in this situation?
Ah, well, I would never have got into this situation.
Let me wife leave me?
I'd have left her.
At its peak, 27 million of us
tuned in to watch this odd couple bicker, fall out and make up.
You do nothing.
Going round, ringing her up, apologising, sending flowers,
all that is fatal.
You just pretend you don't give a rat's.
Just relax, man.
Ha-ha-ha! My wife has left me. I don't give a rat's.
-The Likely Lads.
-God! Check the hairdo!
Oh, look at that.
Going back to their mother, they all do that, don't they?
You've got your whole lives in front of you.
You're just at the dawn of your disasters.
You know, at times like this, you really are a great help, Terry!
I like to think so.
James Bolam, I mean, he's still out there. He's still...
-This was classic though, wasn't it?
-It was very funny.
I suppose as we progress into your life and, obviously, you know,
your career just gets... goes...skyrockets...
you obviously didn't have much time to watch TV.
Yeah, and you miss a lot. There was no DVDs or anything else like that.
-You just missed...
I mean, athletics is very... I would say, it makes you very reclusive.
Because, you know, you're always... it is you on your own
and you're always on your own.
That must be difficult. That must be tough.
-You get used to it.
-Yeah, of course.
-You get used to it.
I've been doing it so long and, you know, there was a time
when, I suppose, you hate your own company.
I didn't like my own company at all.
Now... I suppose I'm older now, so I LOVE me some me time.
I like to be on my own and it gives you a chance to think and everything else.
You know, I realised the longer you leave it, being on your own,
the more you enjoy it, and that's when it becomes a danger.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I'm a little bit OCD, so, again, it's...difficult.
You know, someone comes and moves something and you go,
-"Oh, no, I can't..."
I was unaware of this.
Do the kids, do they just get to you if they...?
I think sometimes they make the mess just to annoy me.
I'm always cleaning, especially the kitchen.
-Do you enjoy cooking?
-I love it.
-Yeah, I cook most things. I bake cakes.
-Yeah, I do the whole thing.
-Soak my raisins...
-You would make someone a good wife, you know that?
Oh, definitely. I'd like to think so.
You're a great cook, you like tidying the house...
I do everything.
-The only thing I can't do, I can't do...
Give babies, there we go. I can give babies but I just can't... THEY LAUGH
We know where you're going!
No, I enjoy it.
I'm a domestic goddess, I love it.
It's time for a commercial break now.
It's voted, this advert, as Britain's
most catchiest advert ever.
And we might get you to sing along to this one, Linford.
Oh, look at that.
# Just one Cornetto
# Give it to me... #
And he takes it, doesn't he?
# Delicious ice cream...
# Of Italy... #
My accent's not that great.
# Delicious ice cream
# Of Italy... #
The tune in the advert is based on the Neapolitan operatic song,
O Sole Mio.
It proved irritatingly difficult to forget, but I bet the composer
never imagined it being used
as an advertising jingle.
What was it about this advert
that you liked so much?
-I suppose because it was catchy.
It was catchy, you know, and when something sticks in your mind
all the time and... Again, we used to eat Cornettos.
So it shows advertising actually works.
I've learnt a lot today. I've learnt an awful lot about Linford Christie.
I also know that you can't sing.
Can you now identify classic advert slogans?
I'll give it a try and see how we go on that.
-I'm going to read the slogan, you're going to tell me the product.
"Vorsprung durch Technik?"
-Oh, that's Audi.
You can play this at home.
"It's good to talk."
Correct, British Telecom.
"Put a tiger in your tank."
You are very good, you've got to get one wrong.
"Because I'm worth it."
Oh, that's, er, that make-up...
One of the make-up... L'Oreal. Is it L'Oreal.
Absolutely! Your recall is phenomenal.
Your athletic peak is on the screen right now.
There you go.
How does that feel?
Does it sink in? Something like that, is it before that moment
that you know you've won the race?
-The race is won way before the race starts.
Because we all get together and they call it a call room.
All the people you are going to compete against, you're in a room.
We would be in a little room about the size of this
and they've got a few chairs there and you have to stare at everyone.
Like a boxer?
-It's like being... Who's king of the jungle?
We all stand and you beat your chest and people walk around
and look at you, trying to put you off your game.
From experience, yeah.
This is where the race is won.
For example, you look in each... Someone looks in your eyes
and, you know, you put your head down,
it automatically tells me I've won.
-So you knew beforehand?
-Definitely, yeah. I knew I was going to win.
These are the games that you're playing with them?
You play the games with them, it's all in there.
Again, it's confidence.
Confidence makes you do some amazing things. You've got to be confident.
Before, I was... I was as good as I was,
you'd go to meetings and it would just be the American national anthem
was played all around. You know, the Brits, we had to sit and keep quiet
because we had no answer to them.
You know, so every time you'd go round and they were playing the national anthem,
you know - America - and you'd sit there and you're thinking,
"Wouldn't it be nice if I
"could be good enough to change this, you know, to God Save The Queen?"
-That made me proud.
We want to show you another career highlight now.
Um, this is Sports Personality Of The Year.
In first place,
the only runner in history to hold at the same time
Commonwealth, European, Olympic and World titles
and now adds the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year trophy
to his glittering list of achievements...
Ladies and gentlemen, Linford Christie.
Look how young I was.
Look at that suit. Look how beautiful you are.
I couldn't grow a beard then, though!
I still can't!
God, you don't know how nerve-racking it is.
I've been sitting there and I thought, "Well, could it be me, could it be Colin?"
My legs started shaking and it was almost as bad
as what it was when I was in Stuttgart.
How did that feel?
-I was proud.
The thing is, like, to be...
When you are recognised by your peers, I suppose, by your country
-and everything else, that's when you realise you've done something.
You know, I always...
You can go out and win everything
but when people, you know, your peers and people around actually...
Well, the public - it's voted for by the public - and you realise,
you know, that's when you really and truly have won,
or made something of yourself.
You know, I've got to thank Carl Lewis
because without his butt to kick, there wouldn't be no Gateshead.
The thing is, when I look back, you know, where I came from...
You know, I came from Jamaica in, what? 1967.
You know, we came here, we lived in...
There were seven of us in two rooms and everything else.
You've got to look back and, for me,
I can go out and, you know, be happy.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Yeah, I mean, I could have sat back
and not do anything, but some of it is what your parents instilled.
And I grew up with my grandmother, as well,
and some of the morals and everything else that she instilled in us.
Yeah, hard work pays off.
Thank you very much.
So, Linford, I want to ask - do you watch big athletic events on TV these days?
-The ones I don't go to. I try to go to most of them.
I try to get to maybe the big championships but, yeah, I watch...
Because you're commentating on it a lot?
No, because also now I coach.
When I coach, because my athletes compete,
-then it's more for me to be there.
I'm more use.
They like to have me in the warm-up area and everything else
and then I can go down and, you know,
tell them...give them confidence, I suppose,
and you spend more time at the track,
with me, rather than you do with your parents...
your family, so I become...
I suppose I'm the father, the mother figure, the confidant.
You know, this is one thing that makes me close.
Do you get very anxious when these people that you are very close to,
obviously, are in a race?
Oh, definitely. I mean...
I suppose you need a bit of nerves to go out there and perform
but I was never as nervous for myself as I am for my athletes
-because when I'm out there doing it, I know what to do.
I'm never quite sure, are they going to do what I tell them to do?
-You stand there and you do get a bit nervous for them.
I suppose it's part and parcel, you know, of what you do.
They say the best thing is doing it yourself,
the second best is teaching others.
I really do, you know, enjoy teaching my guys and girls what to do
-when they go out there.
-I think it's inspirational.
-I've really enjoyed our chat today.
-Oh, thank you.
At this point you get to choose our theme tune to play us out with.
What's it going to be?
-Let's go for The Likely Lads.
-It's me and you, isn't it?
-We're two likely lads.
All right, my thanks to Linford and my thanks to you
for watching the TV That Made Me. We'll see you soon. Bye-bye.
# Oh, what happened to you?
# Whatever happened to me?
# What became of the people
# We used to be?
# Tomorrow's almost over
# Today went by so fast
# Is the only thing to look forward to
# The past? #
Superstar sprinter Linford Christie joins comedy star Brian Conley for a nostalgic look at the archive TV that helped set him on the path to Olympic success.
From the crazy kicks and amazing flicks of 1970s wrestling to the antics of those loveable Geordies in The Likely Lads, via the world's first superstar footballer on and off the small screen, these were the shows that had one of the fastest men on the planet glued to his sofa as a small boy.