Rory Bremner was our star turn at the Insider Property Awards last week. I know what you're thinking. He's a has been. Do you know what? I thought that too. I don't know why, he's still on TV isn't he? We occasionally hire celebrities for these awards events and they do a fantastic job. And I see the odd one who betrays the central truth of these occasions: it's easy money and they hate doing it.
Rory is a very smart guy. And I think for the very reasons I outlined above, he knows that the same-old, same-old won't do. So this is what happened. I spared him the crowd control, the charity appeal and the housekeeping and hosted those bits. I tried a new technique for crowd control - and getting 900 people to stay quiet is tough. I didn't "shush" at all. It's seen as rude by some people, and so I tried pauses and extra ad libbing. No-one is listening at the very start anyway. But at 9:45 Rory bounced onto the stage and did a good half hour of comedy. Not just his impressions, which are all spot on, but a series of one-liners, quips, barbs and topical observations. This being Manchester Ryan Giggs featured heavily. He was brilliant. He exuded star quality. It was a pleasure to watch him work (for us).
When it comes to the awards themselves there's another unspoken pact between audience and presenter. He knows it's important to the winner. They know he doesn't really take it that seriously. They also know that it's important in their world and want to win. But it doesn't do to be seen to be taking it too seriously. The real skill comes in the detail and brevity of the script that the presenter works to. In this case Neil Tague, who I work with, provided a punchy and informative script that walked that line with great aplomb. If you can get to the end and a BAFTA award winning comic doesn't feel it necessary to say - "or so it says here" then you've done a first rate job.
So, we've had all kinds of people thanking us for the show. One thing that keeps coming up is how good Rory Bremner was - his jokes and his impressions, but also his research and familiarity with the North West and the property world. Well, take that as a compliment Rory, but take it as an even bigger one, Neil Tague.