Hawksbee And Jacobs (Talk Radio/TalkSport, 1999-present)
A while ago I used to listen to various shows on TalkSport, and one of them that I enjoyed was Hawksbee And Jacobs, a double-act who took a more light-hearted look at what was happening in sport in a similar style to Baker and Kelly, and indeed it could be said that they were their replacements on that station. Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs had previously worked on sport magazines including 90 Minutes and TV shows, including Fantasy Football League, where Paul was a writer, and Andy was the producer.
One of their first shows was The Friday Night Kickabout (although this was in various other slots) looking back at the latest football (Paul is a Spurs fan, Andy is a Chelsea fan). As they hadn’t really developed any regular features or running gags by that point, I remember that most of their stories began “when I worked on Fantasy Football League…”, as they had met plenty of footballers on that show.
And around the same time, they also hosted Under The Floodlights, a late-night show about cricket, which included playing the dice game Howzat!, with the umpire doing an impression of a writer from The Mail On Sunday for some reason. I’ll never think of the song “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Rainbow in the same way again. By now they were beginning to establish themselves on the station, and in 2000 they were given a regular weekday afternoon slot.
There were now some regular features, and there were plenty of highlights. These included the competitions The Birthday Spread, where Andy had to guess the ages of various people that were listed in that day’s newspaper (with a song from the non-flag waving Pele), and Sport Or No(r)t, where callers had to guess whether people with unusual names were famous for sport or they weren’t, and remember the rule, “it’s just a horse”.
Inbetween the adverts for prune juice, there were plenty of other features too (and a bonus to them for using “There’s No Other Way” by Blur as one of the songs they came out of the break to). These included a review of American sport, The Fools Panel, where callers had to guess the weekend’s football results, and they even occasionally had a computer game review with Jonathan Ipswich, who was an Ipswich Town fan but didn’t like to go on about it, and also hosted the tough competition The Answer Is Ipswich.
Also memorable was when they would play the audio versions of various sportpeople’s autobiographies. These included the cricketer “Fiery Freddie” Trueman, who wanted to give something back to the game because he felt that he had an obligation to do so, and he often informed us “this man was being so blasé into the bargain, that I were really furious. And I’m afraid I hit him in the mouth, and he had to be carried off” (yes, that was his catchphrase).
There were also the Australian tennis player John Newcombe, who had won a huge amount of tournaments over the years, including “The World Championship Of Tennis”, which doesn’t seem to actually exist, and horse racing commentator Peter O’Sullevan, who reminisced about people who liked to “imbibe in the morning”, and I’m sure that they were just all great guys who loved their racing.
Friday editions always concluded with The Clips Of The Week, some of the more unusual moments and gaffes that had recently happened on the station. Most of these were provided by Alan Brazil, the Scottish ex-footballer turned red-faced boozy breakfast show host (when he turned up) and freeloader, with his show often coming live from Lord Vestey’s Box, marvellous. One highlight was when he slurred something like “spuhwuhwuh”, and then they deliberately played that all over the travel report to put the host off, which didn’t work by the way.
Alan was also fond of golf, ending interviews with “we must do lunch sometime!”, and liked to inform us when the time was 9:32. His co-host at this time was Mike “Porky” Parry, who often came out with some bizarre statements (I remember an often-played trail where a caller said “I am currently sat in the car bent-up double, laughing at this feller. He cannot be real”).
Also featuring was Joe Holland (or “Dutch” as he was known in the dressing room), a short-lived late-night host who had some very bizarre observations on life, the unsurprisingly unsuccessful Poker On The Radio with Graham “Beaky” Beacroft, and The Caller Of The Week, which made Andy laugh a lot. All of this would be produced by “The Ploughman”, and some guy who laughed like Basil Brush.
People have noted that the style of Hawksbee And Jacobs is rather similar to Baker and Kelly, and some will always consider them to be second-best by comparison, but there’s no doubt that they’ve provided lots of amusing moments. Paul would also go on to be a writer for Harry Hill’s TV Burp. Two decades on they are still there, although I haven’t listened much lately, as they seem to have taken on a more serious style. There’s just enough time to say “pie”.