More TV Memories – Bid Best Bits – Part 7.

I have done a few pieces where I have written about an interesting idea in TV which is then taken to its extreme, and I suppose that this is another example of that. When Price-Drop TV launched in 2003, I remember that they ran a promotion saying that any item that they sell could go down to just £1! (plus the p&p of course!) But I don’t ever remember this happening in the early days.

A while later, they launched a special feature called the Megadrop, where they said that selected items would be guaranteed to go down to £1. I remember watching a lot around this time because I really wanted to see this happen as I thought that it would be an exciting moment. The presenters insisted that they hadn’t been told which of the items that they were going to sell would be a Megadrop, and when it finally happened, I noticed a few things.

Firstly, there was the response from the presenters. This was rather amusing, and I remember that their responses ranged from total disbelief to just squealing with shock. Also, when there was a Megadrop, there was a huge demand, with hundreds of people phoning in and the item selling out in seconds. And, in those days, it did seem that there were some really good bargains, with several items that had a decent value going for £1.

It seems that Price-Drop won an award for this innovation. I’m not sure what it was exactly but I remember that they described themselves as “award-winning” for many years after. So I thought that was all rather good. Not long after this, when Bid relaunched their format and had falling price auctions too, they decided to introduce their equivalent of Megadrops, and this made me realise something.

We would now see how some of the presenters on Bid including dear old Peter Simon and Andy Hodgson would respond to all of this happening. I wondered if they would get really overexcited too, and they didn’t let me down. First of all, there was Peter. He would usually respond to a Megadrop by clapping his hands, endlessly shouting “it’s a pound!” and then running around the studio. vlcsnap-01348

He would also compare the price to other things, saying things like “for the cost of three large oranges, you just got this!”. He would even occasionally lapse into his famous “no… is that right?” routine. Andy Hodgson was equally enjoyable. He would also get very overexcited by all of this. He couldn’t believe how the price could go so low, it was just so naughty. vlcsnap-01346

The novelty begin to wear off after a while though, a lot of items that weren’t of much value often went down to £1, it was very unlikely that they would’ve lost money on any of them. And not long before they went off air they even struggled to sell out Megadrops which really showed what position they were in by that point. But to once again create something really exciting and silly in the world of shopping TV channels was a great thing for Bid to do.


More TV Memories – Bid Best Bits – Part 6.

I just thought I’d do another one of these. I didn’t set up this blog to do attention-grabbing listicles as they’re called now, but if I really did want to put one together, the only category I would choose would be…


1. When Bid first came to Freeview, there was a feature called Speed Auctions, where Peter had to run around and close the auction quicker than usual, and he was often complaining about how exhausted he was and how he wouldn’t be able to keep the pace up about ten minutes into his shift. One day, when starting an auction, he fell off the podium and fell flat on his face. I don’t know whether he did this deliberately or not, but I couldn’t believe that so long after his Double Dare and Run The Risk days Peter was still at it and I laughed a little too hard at his misfortune.

2. About a week or two later, Peter tripped and fell off the podium again, whilst trying to start a speed auction, and only getting as far as saying “here we go quickly…” before again he took a painful looking tumble. vlcsnap-00893

3. Again around this time during speed auctions, Peter managed to do the double, when as the hooter went and Peter had to go back to the gavel, he decided to grab assistant Jenny’s hand and they both ran back, so when Peter collided with the podium he took her with him which was rather unfortunate.

4. At the start of his shift one Christmas, Peter went into the podium once again, and the present that he was holding went flying. What a way to start. Thankfully the only thing that was bruised was his pride. vlcsnap-00874

5. Not long after, Peter went to the other side of the studio to preview an item, and promptly disappeared behind the bed. Having to walk about five paces was still clearly proving too difficult for him.

6. Around the World Cup, Peter was selling some towels, when again he fell over. I don’t know if he collided with the podium once again or he tripped over the towel. He then tried to tell us that some jumpers were next whilst complaining “I’ve just sliced my head open”, and then he tried to get into the football spirit by trying to sing the England anthem “Three Lions” and just ended up shouting “England’s coming home!”. He then pointed at Sophie who was laughing so much he insisted that she had wet herself, but he couldn’t laugh because when he took the towel off he noticed that he had ripped his trousers. And it wasn’t the first time that he’d done that live on Bid either. vlcsnap-00877

7. Another one, where as Peter was closing an auction, again he went into the podium, but then he slumped to the floor and started rolling around in a rather fake manner, before he then got up and oddly looked like he was about to sob. Why does he do it to himself? vlcsnap-00890

8. In more recent years, when Peter decided to begin his shift with the showbizzy “it’s live from London” routine, when he came on he fell once again, this time blaming a piece of carpet he went into. He really will do anything to get a laugh.

9. Finally, when Peter was on with Marina once late one night, again as he got rather overexcited by her fancy outfit he slid and went on his bottom. And yet it was sill so funny. vlcsnap-00892

More TV Memories – Bid Best Bits – Part 5.

Another one of these. Over the years as I’m sure you’ve realised by now, I’ve enjoyed a lot of Peter Simon moments, so I thought that I would now share although it’s a difficult choice what almost certainly could be my favourite auction that Peter ever did on Bid.

When Price-Drop launched in 2003 they were the first channel to have falling prices. A couple of years later Bid adopted this format. Although it was a great shame to see the gavel go, one of the good things about this would be seeing how Peter dealt with a falling price auction, and I wondered if he would get as overexcited doing them as he did with the rising price auctions.

So I was very pleased when he did. Every time the price plunged Peter would use a special catchphrase “it’s an auction avalanche, the numbers will rumble, and then they’ll tumble, how low will we go?”, before the price finally went down and Peter would go into a “NO. Is that right? Grab it!” routine that would become very familiar, but one night he was so overcome by what happened it was really odd and funny.

One year during the Christmas rush, Bid decided to extend their time on air by half-an-hour, meaning that when Peter did the live late-shift he would now be on until 1:30am. For the final half-an-hour every item sold would supposedly be randomly picked and Peter wouldn’t know what it would be in advance, they just wheeled it on and sold it as quickly as they could. This meant that it would often become rather shambolic, with Peter constantly saying “is there a brief?”, and then being unable to read it and explain the item because he’d forgotten his glasses again.

But it was the very last item that Peter sold in this slot before he went away for Christmas (presumably to play the back-end of a horse in pantomime) that really stuck in my mind. I can’t remember what the item was exactly but it went down to £14.99 I think, and Peter seemed to be somewhat thrown by this. He just started doing his “no… no way” routine again, then he did a really high-pitched laugh which concluded with him going really loudly “HA-HA-HAA!!”.

You could tell that the crew in the studio were looking around as if they didn’t know what was going on. We then got a big close up of a rather tired-looking Peter who yelled “it should’ve gone to £29.99!”. He then did another big laugh and said in a rather hoarse voice “unbelievable!”. I have no idea why Peter was so insistent about what price it should have sold for, but when they finally sold out he concluded his shift by just going “ooh, I’m absolutely shattered”. Goodness knows what I was doing even watching this channel at 1:30am but it turned out to be very rewarding, it gave me a great laugh, and it once again proved how amusingly unpredictable Peter could be. You’ve bagged a bargain there.

Another one of these soon. But until then, remember, you might not know it, but somebody somewhere loves you.

More TV Memories – Bid Best Bits – Part 4.

Here’s another memorable moment from Bid which features Andy Hodgson and Peter Simon. When Bid launched on Freeview in January 2003, they were doing something rather special. For a few weeks everyone who placed a successful bid was put into a draw, and then a name would be picked out at random by the computer and they would win the star prize of £10,000. But later in that year they went a little further.

There was another draw, but this time the star prize was £20,000. Peter even appeared in the promotion for this competition which was a little unusual as Andy Hodgson usually did the majority of them, presumably because he would need fewer retakes, but either way it was good seeing Peter get some more exposure. And when the big night came to reveal who the winner would be, it was fair to say that emotions were running a little high.

Andy and Peter were both live in the studio ready to do the big reveal. There was a big suitcase on the table which featured notes inside it which had pictures of Andy on them, I presume they’re not legal tender. Then, after several weeks, the big moment came, and we’d finally find out the star winner. Who would it be? Mavis in Northampton? Joyce in Kirkcaldy? Gladys in Hull? The tension began to mount…

And then it was revealed that the winner was Kim in Bridgwater! Naturally everyone was very pleased and they got a delighted Kim on the phone to talk to, but it’s what happened next that turned this whole occasion really bizarre. Peter seemed to be overcome by what had happened, and he started to sob and say “I’ve never known anybody win £20,000 before!” whilst dabbing his eyes. vlcsnap-00018

This somewhat distracted Andy who was trying to congratulate the newly rich Kim, and there also seemed to be a lot of disbelieving laughter from the crew in the studio. I honestly don’t know whether Peter was putting it on or not but it was just so strange, and in all the years I watched Peter on Bid only his emotional response to receiving his tenth anniversary figurine what I wrote about recently can compare with what happened on this night. vlcsnap-00019

I suppose though that moments like this are what kept me watching, and I suppose it explains why Peter didn’t go on to host any game shows after Run The Risk where contestants played for big money, because he just wouldn’t be able to believe it. What a carry on. Another classic moment coming soon…

More TV Memories – Bid Best Bits – Part 3.

One great thing about watching Peter Simon on Bid TV was that he was so unpredictable, and it always felt that at any moment something rather amusing and bizarre could happen with him on live TV because he liked to make it up as he went along, but there was one moment in November 2011 which really was remarkable even by his own standards.

I was watching one Sunday evening, when Peter came on and did his usual rather daft introduction where he treated all this as if he had just walked on stage at the Palladium. Once he’d finished his highly amusing anecdote, he then introduced his assistant for the night Helen, and Peter was somewhat surprised when Andy Hodgson walked on instead.

Andy announced that it was the 10th anniversary of Peter joining Bid, so they had decided to do something special. I was always pleased to see Peter enjoy a second wave of popularity after his Double Dare days, and Andy explained how Peter was hired. He said that he phoned Peter’s agent, asked “I’m looking for somebody cheap”, and got the reply, “I can help you there, it’s Peter Simon, he’s not busy.” I imagine that Andy was joking but he was probably closer to the truth than he realised.

Because Andy also said that he’d had a right old laugh with Peter over the years, he revealed that tonight there would be a very special item for sale… the limited edition Peter Simon commemorative anniversary figurine! Yes! Andy also said “it is numbered individually, because it’s your favourite word”, and Peter didn’t seem to notice Andy taking the mick right in front of him. vlcsnap-01580

It was then that Steve and Helen came on with a special cake and some soppy music played. Peter seemed to have no advance idea of all this and he looked like he couldn’t believe it, and then Andy asked Peter because it was Remembrance Sunday if he would sell the figurines if for every one sold they would donate some money to a favourite charity of Peter’s choice. vlcsnap-01567

Peter’s response to this was somewhat unexpected and made something that was already unusual seem rather more odd. Peter just paused and said “can I just say… thank you very, very much”, and then he practically started to sob, and Andy and Steve put their arm round him, realising that they probably should’ve done this at the end of his shift because he was overcome. vlcsnap-01589

When it came to Peter actually selling the figurine later in the evening, that was a very odd experience too. He didn’t put any humour into it at all, and just sat there practically sobbing for about ten minutes about all the things that had happened over the years, talking about how touched he was that viewers sent kind messages to him, and reminiscing about a programme that he had recently heard on Radio 2 about parents talking about the musical choices of their fallen solider children.

Eventually they did sell the 1,000 quantity, with Peter going for a very reasonable £14.99, raising thousands of pounds in the process. What a bargain. And I’m sure that Peter takes pride of place not only on a mantlepiece or a bay window in houses across the country to this very day. Now you wouldn’t see that happen any other channel, would you.

More TV Memories – Bid Best Bits – Part 2.

In the Bid-Up days there used to be a feature called Speed Auctions, where items were sold much more quickly, with auctions lasting roughly about five minutes in instead of ten. The idea was that after about a couple of minutes a hooter would go off, and however far they were through their description of the item, the presenter had to run back to the gavel and take bids for a couple more minutes before closing the auction.

Of course, when it was Peter Simon’s turn to do some Speed Auctions, it was clear that it was going to be something worth watching and it definitely was. By the end of his first hour he was saying about the hooter “that’s starting to get on me nerves now”, by the end of his second hour, he was saying that he would run back to the gavel, but only if he had the energy left, complaining “I don’t think I can keep this up much longer”, and by the end of his shift he really did look completely exhausted, and because he was unable to keep up with the faster pace he fell over one at least one occasion.

So on one memorable occasion Peter decided to deal with this as only he could. Because he was so tired and had been sweating so much, he decided to start an auction by taking his trousers off, complaining that “me trousers are soaked through!”. He then walked over to the next item and carried on as normal, and I can only imagine the chaos that this was causing with the production team, with Peter saying “one of the cameramen has just proposed to me”.

Before the end though he was persuaded to put his trousers back on, and as he was doing so, someone with terrific comic timing decided that this should be the moment for the hooter to go off, so Peter had to treat us to his famous camp run back to the gavel while still trying to do up his zip, but he eventually managed to pull everything back together, while informing us “the hairs on my legs are stood up now” and cackling. It goes without saying that no-one else can do live TV like Peter and it was one of the funniest moments that I’ve seen on Bid. vlcsnap-01189

I’ve got lots more great Peter moments to share with you soon, including the time he emotionally sold a figurine of himself. You have been warned.

More TV Memories – Bid Best Bits – Part 1.

I have already written on here about my memories of the channels Bid TV and Price-Drop TV and how much I used to enjoy watching them, so I have decided to share some of my favourite moments. Before Bid became a bog-standard shopping channel, there were some great and unusual moments which really fitted my sense of humour. These memories probably won’t mean much to too many people, but better out than in as they say, and I might as well share them here because it’ll give you something of an insight into the channel and what I’ve spent time doing with my life, and well, no-one else is going to, are they. A lot of these moments will of course feature Peter Simon, but what might be my all-time favourite moment on Bid actually happened with another great presenter Andy Hodgson. So here’s the story…

For a while Andy used to have a feature that he called “Products For Peanuts”, where he insisted that they would sell an item in his shift for less than they bought it in for. (In the desperate final months presenters seemed to insist this about every item, but this was at the time when such a statement on the channel could still be believable.) He would tease this for about half an hour. Every time the price went down on an item, he would say “is it this one?”, and when it wasn’t he would say “no, it’s not this one, but that’s still a good deal”.

He would do this until the end of his shift, and when it finally came, and the price went down to something daft on an item like about £7.36, he would become amusingly over-excited, and start shouting “it’s this one, it’s this one, it’s products for peanuts, run to the phone quickly, blimey!”, and on at least one occasion he started waving a chair round, and I was amused by this messing about and thought well that’s all rather good.

But one night Andy started doing this whole routine, and he started throwing his arms around and running around the studio, and saying that we should grab the phone and everything as usual, and he was so overcome he suddenly shouted “I’m as giddy as a kipper!“. This was such a bizarre turn of phrase, and one that I haven’t heard anyone use before or since, and I really did think that he had gone crazy for real for a brief moment and I just thought “wow” at someone acting like this on live TV.

My next thought was “is that a northern expression?” because Andy is from Burnley as he used to like to tell us every five minutes, and I imagine that various parts of the UK have their own slang. But it was just all so odd even by its own standards that it really was a remarkable moment that I haven’t forgotten. It really did make me laugh out of shock and disbelief as much as humour. vlcsnap-00321

Terrific. Join me for another Bid TV memory soon, when I’ll tell you about the time Peter Simon decided to take his trousers off…