Terry Christian comes to Burnley

WORD PLAY: Terry Christian
WORD PLAY: Terry Christian

WORDS have always come easy to Terry Christian.

Never one for shying away from a controversial topic or two, the outspoken TV and radio presenter has spent an entire career telling the world exactly how he sees it.

On Friday, February 15th, he will be stepping ever so slightly out of his comfort zone when he brings his new comedy show, “Naked Confessions of a Recovering Catholic”, to the Burnley Mechanics.

Terry’s strict Irish Catholic upbringing is the inspiration behind his debut tour as a stand-up comic. Best known for hosting “The Word” on Channel 4 from 1990 to 95 though, the show will also delve behind the scenes of some of the most notorious and controversial television ever made.

“I’m looking forward to coming to Burnley. I know a lot about the town and the Mechanics and it should be a good night. I did a couple of after dinner speeches and then I was asked to do a one-man show in April. I ended up doing it as a bit of a stand-up and it went well.

“At first it was absolutely terrifying appearing on the bill with seasoned stand-ups, but I’ve had such support and positive feedback ever since that I’m delighted to now be able to take ‘Naked Confessions’ on the road.

“People ask me if it’s cathartic talking about these things on stage, but I can assure you it isn’t. The audience is laughing, but it’s my life.”

Having began his career on BBC Radio Derby in 1982, where his Barbed Wireless show won two Sony Awards for Best Specialist Music programme, Terry ventured back up north in 1988 when he joined Piccadilly Radio’s Key 103 FM. During his reign there he gave birth to what would later become known as “The Madchester Scene”, showcasing the likes of The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays as well as giving first airplays to the likes of Oasis and The Charlatans.

In 1990 he went on to front “The Word” – a show which went on to become one of the most talked-about in TV history, hosting many bands playing live for the first time on British TV, including Oasis, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine.

That “golden era” of television has now come to an end though according to Terry who cites a lack of imagination and a fear of taking risks as the reasons.

“Just look at Channel 4 now. It’s one long freak show. If it’s not about dwarves or fat people then they’re not interested.

“There were a lot of changes in TV after ‘The Word’. They started filling up commissioning roles with 28/29-year-olds thinking they would find the next young and groovy thing. Because they were so young and already so high up though they had nowhere else to go in the business. People became too comfortable and didn’t want to take any risks.

“If you were doing a documentary set in Burnley you’d want to focus on the beautiful countryside, the great nightlife, young up-and-coming bands. They would want to look at the ‘Shameless’ side, the estate where Paul Abbot grew up, kids drinking and selling drugs, that kind of thing.”

“The Word” possessed the longevity needed to continue past 1995 in Terry’s eyes, but behind the scene politics put paid to its run.

“Ratings were up and it was still just as popular. It was a political programme, but I wasn’t happy with the direction it was going in anyway. I had to argue for seven weeks just to get Oasis on. There was already a Manchester band on that show and nobody had heard of Oasis. At the time they had had a couple of plays on Radio 1 but nothing else. A lot of the music had become pretty naff really. Acid jazz and awful new wave stuff. A lot of the time you felt like you were banging your head against a wall.”

Currently presenting on Cheshire’s Imagine FM, his love for music has in no way diminished and he’s hoping to start putting on North-West band nights in the near future.

“I’m thinking of putting on some band nights around Manchester and then taking them around the North-West. The problem with a lot of these nights is that they package bands up. ‘You can’t put on a pop band with a rock band?’ Why not? Otherwise you just end up listening to three or four bands playing the exact same music all night. A lot of bands are trying to get a following quick. If they are not an overnight success they are deemed a failure.”

Terry’s show will also feature a question and answer session.

Tickets are £10 and can be bought by ringing 01282 664400 or visiting www.burnleymechanics.co.uk.