The truth about Bohemian Rhapsody
Why oh why oh why did I do it? It’s the question I lie awake at night asking.
It’s the question my friends are simply too polite to ask. It’s the question which is as uncomfortable to answer as it is to ask. Why did I agree to appear on TV singing grotesquely out of tune and higher than a chorister with a rubber band twisted round his gonads?
Lest you missed my bit part in the annual Children in Need humiliation of BBC journalists, those good and gentle folk on Have I got News for You replayed it last night. Ego, of course, goes a long way to explain why people – whether political editors or Pop Idol contestants - make fools of themselves for your gratification. In my case, though, the answer’s more shameful still.
It’s fear – of seeming a humourless spoilsport.
My new BBC colleagues did warn me. Just say No they said. Say yes once, they said, and you’ll never escape. I took heed. When invited to join in the fun by Pudsey’s little helpers I ever so politely declined saying that sadly I was busy that night. I was free or so I thought. No problem, a second e-mail said, we’re doing a video of Bohemian Rhapsody to be recorded whenever suits you.
“You don’t understand. I don’t want to make a prat of myself even for that bloody bear and those cute but appallingly deprived kids” read the e-mail I never had the courage to send. So it was that I headed for the recording consoling myself that I only had to sing “Mama Mia” a couple of times.
On arrival I was told there’d been a change of plan. Dermot apparently didn’t fancy his part so I’d been given it instead. And so it was that I did a falsetto version of “I’m just a poor boy I need no sympathy”. My only worry at the time was that I might be late for the World at One.
“You were great!” “Yeh, marvellous, Nick” chorused the producer, the director and the singing coach (what do you mean you couldn’t tell there was one?) Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of a studio technician bent double with tears streaming from his eyes. If it’s the last thing I do I’ll get Dermot bloody Murnaghan. Maybe I could do that for charity.