Duckers & Diving: Presenter crisis fails to sink Media Awards

THIS week our charismatic columnist is back on familiar turf as he mixes it with the region’s crusading journalists at the Midlands Media Awards.

What a girl Llewela Bailey is. She’s supposed to be doing a presenting double act with old Central colleague Bob Warman at the awards – a sort of Sid James-Joan Sims combo – but didn’t quite make it back in time for the event from a trip on the high seas.

Carry on Cruising anyone?

She’s a wonderful person; a hoot but sometimes just a touch scatty.

So, it dawned on the troops on the morning of the function at Villa Park that they might be facing a presenter shortage.

But, never fear, this is the Birmingham Press Club, darling.

How do the television sweeties respond in a crisis…why, everyone rallies round of course.

Marverine Cole, who was supposed to be doing the ‘voice-overs’, was quickly slotted in beside the urbane and never ruffled ‘Lord’ Warman, while Pete Brookes, a terrific journalist and one time Manchester United broadcaster, is press ganged into microphone duties.

Brookes said it straight: “Ms Bailey owes me a large gin and tonic!”

I rumble on around the room and via the horrific red socks of Duncan Tift from, I find myself confronted by ‘ladies man’ John James. In the reception beforehand, JJ tells me of his strategy for the evening’s frivolities. ‘nuff said!

But, suddenly, shock, horror who’s the wimp I find drinking orange juice – only multiple bevvy merchant Andy Coyne, also of

A source reveals: “Coyne has a season ticket at the Villa, and goes down there with the wife’s dad, netting a few drinks in the process, which is more goals than the Villa usually manage. Hence he is off the juice for a month until June 21.”

Goodness me, I know a few drunks have January off but I’ve never heard of anyone taking to the wagon mid-summer. It must be heat stroke.

Never mind, I have something even crazier.

I find myself on the Jo Jeffries ‘Last of the Kerrang Radio’ table – it’s been converted to Planet Rock.

Great table – thanks Jo.

Karl Galloway, ex of Deutsche Bank, on one side in his Black Watch kilt. And on the other old media chums Steve Dann and Arti Halai.

So, smashing story, partners in PR operation Fleet Street Consulting, they are having some sort of away day in the capital to concentrate the mind, hiring a room in a pub, as you do.

There is Dann rallying the troops Churchillian-style when, getting a spot of lunchtime air, the window above, plus frame surrounds, spontaneously crashes to the pavement below.

Thankfully nobody killed or injured.

Some loud Londonna gave him grief though. Thought he was the proprietor. Well, utterly understandable, he’s got a landlord’s gift of the gab!Duckers and Diving

And then, desperate, I know, but my table cleared half the raffle prizes.

Adrian Hindmarsh wins tickets to Toulouse – parlez vous Hindo (hopefully not) – and Arti scoffs all the Holdens brewery booze, as supplied by fellow table participant Lucy Holden.

The troops suggest Arti indulge in a beer bath but are rebuffed.

Well used to making a splash, she insists: “Only Champagne, darling.”

Phew, pass the ‘shampoo’, vicar.