Fame: Bill Oddie


Did you ever crave fame?

Not in any normal sense. But being connected with comedy programmes or groups that eventually had ten million viewers meant status was there. After the black, black time when I really got down and I had to drop out of Springwatch, I discovered that the thing that was getting to me most was the feeling of lost status.

Did you ever feel like a rock star?

[Sixties radio comedy show] I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again did have a mad fan base that would hang around outside the Playhouse Theatre. The heyday was in The Goodies, about 1976. That was a I-can’t-walk-down-the-street time. I hated that. Sometimes it turned nasty.

The screaming girls?

Blokes. They would challenge you: “Just cos you’re on fuckin’ telly.”

What’s the upside of celebrity?

There are a few parties. David Bowie put me on a list for something, and I did a function with Kate Bush. The seventies coincided not only with a certain amount of liberation, but having married young I decided to put myself around a bit. It’s a bit easier if you’ve been on the telly.

Has celebrity changed?

Celebrity will always have a shallow element. If you’re looking for a rather pompous statement, it would be that a star is a star not because of what they do, but because of who they are.