Monday, 30 April 2018

Radio Stars: The Blog chats with Bolton FM’s Andy “Big H” Hargreaves

My mate Andy Hargreaves (Big H) and I first met doing hospital radio many years ago when the world was black and white and the Doomsday clock was at least five minutes further away from apocalypse than it is now. After annoying the patients and staff at ‘Birch Radio Rochdale’ for a while, I went on to have a successful career as a door-to-door salesman selling doors and Andy became a ‘proper’ radio presenter. I had a quick chat with him about Corrie’s recent hospital radio frolics and what he thinks about the show in general…


What’s your name and where do you come from?
My christened name is Andrew Charles Hargreaves but everyone knows me either as Big H or just H. 

You grace the airwaves of the North West and of course used to do a bit of hospital radio. What was that like and was it customary to flirt with hospital patients?
Hospital radio is an opportunity for people who might want to work in the media to get a foot in the door. A lot of "famous" radio and television presenters started their careers in hospital radio including Chris Moyles, Scott Mills, Ken Bruce and Phillip Schofield to name but a few. The premise of hospital radio is to entertain and aid recovery and studies have been done in the past that prove people do recover quicker when they have a hospital radio station to listen to. It is also a great opportunity to volunteer and give something back to the Health Service. As for flirting with patients in my day we weren't allowed near patients because of disease and germ control, the rules have been changed now and a lot of people go around the wards to collect requests and promote their stations. It is invaluable because some people are in hospital a while and don't always receive visitors so it is always nice to see a friendly face. Obviously some records are a no no and once I made the mistake of playing Cutting Crew "I just died in your arms tonight" and was halfway through before I realised it wasn't really appropriate! 

Do you think it’s about time Corrie’s Audrey found love and is Geoff the right man for her?
It would be lovely to see them get together as Audrey has had a rough ride with past partners and I still think she misses her Alfie. You could say after her two accidents she is falling head over heels for Geoff. He seems a likeable chap, but in true Corrie style I am sure there is a back story that we may find out about, but I do hope he is Mr Right for her as she deserves a bit of happiness and a diversion from the troubles of David and the rest of the Platt family. 

What should Geoff's hospital radio show be called? (My suggestion was Radio Therapy but I'm told that wouldn't go down well). 
Hospital radio shows these days seem to have a generic name that include the presenters name such as The Geoff Hour but it would be nice for him to call it something like "Geoff at your bedside" or "The voice of the bedpan". 

Are you enjoying Corrie at the moment?
I am an absolute Corrie nut and have been since I was a little puppy. My first memories of watching Corrie go as far back as the lorry driving into the front of the Rovers when Deirdre thought Tracy was in the pram outside, and the affair with Mike and the iconic scenes of Ken telling her to get out. I don't believe Corrie has a good time or a bad time I think it is always good, there are storylines that can be a bit tedious or not as entertaining but that is life, it isn't always exciting. I get annoyed by people saying the Pat Phelan storyline has gone on too long but then in the next sentence when people thought he was gone forever people are demanding that he comes back. Confirming the old adage "you can't please all of the people all the time". I also find it absolutely hilarious when people say to me "Oh no I don't watch that rubbish" and in their next breath they are discussing what is happening in a current storyline, it is almost like it is their guilty pleasure. 

Dark times
Should producer Kate Oates have left? There have been lots of complaints that Corrie is too dark and depressing of late…
Like any job in telly you are only there for a short time, people seem to come and go. What I do find strange is that I was under the impression that Kate was in it for the long run but now seems to be moving on rather quickly, it is a shame, she has done a good job and moved Corrie on to tackle some very important stories such as David's rape and the Rana Nazir storyline and to actually tackle the subject of someone being Muslim and a lesbian is brave but it is true to life. I also love the fact that although there are some more controversial stories there is still that element of comedy in there which is what I think sets Coronation Street apart from Eastenders and will do anyday and everyday. I love it when Jonathan Harvey writes for the Street and you can spot some of his one liners that are very Victoria Wood-esq. I am excited to see what Iain MacLeod has in store for Weatherfield.  

Who’s your favourite Corrie character (past or present)?
There are so many for me to choose from it is like asking what your favourite movie or song is. As someone who was born and brought up in Heywood in Lancashire my neighbour is Julie Goodyear and my dad used to knock about with her, my next door but 10 neighbour was the lovely Anne Kirkbride and I grew up with Debbie Rush's husband Andy so I like to think I have a connection with the Street in one way or another. As for favourites I loved Bet and Alec and I am loving the classic Corrie on ITV3 at the moment, I forgot how funny together they were. Jack and Vera are awesome, Hilda was the best busybody ever. I am really looking forward to seeing Ken Morley and Raquel making appearances again in the repeats. My favourite all time scene was Blanch at Peters AA meeting and I love the one liners Mary has (you really have to watch out for them) but I think my favourite was Fred Elliott, I used to be able to do an impression of him so would love it if he came back from the dead, I say back from the dead.

Which character would you bring back?
I would love to see a reunion of Mavis and Rita as they were a great comedy duo or Raquel who could come back now as a successful business woman based in Paris and is now fluent in French and impresses Ken. Or Jon Lindsay on what he has been up to since his release from Prison, that would be exciting. 

Tell us about your work (plug)…
You can hear me on 96.5 Bolton FM Monday to Thursday around the world online via the ‘listen again’ feature on our website (www.boltonfm.com) or on Tune In Radio or other radio apps. I am on from 9am until 11am and between 9 and 10. I do a little thing called Hits and Headlines where I play songs from this week of one particular year, give clues from the news and you have to guess the year and between 10 and 11. I play cheesy pop and give out the latest showbiz gossip, including stories from what is happening in Weatherfield. Long may it continue and roll on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for my Corrie fix. You can also read my comedic tweets about Corrie now and again @therealbig_h 


@StevieDawson



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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exactly how I feel about Kate Oates, she is doing a great job and I think people are just complaining just for the sake of complaining.

Anonymous said...

I've been watching the old Corrie episodes from 1988 - Mavis actually isn't a very nice character at all, she can be quite bitchy when she wants to be.

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