“Have you read the script, Tiss?”
It’s the night before filming and there’s a mischievous glint in Alan Curbishley’s eye. He laughs after he asks, then turns back to his pint before taking another sip.
Matt le Tissier looks bemused – not for the first time. He’s just driven 300 miles only to be greeted by story after story about Mark Kinsella and Clive Mendonca.
“I haven’t, no” he mumbles. F***. It could be a long few days…
Getting people to work with us is always fun. Generally, it works like this…
We have an idea for a sketch, a show, a series – then we ask Paddy if he’s got a number for them. Paddy looks in his phone, scrolls through his contacts book and offers us Ruby Walsh. Then he looks again and offers us Paul Ince. We sigh, fake thank him and move on.
Here at Paddy Power, like most football fans, we were gutted when Sky showed Thommo, Tiss and Charlie the door.
The new line-up could be brilliant, the freshen-up might go down a treat but these guys have been a staple of our Saturdays for lord knows how long. We needed some time to get over it.
And, we thought, so did everyone else. So we wrote a sitcom series – it’d be a few episodes, they’d need to be open to ripping the p*** out of themselves and they’d all need to be available to film in a Covid-secure venue.
We added Alan Curbishley. Because, y’know, why not?
Oh, and we’d needed to film in 48 hours time…
Our venue of choice was a house somewhere in leafy Cheshire – the very place used in ITV’s Tina and Bobby show. Or, as it’s now known, the location Paddy Power used to film Pundits. Ahem.
He may not have read the scripts but Southampton’s finest did report for his taxi on time, at least. Even if he would have preferred to be on the neighbouring golf course.
Thommo and Charlie soon joined him (separately, of course) and we’d achieved mission number one – reuniting the sacked trio, at an appropriate social distance.
The camaraderie was soon flowing – even if one of Thommo’s co-stars had a few cutting words: “They only got rid of us because the viewers didn’t want to hear you going on about Liverpool winning the league for a season.” Ouch.
So to mission number two – broaching the script. We need not have worried.
A few run-throughs and the troops were soon onboard – ‘can we have a line to take the p*** out of Mers?’ joked one, a laughing ‘f*** off” from Le Tissier when shown a framed, signed pair of goalie gloves from Mark Crossley (more on that later in the series) and a hearty chuckle from Champagne Charlie at his ‘sitting here thinking’ line seemed to do the trick.
“People shout it at me all the time in Glasgow!” he roared. Minutes later he was delivering the line with a towel wrapped round his head.
Anway, enough of the spoilers. The lads are back in the game.
And not once did they ask ‘why the f*** is Alan Curbishley here?’