Buerk! The Newsical creators Gregory Jameson and Tom Bailey answer some burning questions about the show…
“Is Buerk! really about Michael Buerk?”
Yes, in that the main character is a newsreader who worked at the BBC in the 80s and reported on a drought that led to Live Aid. But also no. Don’t come expecting a serious biography of Michael Buerk. [Read his salacious autobiography ‘The Road Taken’ for that!] Most of the show is utter nonsense. For example, our Buerk is from Leatherhead. The real Michael Buerk has no connection with Leatherhead. We just like the word Leatherhead. Say it. Leatherhead. The real Buerk is from Peebles and has never even met Sting. Though there’s definitely something a bit dodgy about Ian McCaskill.
“Aren’t you worried Michael Buerk might sue?”
Other people seem more worried than us. I’m sure if he came to see the show, Mr. Buerk would have a hearty laugh. He must have a sense of humour. After all, he narrates “Pineapple Dance Studios”. Any resemblance to characters living or dead is purely coincidental. I think we have to say that. Other top celebrities who get a mention, such as Beryl Reid, Peter Egan and Mugabe will probably just be flattered to have their names attached to such an exciting theatrical venture. Jan Leeming was spitting blood when she found out she’d been cruelly overlooked.
“Where did you get the idea?”
We’ve always been writing a musical about Michael Buerk.
“Who wrote the music?”
We wrote the lyrics, then passed them along to top Yorkshire musicians Mark “Bum Note” Kingston and Allan “Long Fingers” Stelmach. We also provided a few ideas for how the songs should sound: luckily Mark and Allan largely ignored them. Allan and the band are playing live in the show. Live! That’s worth the ticket price alone. Following the success of Buerk!, Mark now lives in the US, altering Robert De Niro’s trousers.
“Will it tour?”
We’d like to take Buerk! to London in the Autumn. And we’ve always fantasised about Japanese commuters whistling the songs from Buerk! in the Tokyo subways. That might be a stretch. But Su Pollard was big in Japan for a while in the early 90s, so who knows?
“Will everyone get it?”
We should cocoa! It will offend all in equal measure, at least, that is our hope. There’s plenty of cock jokes and you see Buerk’s pants twice. On a more high-brow note, we put in a tonne of 80s references, but a glossary is provided in case you’re too young or too uncool to remember Rod Hull, Ted Rogers and Frank Bough.