Eddie Mair: I’d rather have a full head of hair than a gong

"Nominations don’t come round very often. Yet I was already booked in for a medical procedure at a world-renowned hair-replacement facility"

People talk about Awards Season. We’ve had the Oscars. The Grammys. The Grandpas. The Tonys. The Emmys. The Apostrophe’s. The Baftas. The Oliviers. The British Soap Awards. The list could fill this page – and don’t think I didn’t think about that – but I really want to ask some searching questions.


First: is it not time that we had an awards ceremony to name the best award ceremony of the year? There is already some crossover: you can get an Emmy for putting on a good Oscar show and a Grammy for a song that was in a film.

But given the intense rivalry between all these events, let’s have a show of shows – a night to end all nights. A red carpet so full of celebrities that the pre-show featuring Joan Rivers takes 11 hours. The event itself would have to be staged over three days to include all 715 categories, clips, speeches, montages of dead people and the hilarious opening 45-minute monologue from whichever stooge is deemed capable of getting 23-year-olds to watch network television.

Second: couldn’t substantial savings be made by having just one venue in the world dedicated to awards ceremonies? The Grand Ballroom at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London is halfway there as it is. A slight tweaking to its schedule and it could be hosting the damn things 24 hours a day. A breakfast gathering for the British Pooper Scooper of the Year Awards. After a quick run-round with some plastic bags the venue would be ready for the World Allergy Spray of the Year awards at lunchtime. Once the place is hosed down, dinner could be served while the great and good of the earring industry meet with one eye on the podium and one hand furtively searching the shagpile for a dropped clip-on.

The Grand Ballroom has been hosting the Sony Radio Academy Awards since about five minutes after Marconi said to his wife: “Mamma mia, I can pick up The Archers on this thing.”

It’s traditional for everyone in the radio industry to moan about how long the evening drags on, while simultaneously being willing to bite the hand off a loved one to get a nomination. I was lucky enough to be nominated this year in the biggest waste of a studio category and when the news came through I rushed to check when the ceremony itself would be held (it moves every year, like Easter or army children). Unfortunately, the event was scheduled slap bang in the middle of time off I had already arranged.

I was torn. Nominations don’t come round very often. I didn’t want to be seen snubbing the event. Yet I was already booked in for a medical procedure at a world-renowned hair-replacement facility in Gstaad (I couldn’t possibly reveal the name, despite their generous offer of 20 per cent off for a mention in Radio Times). In the event I went ahead with the op, and asked a colleague to do the honours in the event of Sony Gold.

As it turned out, Jasper did a fine rambling speech on my behalf, just as drunken and incoherent as I would have achieved. As for the procedure… let’s just say I would urge you to check the translated paperwork if you’re having an op overseas. I still have a bald patch the size of Kent but boast hairier knuckles than Richard Keys.


Eddie Mair hosts PM from Monday-Friday at 5:00pm on Radio 4 and The Andrew Marr show on Sunday, BBC1