Bob Holness died last week. I once showed him how to be Bob Holness. Let me explain.
I was working for a gameshow channel who were showing very old repeats of Bob’s popular series Blockbusters and I was asked to direct some promos for the show. I managed to track Bob down, and he came into Maidstone Studios to shoot some material.
After getting him to plough his way through a bunch of promotional scripts on autocue, I asked him if he would do what he used to do every week at the end of Blockbusters – a kind of friendly, saluting gesture directly into the camera lens.
“What do you mean?” he said. It had been ten years since Bob had presented the show, and I’d just been sitting in a darkened room for a week watching old episodes, so it’s hardly surprising that I knew exactly what I meant, but he didn’t.
“You know,” I said, “It was a sort of… static flat-palmed wave?”
“A static flat-palmed wave?”
“I have absolutely no idea what you mean,” smiled Bob.
So I had to demonstrate to Bob Holness how to do his own signature gesture. He watched me carefully, and like the trained actor that he was, he copied it precisely.