BBC Three (2009)
After the success of Maestro BBC 3 controllers commissioned “Ding ding” – an introduction to the world of bus conducting for a collection of celebrities. With a voice over from Blakey of On the Buses the show was intended to feature celebrities learning bus conducting skills. The confirmed involvement of Ainsley Harriot, Brian Blessed, Russell Grant, Rusty Lee, a welcome TV return for property developer John Leslie, that bloke offof Bablyon Zoo that can play up to an H, Sue “rent- a-celebrity-reality-show” Perkins, Liza Goddard, Gary “whatchoo talkin’ about Willis” Coleman and Stan Collymore led to high expectations – and the reintroduction of buses with conductors on various routes around the country for the duration of the programme was broadly welcomed. The introductory show in Edinburgh featured a sojourn along the route of the 26; and later episodes featured routes in Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, culminating in a special tour of London. Decisions were left in the hands of passengers who voted for their favourite conductor based on a variety of criteria: general obstructiveness; ability to deal with drunks; capacity to intervene on top deck canoodling; and inability to find any change. The professionalism of Goddard was marked from the start, as she determined to pursue a conducting career with a vengeance, although the residual affection for TV’s Gary “whatchoo talkin’ about Willis” Coleman saw him sail through early rounds, despite his diminutive height causing difficulties in dealing with various problematic conducting situations – before the great British publc’s innate racial prejudice saw him lose to Brian Blessed who triumphed after a particularly vociferous bout of shouting at passengers in London’s central London.
Blessed revelled in his reality show triumph and embarked on a career of fleeting cameo appearances moaning about the state of Z Cars after he left, and occasionally shouting “Gordon’s ALIVE” while waving his arms in the air and berating unsuspecting interviewers.