On the 9th of October the Forum welcomed Malcolm Johnson as guest speaker. His talk was titled “Famous for 12 Minutes? (A reality TV experience)”.
The title was based on a famous Andy Warhol quotation – everyone is famous for 15 minutes, the difference in time being explained by reality TV being interrupted by commercial breaks.
Malcolm, a 65-year-old retired teacher, did not drive a car, the family driving duties being carried out by his wife. During a party at which he drank a few beers he accepted a challenge to compete in a TV reality programme called Undriveables in which non-drivers were taught to drive and took their test in a very short time.
Of the 12,000 applicants 12 were accepted including Malcolm. Being an ex-teacher Malcolm passed the theory examination with ease and he then signed a contract with the production company. The conditions attached were far-reaching and strict but the participants were paid only £1.
Malcolm showed a recording of the show which was shown on ITV between two episodes of Coronation Street. The driver training around the streets of Liverpool included many mistakes and Malcolm did not expect to pass his test but he did, the only one of the twelve participants to do so. This was proved by the fact that he had driven himself to the meeting.
Forum Chairman Mike Earle thanked Malcolm Johnson for a most entertaining morning.