Doug Carnegie - The ScotsCare podcast - Episode 5

ScotsCare supporter and volunteer, TV Producer
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[Music] hello I’m Marcus Railton and this is the ScotsCare podcast. ScotsCare is the only charity dedicated to helping disadvantaged Scots in London through a range of support including mental health therapy, financial grants, advocacy, sheltered housing for old escorts job coaching, social events, befriending and support for Children and Families. The charity has been running for 400 years to help break the cycle of poverty experienced by some Scots in this six-part series of the Scotts gear podcast I’ll be chatting to celebrities and supporters of the charity that have also forged a life in the capital away from home and about the ups and downs that can bring in this week’s episodes I’m joined by Doug Carnegie a TV producer Who Rose to the very top of the game Doug’s worked on news current affairs and factual entertainment he was the man in charge of programs such as crime watch and the one show in his time he’s what with the likes of Claudia winkelmann Nikki Campbell and Victoria Derbyshire to name but a few like me and so many others he’s a Scott who has left his homeland and these days very much calls England his home Scott’s care hi Doug hello there thanks for doing this.

Pleased to be doing it Marcus.

Yeah well somebody said to me you just moved houses are you settled and settled.

Yeah we we’re actually six months in to a move out of London to Northamptonshire and um if somebody had told me I would need to slap on 110 coats of paint on doors I’ll probably would have stayed in London but I’ve done it and and that’s not we haven’t got a lot of doors it’s just that the guy before us stripped them all and I hadn’t realized that each side of the door would take five coats um so so there you go but I’m paying myself top painter rates I know I’m very good gardening rates as well that well that’s I think when you go and look at house I remember my wife and I moved us about four years ago and we went there and we bought like we thought it was a doer upper and the learning curve has been huge because we went and you look at it and you think oh every ceiling is artext and nothing’s been touched since oh no but we can do that we can and then you move in and you just have this massive reality check of it, I actually can do this at all I said I think probably the one thing worse than you know possibly a year in solitary confinement is deciding that you’re going to strip artext yourself. I know well yeah I’ve not you know just don’t look up yeah Life’s Too Short that’s what my dad said never look up and never look at anything below eye level so as long as it’s just don’t look around yeah yeah it makes it a bit hard when you’ve gone to the Vatican to see the Sistine ceiling but still.

You moved from Scotland to London, you said and now you’ve moved out of London, whereabouts when where were you brought up?

I was brought up in Peterhead uh north of Aberdeen and uh was there until I was uh about nine and we moved to Aberdeen and uh I was there till my late teens and and um university really.

And did you move South for University?

Yeah I was at Newcastle which as you know it’s just a southern Outpost of Scotland and you know I’ve got enough Jordy Pals who were nod the head of that. Yeah I came down to London for the first time uh as soon as I left Newcastle and I remember I sold all my University books I have a suitcase full of them and I sold them all and uh I came down to London with eight pounds 50. and this is why I mean ScotsCare means a lot to me because I came down to London I moved into a flat with a bunch of guys in Haringey and I was a year in London and it was probably the most miserable year of my life I was uh unemployed for a bit of it I had it really you know dead end jobs I was selling magazines in Hyde Park in Victoria Station I was doing door-to-door social surveys for Oxford University it was in Shepherd’s Bush it was it was absolutely miserable but because it was London I was pretending I was having a rather fine time in fact i was Dreadful I went back to Scotland tail between my legs after about a year.

Peterhead is a bit further north than where I’m from I’m from Glasgow but and and I’ve been down south I’ve been in and around London now for almost as many

years as I as I was in Scotland but I still remember moving down because it’s

a big city to be alone in isn’t it it’s exactly that and and that was my first

experience of it if you don’t have enough money you’ve got your nose pressed up against

the windows of all the opportunities that London has you know great shows

great Theater Great Cultural Events all the rest you can’t afford any of them and so it’s the worst of all worlds

because you haven’t got enough money to kind of enjoy what London has and it’s

not a place to be it’s not a place to have low resources in and uh I found it

absolutely Dreadful and I just kidded myself for a year that I was having a good time then I owned up and went home

but then he ultimately came you came back and you’ve gone on to forging your career down here so how did you how did

you come back from from the north of Scotland back down here so I went home to lick my wounds I I

wasn’t intending to go back and kind of stay in Scotland particularly because

you know by that point I was I I think the London time I was the first time I was just you started playing on the

seashore you know with my mates and so and thinking I was having a good time and wasn’t and

um then some Ambitions coalesced I’d always wanted to be a journalist I wanted to be a journalist for for when I

was 15 years old my parents blessed and were very keen uh I went to University

because nobody else in the family had done so that kind of derailed that a

little bit and then in my early uh to mid-20s it came back I was working in

America in of all places a rehab center for schizophrenics as they were then

called um and um and this whole place was a reaction to the film One Flew Over the

Cuckoo’s Nest I I was working in a place called Fountain House in New York which is still there uh God bless it and what

it did was empty the wards of Bellevue and take in people who’d been in straight jackets and sleeping 40 to a

door form and started training them up to get them back into life

um in small manageable jobs and so on it was a wonderful wonderful place and it

just really opened my eyes I tried to get into the Columbia School of Journalism and they said yes but it’ll

cost you 9 000 pounds a year and my dad said well we could afford threesome but that’d be about it so I cut my cloth and

went to Cardiff the journalism School University of

Wales which was certainly Dan it was the best one in the country there were only a couple and I

was lucky enough to do well there and I got a scholarship to the Sunday Times so that was the was actually my third

stay in London and that was the first time that I felt I was on top of London

and not London on top of me um you know I had a few Bob um a friend uh give me a flat for the

summer because she was away abroad and everything was tickety-boo most of the

Sunday Time stuff were away on holiday so I got lots of stories to do and they paid you 15 quid a paragraph on top of

your uh wage and you know Harold Evans was the editor great Scotsman Magnus linkletoe was the news editor uh David

blundy foreign correspondent who was sadly killed in Nicaragua took me under his wing so it was just that was the

best time I I I’d as yet had in London as I Scott did you ever cross swords

with Derek Jameson I used to work for him yeah well I wouldn’t say cross swords so yeah Jerry Jameson yes I

remember Derry well I I used to book Derek for um a Friday night debate show that I had an ITV that I produced for uh

a lot of years and and Derek would would come up and uh you know and point his

fingers at people and be amusing and and so on and in fact um there was a spin-off

um ITV so liked him he he did a very watchable program I mean you probably

wouldn’t get away with it now about how uh foreigners view uh Brits and it was

called with Derek Jemison abness do they mean us oh yeah I remember that and it

was quite good I mean he added to the guillotia Nations he was he was a character and he was he was relatively

honest yeah well it’s interesting you see you know a program that you wouldn’t get away with I think I mean I I have massive respect because he could have

gave me my first break I started as a researcher on His Radio 2 show and then a producer left and Derek

suggested that I kind of step up and be the producer but at the same time as I was the producer of his of His Radio too

sure Doug I’d walk into the studio and you give me a list of stuff and I thought it was maybe guests and it was a

shopping list he’d send me off to Morrisons or Safeway as it was in BIOS World in Glasgow

and do you know something that stayed with me 25 years right and this is the thing that’s probably you not probably

you just couldn’t do nowadays is that he kicked me up the bum really hard once

when and he must have been he was a young man at the time and I got something wrong doc I got a name I got

an age wrong it was somebody who’d been involved in an accident a young girl and I got her age wrong and he said to me I couldn’t say to you

what because it was it was just expletives and he chased me around I’m very happy about it oh he chased me

around the radio studio and you know what radio studios are like the two massive heavy airtight doors and I

managed to get the first one open but I couldn’t get out the second one fast enough and it just kicked me right up

the bottom you made me look like her and then the rest of us in my early days I

watched at a paper um in Birmingham it was an offshoot the Birmingham evening mail the Sandwell

daily meal and it had a Scottish news editor um should I name him probably not and he

was tyrannical in that Jemison way and I the first day that I was there I arrived

in the office and uh and he had somebody by the throat and their feet were off

the ground and he was he was kind of pushing them against a wall and and and

shouting things at them and uh when he saw me this he let this guy slip to the

ground and he took the guy’s jacket threw it out the window into the High

Street and said go and get that no what do you want that was my first day

and I mean it it was just extraordinary but he was hugely talented uh you wanted

to please him um and he nobody made you feel better if

you did well so this is the thing isn’t it this is the balance that behavior is never ever acceptable but no of course

not in some it was like Jameson as well got away with the way he treated me but personally this is only me speaking do I

regret what I went through with him for what I learned me personally probably not but I think he could have scarred a

lot of people by that kind of mental tyrannical Behavior yes I mean it’s it

of course you find out who you are when when somebody treats you like that but of course it’s a lottery and and it’s no

way it’s no way to treat people but um if um it’s bullying Behavior but

there’s there’s two ways to react to a bully and that is to be better than them

and to be better than their treatment and um but it’s old school isn’t it

Scott’s care supporting Scott home in London

[Music] to talk about something that you had a lot of success with where when you were the man in charge of the one show I

really care of what I wanted to do I mean we all know what the one show is and the things that I was thinking about when I knew I was going to speak to you

is that I don’t watch much television but then you get stuff like the one show that

everybody watches and when you took that on is that something you’re nervous about because you know

that five million viewers at its height and there’s obviously a secret sauce to

these shows that just it’s just magic now what is that secret sauce that makes

something exceptional and secondly is it something you were usually nervous taking on

yeah but I think it’s a good thing to be hugely nervous I’ve always been hugely nervous

um until you get on the pitch and then I’m actually massively calm I mean I’ve

seen pandemonium happening around me and I sort of inversely I just got really calm uh and and it’s not something I try

to do it’s just the way it happens and it’s interesting I was um I was briefly a news reader when I when I was a an

on-screen reporter at ITV and I remember reading the news with Anne Diamond one night and before we went on the half a

minute before we went on air she was all over the place lost her script couldn’t remember what our interview questions

were was you know tearing her hair out literally I was as calm as anything uh

and then as soon as we got on air I was a nervous wreck and she was absolutely icing her veins and I thought

reading the new I can’t do this I just can’t do this because it’s gonna in

order to look calm I’m gonna kill myself uh and and I thought I just I it’s great

experience and I got off it and decided that I would far rather produce things so I’m the guy that has to be calm

before we go on here and and on air in Prospect of the one show there are an

awful lot of people involved it was the biggest BBC Commission in its history yeah I said because it was massive

because it involved all the nations and regions and dozens of Indies and so on and you know we were showing

you know half a dozen films a night uh at 30 Films a week that’s you know

hundreds and thousands of films a year old commission it was a massive massive exercise so the one thing I didn’t feel

was alone the idea I mean people used to say to me

oh you based this on Nationwide didn’t you and I said no I’m much older than that it reminded me on The Tonight

program when I was a kid which was an evening magazine show which was really

the first opportunity for the BBC to sort of slightly kick its shoes off of

an evening after the news so that you would have color pieces and

features and so on and quite serious stuff all mangled up together and it’s a

great satisfaction to me that the one show is is constantly kind of caricatured is is going from the the you

know the dangers of obesity to um the plight of you know some rodents

on on the Riverside or how how you make a cake and I’ve always thought what I don’t

understand the problem without I mean people sitting at home watching the program don’t have a problem with that

because that’s the way conversations go yeah uh and I used to get that when I

was working at ITV I I run a debate show which combined a lot of really serious

stuff with absolutely flippant uh things provided they were in the news so we

would move from how do we deal with Gaddafi you know should we talk to the IRA and in part three do big girls have

more fun because it’d been a story in the papers that week um and and it was honest and people say

how can you go from one to the other I said well that’s the way human conversations work in human

conversations you don’t say and no for something completely different but the

early days that one show were hard because you did have to slalom between a topical story or a topical guest or

somebody a serious guest I remember Mia Farrow you know she wanted to talk about charity in Africa which was fine but we

also did want her to talk about Frank Sinatra Peyton Place Woody Allen and quite a number of other things that were

of reasonable public interest and I’m getting her and the show to go from

foreign the one level of seriousness to to one less serious

um and we became famous for these um handbrake turns that was a difficult to

kind of weave that in the early days but we we got better at it because we realized that’s the way conversations Go

I mean I I look at people on on the Telly that are presenters and I kind of think no I like you but I don’t like you

or and I can say I can say I don’t like you before they’ve even said something and when I watch stuff like old version

old episodes of the one show I think Adrian Childs I always felt like I could

have went to the public Adrian Charles I could stand at the bottom of my garden and and and talk about my my lawn Adrian

Charles and yeah and as a boss and a mentor were you able to spot that talent

and say you are going to work and you are not going to work yeah to a degree I mean I I think that’s

a good example actually because the whole point about Adrian and and I think

successful presenters uh although Adrian’s you know come a few croppers you know but you know he would say

himself um is that the narrower the difference between how a presenter is on air and

how they are off it is the key to their success and it’s the key to them staying

sane and it’s the key to the viewers liking them because the one the viewers

may like or not like somebody and uh the the great trick is sometimes when they

don’t like somebody and they still watch um but what they loathe is

inauthenticity anything fake uh and so yes I mean Adrian was very much a

character uh off screen that he was on he didn’t become somebody else he didn’t go and I’ve seen present just you just

go ding you know and they’re on you know that that plenty of names I could name but won’t who were good on air and and

even some of them who managed to fake authenticity quite well

um oh yeah sincerity if you can fake that you can you can go a long way if somebody once said to me it’s

interesting you’re saying that people watch because they like you or people watch because they don’t like you and I kind of think if if you if I had to name

somebody like that I think somebody like Piers Morgan is one of those people who’s an extremely polarizing character

and people absolutely love them but yeah because many people probably can’t stand them but watch because they just think

what the heck is this guy going to do next yes exactly that I’m famously remember being in a supermarket a little

hungover on a Saturday morning after a a Friday night show that had gone well and

the the the debate show that I did was a Friday night show some people used to say it was the nearest Legal thing to

cockfighting um on television uh but we just thought it was good honest to be it and it was

we wanted to be different from question time which I thought processional and

formal and you know paneled up and the audience worked separate and so on and

we wanted I’m much more kind of democratic Affair but not everybody liked it and I remember

um being in the supermarket kid getting a Saturday shopping in you know a couple

of twin boys you know biting my ankles um my Lads and um I heard this this uh

bloke um in front of me in the queue saying did you see that program last night I can’t stand it did you see last

night they had you know so there was a guy who couldn’t stand this program but

he was tuning in yeah and I thought you know when you when you’ve got that you’re probably

that’s as good as it gets because if there’s a Marmite quality but they’re still eating the Marmite and I’ve always

felt about TV it applies to the one show and it applies uh to debate shows and

all the rest of it people used used to say to me well yes but I mean you know there you were discussing Northern

Ireland but you know what did you solve in in you know in that half hour discussion I see television doesn’t

solve problems but it might give some people some ideas as to how they might then spend several years trying to and

that one show when it does a three-minute um item uh on how flu is spread by doing

infrared tests in the house and showing all the door knobs cluttered with influenza uh viruses that’s a small and

useful thing that somebody might then go and look up an NHS app and get more info

on and so television starts things it doesn’t finish them

but does it have a duty to educate the BBC spin million on educative online

content to back up their programs yes yes I well I do think it it does

um I don’t think all television has to do that I mean Lord wreath um uh had had three uh tenants I mean it

was education information uh and and entertainment and and I don’t I don’t

actually see them as being mutually exclusive some of the time you know there’s some terrific television that um

will give you all of those things I mean I was watching a documentary the other night I’ve really just stumbled on it I

don’t do much casual watching a TV but it was a walk with Paul Merson oh yeah

and and and he was just walking through the Yorkshire Hills whether with a selfie camera and what was extraordinary

he was just I mean he was walking through these wonderful Dales and Yorkshire

Countryside up near where he used to play in in Middlesbrough but he’d never really gone walking in his life I mean

he knew the inside of a pub like the back of his hand but he didn’t really know of dry Stone dikes and woodpeckers

and curlers and all the things that he was Finding on this walk and and it was just an eye-opener now that was

educational it was absolutely informative about this guy who has

looked at life through the bottom of a of a glass for for most of it and had

highs lows gambled away fortunes I mean it’s a tumult of a life and here he was

having a peaceful walk through green spaces and kind of looking

at everything like a child might you know with a real sense of wonder and so on and I just and and it was

entertaining so the not they don’t have to be one or the other you know I mean I

don’t know if it is post covered or it’s just coincidental I think I do think there’s an appetite for more slow TV

something that’s more slightly more soporific like um like Bob Mortimer and the fishing show yes absolutely Alexa

sealed is a thing where he Cycles through London and that’s only online and it’s he doesn’t do much he just

Cycles his bike through London and chats while he’s doing it well I think there’s something I there’s a producer that

taught me a thing or too much he ended up being Tony Blair’s PPS is um um an XMP Called Bruce grocott and um

Bruce had a very good read on people on

TV who could be watchable and he had a test

um which was you know where you’d be watching somebody and they’d be talking and we’d all be hanging on there

everywhere I remember Bruce saying to me once if he was talking about chain link fencing you’d listen

it’s interesting there is something about then the examples you mentioned are Lexi sale and Bob Mortimer and so on

there is even if I am never going to catch a fish on a river or cycle through

London for God’s sake I’m really interested in someone who is enthusiastic about either of those

things because what you’re watching is the enthusiasm and enthusiasm is an

absolutely hypnotic thing in on TV you know expert on Bob barbed wire fencing

in Nevada 1834 if that’s that guy’s pet subject and he’s enthusiastic about it

and listen Scott’s kid but there’s a couple of things I do want

to talk to you about you you’re talking about education entertainment information a program that you did I

think takes all those boxes was uh crime watch now now the thing about that is did you feel that you were a kind of

custodian of a British institution or did you feel that you could have gone in there and shook it up or were you the

guardian of what has gone before there uh well it’s it’s a bit of all of those

things I mean I think when I came into crime watch it it it it had sort of

I I don’t think it was in the best possible place I I think it had been rather formulaic for a long time a long

time and had become a bit like a telephone um uh but what I was brought in to do

and was determined to do I was only there two years before I I went to the

one show but what I wanted to do was to have the coppers who were investigating

the story The the cases um narrate them I I you know because I

felt the idea of um two presenters and narrating all the stories it was do you know what I just

had this feeling it was a bit like two very well educated Public School presenters all very fine terrific um uh

at the presenting job but there there were narrating stories about working class people killing themselves in

pointless fashion in uh the the back streets of big cities and they just felt

something out of kilter with the Britain I understand and know in it and so so um

I I thought my job was to was to get try and get and the police involved and as

as you may know you know you talk to policemen about their day jobs and he or

she will be vibrant and interesting and informative in in the deepest ways and

then they stick a color and a tire when you put a camera in front of them and all of a sudden they talk as if they are

proceeding in a Northerly Direction and I and I just I kept saying to them

you’re not going to get the sympathy for people to ring up and say I know the guy who did this yeah but if you’re sitting

in that car in a car park with a polystyrene cup a cold coffee at four

o’clock in the morning wondering whether you whether you can get this pedophile that’s produced these Dreadful images of

these kids then people will want to help you more and so that that I thought was

my job to try and to try and sort of make crime watch just a bit more

um reflective of of the world we were in but I loved it and yes I did I did think I mean from its early days and right the

way through it was a proper function and and a great example of TV actually

achieving something by the involvement of the people who are watching now you’re kind of taking things a bit

easier now but I’ve just got a couple of minutes left and I did want to ask you about something else you care about is

the Scottsdale charity I mean why do you support the work of Scott’s care well I yeah it’s it’s back to I remember those

early days in London I mean I don’t know if uh Scots I didn’t know about Scott’s care um and uh and I wasn’t in deep

trouble I was just in deep poverty and a bit fed up but um I think I’ve been lucky I was but you

know blessed with parents that did everything they could for me had a fortunate career I mean I’d like to

think I’ve made my good luck and so on but a lot of it does depend on good luck and having good mentors and people and

and lots of people had that I know had many of those things and came off the rails and and so on so life can be a bit

of a lottery um you don’t get what you deserve and um and that’s the way it often is and and I

think you just you want to put a bit back and before I was a journalist I was

a community worker and I ran Adventure playgrounds in quite tough areas in Newcastle and and so on so I’ve always

um wanted to be involved in in communities and uh and with people and

when I discovered Scott’s care and I was just sitting in the doctor’s waiting room and I just saw a pamphlet on the

wall are you a Scotland London could you help and I thought well yes I can now and uh so that was it

I’m but the best thing about Scott’s care is whatever I’ve put into it in my

sphere which is you know some of it on the media side but on a week to week

basis a couple of old boys that I’ve looked out for consistently for the last five years whatever I’ve put into it

I’ve got back in spades I’ve been really lucky and uh and I think Scott’s care is

a wonderful opportunity to just you know reconnect with people that you

know you might not come across every day and without any kind of patronizing or

we’re all equal in this and uh and I think that’s a basic Sports quality that

I quite like as well uh and I think Scott’s Care at its best embodies it

you mentioned a couple of old boys Doug you’ve looked after is that part of the befriending service can you briefly tell

me how that works with Scots gear yeah the befriending service is for anyone

who’s a Scot in London who is you know vulnerable maybe just

um lonely or alone there is a difference um and I’ve looked out for a couple of

guys who well into their 80s and and they were just missing Scots around them

and they needed a wee bit of help with you know it’s a medical appointments and

this and that and they just wanted the sociability that Scott’s care can give

in these circumstances and I was very happy to do it and uh and and enjoy it

and look forward to it and I found two friends via Scott’s care there’s nothing

of the client about them they’ve become friends and uh so that’s what I mean

about getting it back in spades that’s what Scott scare does there’s an equality to it and I think that’s the

best thing about it Doug thank you so much for speaking to me today that’s all right I’ve enjoyed it and uh enjoy the

rest of your day thanks see you soon all of us Marcus take care bye

Scott’s care working to make London life better for Scots and their children

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