A while back on this site, in a review of a Graham Parker documentary, I questioned why so many documentaries have little interview clips of famous people who have very little to do with the main subject of the film.
I wrote “I get really pissed off with music documentaries which have people in it who are only there because they’re famous. You’re watching a film about the Pixies and up pops Bono or someone from Travis with their opinions. Why would I want to know what they’ve got to say about Pixies? They weren’t there, they don’t know what went on.”
I think I have now found the ultimate example of this. I’ve just watched a BBC Four documentary about 50s rock’n’roll and the impact it had on British teenagers. It was actually a very good documentary separated into chapters about each of these: Bill Haley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee, Elvis, Chuck and Buddy.
So at some point the producers of this film were having a meeting.
“So who shall we interview for this documentary about 50s rock’n’roll?”
“How about asking some of the people who were there at the time, the people who witnessed this musical revolution first hand? People who were so inspired by this music that they set out to become rock’n’roll stars themselves.”
“What, you mean people like Joe Brown and Marty Wilde?”
“Yeah those kind of guys. We could even ask Paul McCartney and Cliff Richard, you never know they might be up for it!”
(all of those people were interviewed for the film and quite right too)
Just then, some junior runner pipes up.
“But wait a minute, aren’t we forgetting some people?”
[blank looks from everybody else]
The runner continues: “Well, surely any viewer tuning in to watch this documentary would be severely disappointed if they didn’t get to hear what comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar and actress Minnie Driver had to say about this. After all, neither of them were even born until several years after the events being discussed so who better to talk authoritatively about it?”
At that point, all the other production staff were so confused by this suggestion that their heads exploded and that left the junior runner in charge of the whole thing.
I can offer no other explanation of why these 2 were in the documentary. Did they just happen to be passing by and someone asked them if they would mind popping in and saying a few words? I’ve got nothing against either of them but I’m just puzzled.
Anyway, these kind of unexpected and unwarranted appearances are commonplace so I thought this webpage could be a repository for all spottings of irrelevant interviewees in documentaries.
Maybe you saw King Juan Carlos of Spain talking about how KRS-1 completely tore up the rap rulebook with his Criminal Minded LP. Maybe you were watching one of those Classic Albums programmes about The Chocolate Watch Band and silver mulleted ex-referee Roger Milford popped up to offer his two pence worth.
Whoever you see, leave a comment in the box below to let us know.
Keep ’em peeled.