[Edit] – We’ve just heard that Iain Lee is going into the jungle in the latest series of “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” so we thought it would be a good opportunity to share this interview again!
We’re very excited at WRUK Towers – one of our TV and radio heroes agreed to answer some questions. Iain Lee presents the late night show on Talk Radio, and in the past, he’s been on TV’s seminal 11 O’Clock show, Big Breakfast replacement RI:SE and Big Brother. He’s a Casio digital watch fan, just like us. In order to make things more interesting, we decided to break up the questions into the past, present and future and make them all relate to the theme of time.
The WRUK Interview: Iain Lee
WRUK: People will remember you from TV and radio over the last couple of decades. You hosted the 11 O’Clock Show, Rise, various Big Brother spin-offs and you then successfully transferred to Radio with shows on Absolute Radio, BBC Three Counties and now a late-night show on Talk Radio. Which has been your favourite TV or radio gig?
I’m really proud of the 11 OCS. I was 25 and had been signing on so to get a huge show like that was amazing. I also got to watch Ricky Gervais, Paul Garner, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mackenzie Crook, Daisy Donovan and some other great people working up close. You can’t beat that. I really enjoyed RISE although everyone else seemed to hate it. I dunno, I enjoyed TV but I think I’m better suited to radio.
WRUK: We love the 80s here at WRUK and as well as watches we have a soft spot for the games of yesteryear. We were avid readers of your column in for Retro Gamer magazine. What’s Iain Lee’s favourite retro video game?
Elite on the BBC Model B. I have never been so excited to get a Christmas present as the year I got that. Everything about that was stunning – even the box was superbly designed, that wonderful novella and we had never seen an instruction manual so fat! I also really dug the game Sim on the BBC. An obscure little game where you controlled some dude in a jetpac collecting crystals. Great tune and impossible to finish!
WRUK: In a recent Guardian interview with Miranda Sawyer you were pictured wearing what we call “the best wristwatch in the world” – the Casio F-91W. You must have had the opportunity to acquire almost any watch you like over the years: Why choose a Casio?
My wristwatch of choice is the CA53W-1, the classic calculator watch. I’ve got it in my bedside table but the strap is broken. I always wanted one as a kid but was never allowed one. A couple of years ago it dawned on me that I’m an adult with a disposable income and I could treat myself! The F-91W is a great back. Durable, not gonna get stolen, dirt cheap and does the job. I’ve put about 3 of them in the washing machine and its no hassle to buy another one.
WRUK: You’ve talked about your love of Time Travel movies on your radio show, and mentioned that you plan to write a book about them. Of course it goes without saying that Timecrimes (Los cronocrímenes) is the best time travel movie, but what others can you recommend?
I’m a sucker for Primer. Really dig that. Tomorrow I’ll Scald Myself With Tea is a good one. Czech movie from 1977 that is just nuts. I thought Looper was the biggest piece of shit I’d ever seen.
The Future for Iain Lee
WRUK: In Lewis Carrol’s novel, Alice chases a rabbit with a pocket watch. You produce a podcast with Katherine Boyle called the Rabbit Hole. What is the Rabbit Hole all about, and what else does it have in store?
I like what you’ve done there! The Rabbit Hole is a very silly that barely works, but we are proud of it. It’s a phone in show taped live in front of a live audience. Katherine (who is a genius by the way) and I sit there with no script and just chat nonsense and hope that people call in. And usually they do! Often they’re rude to us, sometimes they’re polite. Either way, it’s a gas. Hey, you can call NOW and leave a message that may get used in the show. 0203 286 6370 or Skype HeyRabbitHoleShow. If you want to see where and when we are playing then check out the events page on our website www.therabbitholeshow.com
WRUK: Your TalkRadio show The Late Night Alternative with Iain Lee is on weekdays from 10pm to 1am, but you recently introduced a feature called the “Late Night Lock-In” where if the show is on a roll you carry on past your official finish time. What can listeners expect from the show and how can they access it?
The show is really going well at the moment. We call it The Late Night Alternative. I got so bored of the usual phone in late night tropes of Muslims, Brexit, Trump – dull stuff that was being used to scare the audience. Instead we are doing something celebratory. We have some great guests on but mainly it’s a phone in show where we talk nonsense. You can hear it by retuning your DAB and looking for talkRADIO, downloading the talkRADIO app or online at www.talkradio.co.uk I’m on weeknights from 10pm and we supposedly finish at 1am but like you say, we sometimes go on a bit longer. It’s a radio first – a fluid ending for the show. If you cant stay up though, please look for the podcasts!