Today I bring you one of those tracks: a gobsmacking, jaw-dropping foray into the world of disco by none other than the late ITN newscaster Reginald ‘Reggie’ Bosanquet, himself forever immortalised in song by Pamela Stephenson on the great late 70’s/early 80’s BBC comedy series Not the Nine O’clock News. Released on Pye records in 1980 (a year after NTNOCN’s Oh Bosanquet) Dance With Me, backed with Newsletter, is utterly awful. Bosanquet slurs his way through the lyrics (such as they are), the seemingly sozzled newscaster trying his damnedest to lure lovely ladies into his very own disco hell. Intoxicating stuff.
Reggie, the son of the cricketer Bernard Bosanquet, inventor of the "googly", was on the staff of ITN from its earliest days, becoming head anchor in 1974, when Alastair Burnet left to join the BBC's current affairs show Panorama. But he was not without his critics: at times he struggled with unfamiliar words, and his trademark slurred delivery led to suspicions that he was a heavy drinker. There are many stories circulating about Reggie wandering around the halls of ITN with a glass (or two) of wine, or something stronger, in his hands, stories which led to such nicknames as Reginald Beaujolais and Reginald Boozalot. However, many of these stories are apocryphal: his co-anchor (and national treasure) Sir Trevor Macdonald was branded a liar by colleagues in 2008 for stating that Reggie “had to be dragged out (from a bar across the street from the ITN studios) at five minutes to 10 and persuaded to sit down”.
Remembered chiefly these days as much for his terrible toupee as his reputation as a drinker and womaniser, Reggie was one of the most recognisable faces on British TV during the 1970s. It was his retirement from ITN’s flagship News at 10 in 1979 which prompted the NTNOCN team to immortalise him in song. Shame that a year later he was persuaded to ‘perform’ what was to become his own musical epitaph.
Sadly, he died of pancreatic cancer just four years after his one brief sojourn into the disco field, aged just 51. It has been suggested since his death that he suffered from epilepsy, which may account for his less-than-erudite delivery. Oh Reggie, you know something? All news is bad news since you went away….