Jerry was a Children’s ITV presenter who provided the continuity links, alongside Scally the puppet dog, from 28th March until 22nd December 1989. On the first day that Jeanne Downs took over from him (on 2nd January 1990), they had a mop and a bucket in the studio, and a name tag with “Foulkes” on it. During the links both she and Scally made some amusing comments about it.
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Jerry in April 2018 and he kindly sent some information about his career: “Thank you for having the courtesy to check the details you wish to run. There are a number of errors that seem to appear all over the internet.”
How Did Your Career Begin?
“I graduated from Leicester University in 1983. I had already worked for BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio Norfolk (I grew up in Norwich) while I was a student and presented prime time for BBC Radio Leicester (1982 – 1983) which was aimed at the ‘youth’ audience (a popular demographic for the media back then) and also did fill-in shifts doing the traffic reports for Radio Leicester at breakfast and drive time. This experience helped me get a job as a ‘station assistant’ at BBC Radio Norfolk where I originated an evening show Night Drive.
“During my four years at BBC Radio Norfolk, the student TV channel at the UEA asked me to guest-present a show for them. I sent the tape to MTV who were advertising opportunities for VJs (video jockeys) for MTV Europe which was launching. As a result I was called to London for an audition and then hired for cover while MTV attempted to get work visas for two of their American VJs. The work permits application failed and I was hired by MTV (and then left BBC Radio Norfolk). I was one of the original five VJs for MTV Europe along with Ray Cokes, Marcel Vantilt, Maiken Wexo, Pip Dann with Steve Blame and Chris Salewicz who did the hourly music news. Although very popular in Europe, there was very little cable in the UK during this period and MTV couldn’t be seen in many UK homes. The launch broadcast party was live from Amsterdam. MTV chartered a plane to fly the whole staff there (I sat next to Donny Osmond on the flight) and Elton John and Terence Trent Darby performed live. MTV’s VJ segments were all pre-recorded usually a few days before, and the VJs didn’t get to see any of the videos in the studio; instead the links were recorded back-to-back, so a four-hour shift could be recorded in under an hour. VJs watched the videos when they were released on VHS tapes. I did the breakfast shift from 6am – 10am, but because of the pre-records we never filmed the links at breakfast time. At that time MTV had a set at a studio in Stonebridge Park, Wembley. All the VJs appeared on the same set. Later the studio moved to the former TV-am building in Camden. I’ve attached a photo from the web showing the MTV Europe staff – I’m second from the right in the second row. Marcel Vantilt is holding the clapper board. Robert Maxwell, the disgraced newspaper owner, is in the photo – he and Viacom were the joint owners of MTV Europe. The top arm of the clapperboard is pointing at him.”
How Did You Become a CITV Presenter?
“While at MTV, I also presented a movie review show for The Children’s Channel (a cable network) and this brought me to the attention of Mike Jackson at Stonewall Productions who had just won the first ever contract to produce the continuity links in-vision for Children’s ITV (previously it was done in-house at Central). Scally the puppet dog was a key part of the pitch to win the contract (Children’s BBC had Edd the Duck) and it was designed and operated by Richard Coombes (who also operated puppets for Spitting Image) and also operated by John Eccleston. Sometimes they both operated – in which case Richard did the ‘live’ voice, and sometimes operated solo, so when John was ‘solo’ he did the voice – so Scally actually had ‘two’ voices – both in a Liverpool accent (John Eccleston later became an in-vision presenter in his own right for the Disney Club). I also booked music guests for days when there weren’t guests from other CITV shows (which were always the priority as the job was to promote CITV shows) like Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Lisa Stansfield (there are clips of these on YouTube). Jeanne Downs and Clive Warren were hired to present the summer morning line-up in 1989 and Downs briefly became the afternoon presenter in January 1990. Stonewall Productions lost the contract to do the continuity in April 1990 and it returned in-house. I left Children’s ITV in December 1989 after nine months, when my contract ended. I was invited to the anniversary broadcast (CITV’s 20th Birthday Bash on 3rd January 2003) but was away filming. [Editor’s note: Jerry was briefly mentioned and several clips of him were shown during the show]. CITV was a very brief part of my career, so it’s amusing to me to see it cropping up so often online and on YouTube – especially as I was featured on screen with a puppet dog. If you Google me, it’s one of the first things to turn up.”
Can You Tell Us About Your Production Career?
“My first roles after leaving CITV were as a radio producer – first at BBC World Service for Megamix the weekly youth programme and then at BBC Radio 1 (1991) where I produced lots of the daily and weekend shows (I was the producer who covered for all the other producers when they were away) so worked with Simon Mayo, Paul McKenna, Johnnie Walker, Gary Davies, Bruno (Brookes) and Liz (Kershaw), Mark Goodier (mainly the Top 40) and the Dave Lee Travis (DLT) weekend show (but I was not DLT’s regular producer). DLT did tend to talk about his producers a lot on air (which wasn’t encouraged in those days) and so I did get a lot of mentions on his show when I produced it.
“I left BBC Radio 1 to produce and direct interview films for The Ozone – a spin-off music show from Children’s BBC. It was presented by Toby Anstis, Andi Peters, Zoe Ball and Philippa Forrester. Among the artists I worked with were The Bee Gees (The Ozone took them to play crazy golf with Toby), Paul McCartney (Philippa did the interview), Guns and Roses in Athens (Toby) Michael Hutchence INXS in Rome (Toby) and I also filmed with Take That for one of their first TV performances. Kylie was also a regular guest. While at CBBC, I produced and co-presented a weekly Saturday night show On the Level from Norfolk for BBC Radio 5 Live (the station was actually still called BBC Radio 5 then – its original launch name). It was a mix of music and interviews. My co-presenter was Christina Mackay-Robinson (who devised and operated CBBC’s Edd the Duck). It was also during this period that I was interviewed for That’s Life – because part of my role was to decide which acts would appear on The Ozone, and That’s Life was attempting to launch a singer (just as the BBC’s Big Time had launched Sheena Easton). Simon Cowell was also interviewed in the item. I first met Simon when I was at BBC Radio Leicester when he used to phone me every week and tell me how his act’s records (mainly Sinitta) were selling and why I should play them on my show. Of course, years later Cowell launched many acts via TV talent shows (and he’d obviously been working very hard in the business for a long time by then).
“Time on The Ozone got me on to D Energy a BBC Two music show (presented by Normski) also producing and directing music interview films. After that I started producing and directing the show business items for Good Morning with Anne and Nick. It was after this I joined Channel 4 as editor of Right to Reply (1996) the viewer access show which was one of Channel 4’s first shows and the only one Channel 4 was allowed to produce in-house. My role was to help viewers challenge programme makers about the week’s TV shows. It was one of the very earliest shows to put ‘real people’ on TV (as opposed to today when ‘real people’ are in everything as contributors). As an experiment in the summer of 1997 (while Right to Reply was on summer break), I also produced the late night Night Watch for Channel 4 – a viewer access phone-in show hosted by Pat Kane.
“In 1999, I was offered a job by the BBC as a commissioning editor for daytime and that role later changed to commissioning editor for factual and included the big hits Changing Rooms and Ground Force. In 2003, I joined Talkback and was responsible for many popular factual hits. My first show for them was How Clean Is Your House? (Channel 4) with Kim and Aggie (I also ghost wrote the book that went with the series which sold a million copies, and executive-produced on the US version, also presented by Kim and Aggie, for the Lifetime Channel). Other shows I executive-produced included: Life Laundry (BBC Two); Would Like to Meet (BBC Two); How to Holiday (ITV); Dream Moves (Channel 5) – the first show presented by architect George Clarke. I left Talkback at the beginning of 2006 and joined Objective Productions where I produced Fear of Flying for Channel 4 (chartering a jumbo and spending a weekend helping a large group of phobics overcome their fear of flying before boarding the plane).
“In 2008, I devised and produced Jimmy’s Food Factory (at BBC Scotland) which was a big hit for BBC One and their most successful popular science show. It was Jimmy Doherty’s first show for BBC One in which he recreated the processes used to make the processed food we buy in the supermarket – Jimmy made Corn Flakes, Cola, and sandwich ham by creating makeshift ‘factory’ processes in a barn (it was filmed in Copdock, Suffolk). In 2010, I became the first head of Mentorn Scotland and produced 30 episodes of Cowboy Trap (the second and third series). In 2012, I returned to the BBC and produced series three of Food Factory (after Jimmy went to Channel 4) presented by Stefan Gates with celebrity guests trying to make supermarket versions of popular foods. Esther Rantzen from That’s Life was one of the celebrities, as well as John Torode and Lisa Faulkner (before they were a couple).
“In 2012, Andrea Miller and I started Sunnyside Productions to devise and produce factual TV programmes. Our best-known format is Celebrity Home Secrets for ITV in which celebrities revisit the homes they’ve lived in to remember their life story – guests included actor Nigel Havers, presenter and DJ Craig Charles and choreographer and former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips.”
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Jerry which we found on social media sites or have made available from our own archive. The clips are presented here for additional reference. Inclusion of a video does not constitute an endorsement of the hosting site/channel/user. If you find any broken links below or are aware of an additional clip(s) which you believe may be a useful addition to this profile, please get in touch with us via our Contact page.
PICTURED: Jerry Foulkes. SUPPLIED BY: Online. COPYRIGHT: Unknown.