With HEAT TV launching yesterday evening, we’ve had a chat with one of its hosts, T4’s Will Best, about his work for the new channel, his current show The Crush and why all presenters should have a wrestling mat close by.
So what can you tell us about HEAT TV?
Heat TV is a new channel which combines the music, gossip and social media. Similarly to the magazine, it will be a great source of source of celebrity entertainment news and pop music on UK TV.
The channel also offers a new style of interactive viewing so the cool thing is that viewers will also be able to comment via Twitter on what’s happening, keeping them up to date with all the top stories of the day.
I’ve also been working on a collaboration between Heat and E4 called Heat4 which has been a live, interactive webshow going out during ad breaks and a longer thing after some big E4 shows .
We did one about Hollyoaks, one about Revenge, which is very good and we’re doing one around Midnight Beast.
So that gave me a taste of what it’s like when Heat does tele and it’s basically what you’d expect. It’s got a really tongue in cheek, funny tone, it’s got a mix of celebrity insight and pop culture, so obviously the web shows were about those other shows, but then you bring in music, live performances and celebrities and stuff. So it’s fun, lots of fun. And some glamour.
Did you ever read Heat before they came knocking?
Yeah, Heat’s kind of like the industry paper almost, y’know Heat’s where you go for all the best gossip, written in the most entertaining way. I’ve always flicked through Heat, it’s one of those things where everywhere I go there seems to be a copy lying around, so I’m generally pretty up to date on my Heat. I like it, it makes me laugh.
You’re currently presenting a show called The Crush, what’s that about?
The Crush is wicked, it’s a really fun show to do. Basically, The Crush is all about music and it’s about seeing artists whose music you hear and whose pictures you see and seeing them in a slightly different light. So we get people on there and we just try and fun with them. Generally by encouraging them to take the mick out of me, that seems to be the general tone. But every month we have a guest presenter on, who’s either a pop star or a big name in another way.
The one that aired last night was me and Amy Childs’ presenting together, so the great thing is that every month the show has a different tone and a different angle because each guest just brings something unique to it. We’ve had Professor Green on who’s very cool and really funny as well, he’s very, very quick witted.
Then there’s Wretch 32 who’s got this insanely dry sense of humour which is really funny throughout the whole thing. Obviously Amy Childs, who’s just this crazy ball of energy, and Amy Childs, no matter what they say, is not stupid in any way. People take the mick out of her a bit, but she is seriously switched on and she was really cool to work with, really nice.
It has the same format, but every month, the show’s going to be totally different. And it gives me a chance to try slightly different tones and keeps me on my toes and coming up with original ways to do things that a vaguely funny.
We film it all in this old abandoned factory space in East London, so we have the performance area, interview area and the acts are just milling around all day and you kind of hang out together and it just like this mini festival in a building every month.
What are the differences to presenting T4 and that?
T4’s great because you’re working with the same people all the time. I know that every time I go in, I’m going to be working with one of the other four presenters, so you know what to expect. But with The Crush, every person’s an unknown quantity; I’d never met Amy Childs until we turned up on the day.
You’re never quite sure if you’re going to get each other’s humour, you might not get on, but every single time I’ve been really lucky that everybody that’s come in has been really good and got on well and everybody’s got that Crush sense of humour and then added a bit too it.
Also, on T4, I’m the new guy, I’ve not even been there for a year, but on The Crush, it’s sort of my show. I am the professional TV presenter, you might not know that by watching me on some of my stuff and the people who come in, the guests are not and I have a bit more freedom and control, and they’ll just follow me, so it’s a bit more fun.
Have you ever had to give any of the guests a few lessons?
That’s thing, not really. People often come in and they’re quite nervous because they’re not used to it but very quickly they relax into it and it’s just about trying to have fun. So when we do interviews, I encourage people to not stick to what’s on the cards, ask what they want to know and it just makes amusing conversation.
A lot of the people we have come out with funny stuff of their own, like Amy comes out with some classic one-liners. She wants you to think it’s unintentionally, but I think she means it all. Everyone’s been really good.
What happens if you get a bad guest?
If someone came in and was all up in my grill? I’d have to assert my authority using my alpha male state, which I exude and I’d try and defeat them in a battle of wits. And if that didn’t work, and they were still taking the mick, I’d probably just have to take them down. Physically. I do quite a lot of wrestling in my spare time, so I’d just pin them down, put them into a choke hold until they realised that it’s my show and I’m not to be messed with. We have a wrestling area, always set up in case we need to sort things out mano-a-mano. (Finally laughs)
What have been your personal highs and lows so far?
I’ve had a lot of highlights, but probably interviewing Rita Ora. Basically Rita Ora’s one of those people who it feels like she’s flirting with you. I interviewed her I and I thought perhaps Rita Ora wants to kiss my face. It’s turned out since then that everyone who interviews her has that feeling, she’s just a very nice girl.
Low light? I had to eat custard with Tabasco sauce, but still probably the first show. We do a section called ViWill, when I’m trying to make a video that goes viral online and for the first one I had to go around London starting impromptu congas. I had this character call Juan Manconga, and I had to go around London in really bad fake tan on, a huge bushy moustache and this frilly shirt that was really open and silky. So I was walking around with this trench coat on, sneaking up behind people, drop the coat in a flourish and then grab them by the waist and just start doing conga music right in their ear. That probably was the lowlight of my entire career because I had people trying kicking me, swearing at me and it was about -15 degrees.
Have you got any tips for budding presenters out there?
The most important thing is, and this might sound a bit dodgy, but don’t decide you want just to be a presenter, because it’s not really a thing. Decide what it is you want to present.
I got into this because I want to be involved in music and comedy, and later in my career I’d like to take the music thing more seriously. I do a bit of DJ-ing, so down the line I’d love to have a show on 6 Music and want to write comedy, so presenting’s a good way to be involved in them.
Maybe you’re really into film, so try and get into presenting stuff to do with that and get your passion for that across. Or maybe its news and current affairs, or it’s pop, whatever it is, find out what kind of a presenter you want to be and what you want to present. Don’t just be like ‘I want to be a presenter’, because that’s not thing.
Secondly, you’ve just got to get out there and do it. I used to be in advertising and I hated it. One day I just thought ‘I can’t handle an entire career in this’. I was the account manager for Nike, and I just couldn’t do it anymore, so I quit my job and just devoted sixth months interviewing unsigned bands for no money while working in an Abercrombie and Fitch shop in my spare time and doing freelance work here and there.
I just got out there, got hold of a camera and just did it, and then I had something to show to get an agent. If you don’t devote all of your time to it, it’s not going to happen.
You’ve clearly got a passion for music, have you ever tried making it?
Well, this is going to sound ridiculous, but I used to do quite a lot of rapping. I’m very middle class but I used to rap and work with MCs in Birmingham and Manchester, did a few gigs and now, I’ve got a friend who’s a producer of electronic music and I write lyrics for him. So I do dabble in those sort of things, but more as a writer or words than a creator of music.
Oh, but I used to play the bassoon when I was 12! You’ve got start on the bassoon because otherwise, what’s the point? Although oboes are pretty good too.
Will can be seen on HEAT TV, and The Crush is on 4Music with the next episode out Wednesday 11th July.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith