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The Day I Went To See Dale Winton’s Pets Win Prizes. No, Really…

I’ve been fortunate to have attended a ton of shows all over the world, from Blondie in Havana, to Bowie at Hanover Grand. From Michael Jackson in Milton Keynes to Madonna at Brixton (and, later, G.A.Y.) and Nina Simone at the Albert Hall. And from Kate Bush at Hammersmith to Diana Ross in Las Vegas, Aretha Franklin in Sioux City and New Order in (hello) Buenos Aires.

Last night I saw a fiery Iggy Pop at Sydney Opera House, venue for an incredible Prince performance just six weeks before he died, and a triumphant if congested Paul Weller gig last year. In fact, in 2018 alone I somehow managed to see 33 concerts in 11 countries on four continents, so going through all my old tickets recently I was so incredibly happy to find this one at the top of the pile….

Yes, I actually attended a taping of Pets Win Prizes, hosted by Dale Winton and Terry Nutkins at BBC Television Centre in White City. Apparently I made some joke about Dale’s hair, which the warm up guy heard and relayed back to him. Ooops.

I guess, as with thirst other legends of daytime telly the Teletubbies and This Morning with Richard and Judy, I did have a bit of a Supermarket Sweep phase. Didn’t everyone? But I’m not sure if I even bothered watching the broadcast of this or any other episode of Pets Win Prizes, to be honest.

On the first anniversary of Dale’s death, yes, OK, I can confirm he once asked me out on a date, mid interview, as I was quizzing him about Dusty Springfield for MOJO magazine (here).

I turned him down, despite what the photo may suggest.* In fact, we kept I’m touch and sort of became occasional phone friends. I interviewed him a second time for a Record Collector feature celebrating Bowie’s 60th birthday, and he was as entertaining as ever, though very obviously a rather lonely type, underneath all the pizazz.

I knew him well enough to believe he did a Maria Callas and essentially willed himself to death. Reading between the lines of this interview conducted less than a year before he died kind of confirms it for me, sadly.

RIP Dale, you funny, troubled man, you. And no, I kept my word, I still haven’t the told the readers you came.

Steve Pafford

*The featured image was actually taken several years later, still at Television Centre but on 24 October 2002 to be exact, after a taping of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, where Dale had been one of the chatsome guests on that lovely black leather sofa, alongside, Debbie Harry, Tom Jones and the Manic Street Preachers. In the green room after taping I was having a drink with a friend, Lance (who, coincidentally, also witnessed Blondie in Cuba last month) and Dale made a beeline for me:

“Oh, hi Steve!”

“How are you, Dale. We never did go out on that date, did we?”

“Oh… there’s still time.”

“I don’t think there is, actually. I’m moving to Holland next week to live with my boyfriend.”

Dale Winton stomps off.

Milking it, milking it…

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