John Gibson: I never even touched her, your honour

John Gibson with John Dankworth and Cleo Lane
John Gibson with John Dankworth and Cleo Lane
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I CONFESS, I confess! I shared a bed with her in Edinburgh’s posh Ann Street but that’s beside the point. I’ve lost count of my assignations with Joan Bakewell, one-time queen of the television presenters. She’s no tart. And I’m no Lothario.

Little wonder our librarian fixed me with a dodgy stare handing me the yellowing cuttings recording the Joan-and-I interviews. Nobody can say how many.

Well, you couldn’t rate it infatuation on my part, verging on the unhealthy. Nonetheless, today one would risk jail for it or, at least, community service.

What brings this on? Dame Joan has leapt on to the bandwagon, saying the was “jumped on” by a Tory Cabinet minister and her knee groped while interviewing someone live on air.

Listen, I never touched her, I swear.

My Cleo lines

Every time John Dankworth and Cleo Laine played Edinburgh we’d pitch a little and putt a lot. We’d meet up on the links at Brunstfield.

That’s my recurring memory of Dame Cleo and she’s bringing it all back to mind.

Then I’d tag along as a groupie to Leith’s Eldorado Ballroom or the Usher Hall or Falkirk Ice Rink where the band – either the Seven or the big band – would be performing.

Great, melodic days during the big band era. The mild-mannered John, a credit to the profession, got a relatively early call.

Cleo, who has just celebrated her 85th, owes it all to her husband who gave her her first job, singing with the Seven.

Someday I’m going to sit right down and write herself a letter.