Ben Miller: I caught fire while filming a comedy sketch | But John Noakes saved me!

Ben Miller: I caught fire while filming a comedy sketch

But John Noakes saved me!

comedycomedyBen Miller has told how he once got set alight when filming a comedy sketch with Alexander Armstrong.

And it was only his memory of advice given by Blue Peter legend John Noakes that saved him from serious injury.

Speaking to Kate Thornton on her White Wine Question Time podcast, the actor and comic explained: ‘We were doing that joke, you know, when there's an explosion, and then when the smoke clears your face is all covered in soot and you wipe your eyes and you can just see like a white bit around your eyes. 

‘That was the joke that Alexander Armstrong and I were doing when  that accident happened. 

‘The way they do it is to have a pyrotechnic, a little flash that goes off, and then they pump in the smoke. 

‘But to get the timing right, they'd pump the smoke first and then do the flash. What they didn't realise was that the smoke was flammable, so they did the pyrotechnic flash and the smoke caught alight, and basically a jet of flame went right right over the pair of us. 

‘I was wearing extremely flammable clothes… some very nylon clothes which then melted. My trousers melted and stuck to my skin. It was quite uncomfortable.’

Luckily, Miller remembered a segment Noakes did on Blue Peter, when he showed how, should you find yourself on fire, you could extinguish flames by rolling yourself up in a carpet.

There was a bed on set, so he did the same with a duvet ‘in a homage’ to the kids TV presenter, he told the podcast

Miller admitted he ‘had a bit of a thing about’ Noakes his whole life, with his first Edinburgh Fringe show, back in 1992, being called Gone With Noakes which was all about that obsession.

‘ I mean, that man has no fear,’ he told Thornton. ‘For Blue Peter he would climb the most ridiculously high buildings with no ropes, no safety harness, no nothing. He climbed to the top of Nelson's Column. He also did a like 10,000 foot skydive as well. He's extraordinary.

‘I  went to meet him. I tracked him down when I was doing my show. He had retired and he was living in Majorca.’

Published: 2 Apr 2024

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.