THE ever youthful and ever-so-bendy (you’ll know if you’ve watched Strictly Come Dancing!) Angela Rippon is a remarkable woman.

And we do have something in common. Not being remarkable, you understand, but the fact that we both once worked for BBC Spotlight.

And we are both now connected with the wonderful dementia charity Reminiscence Learning, which is based in Wellington.

So when my wife and I travelled to the O2 recently to watch the Strictly Come Dancing live show, it was lovely to be able to catch up with Angela backstage and find out how she was promoting dementia awareness at every opportunity during the concert tour.

Angela is a wonderfully enthusiastic and energetic patron of Reminiscence Learning and she has with her one of our ‘Archie’ mascots.

Archie is a scarecrow, who (in the human form of charity chief executive Fiona Mahoney) visits schools talking to children about dementia. It’s a brilliant idea.

And Angela’s Archie mascot has had his picture taken with the Strictly dancing stars all over the country – in venues from Liverpool to Manchester, from Leeds to London. He’s very well travelled!

Meeting Angela turned out to be quite an experience.

Our conversation was in a “secret room” at the O2, built at the behest of Lady Gaga, when she played there.

Apparently a “special room” to herself was a condition of her appearance.

And quite a room it was too. Padded seats in quite garish colours, shelves stacked with old music CDs from years gone by and pendant lights made from old whiskey, gin and wine bottles.

But then this is Lady Gaga!

It did make me think about other strange requests made by big pop stars, as a condition for appearing anywhere – they’re known as contract riders.

Apparently Justin Timberlake, being extremely health conscious, asks for all backstage doorknobs to be disinfected.

And I’m told Justin Bieber insists on a massage table in his dressing room. I mean, why not?

I’ve bumped into quite a few big stars during more than 25 years of covering the Glastonbury Festival for the BBC – some more helpful than others. 

I’ve never met anyone more miserable than Van Morrison.

One of his security entourage once told us that he was threatening to pull out of his performance if we didn’t put down our cameras!

Festival founder Michael Eavis has confided in me me that he’d had to accommodate some quite strange requests from these celebs down the years.

Shirley Bassey, who famously turned up in one of the many Glastonbury muddy years wearing diamond encrusted Wellington boots, asked for a red leather sofa in her Portakabin.

And the best was violinist Nigel Kennedy, who asked for two air-conditioned units – one for himself and one for his dog!

I used to play in a band once. Our most demanding rider was at the Regal Theatre in Minehead

Please could we ask for help to carry our equipment up a steep flight of stairs to the stage?

It’s an old theatre and there is no lift!

If you wish to contact Clinton, you can email him at