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Thursday, September 17, 2009

‘Mr. Nasty’ is alive and well in America

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
John Forrest today

LAKE FOREST, CA (ANS) -- Back in the 1970s, John Forrest, a Christian friend of mine, invented a lively radio character called “Mr. Nasty” and he would take on the kids of British capital with his own brand of argumentation.

He would start his show on a LBC, a commercial radio station in London, with a crazy statement like, “The sun is cold,” and then argue with the young callers and when they gave their names, he would say something like, “Oooh, what a terrible name. how could you bear to have a name like that!”

John Forrest
as Mr. Nasty
He told my ANS colleague, Michael Ireland in an interview, “Mr. Nasty, is (not was) because he’s still alive and you’re talking to him now, the world’s greatest arguer. Because it was a children’s program, children were invited to telephone as you do in a phone-in, and argue with Mr. Nasty and see if they could beat his argument. But actually, they never could beat him, because he’s the world’s best arguer. So how could you beat the world’s best?”

What did they argue about?

“Well,” he told Ireland, “some very intelligent issues, really nearly all based on forms of logic. I once argued that fridges are actually hot inside, they only go cold when you open the door, in the same way that water is actually only wet on the top and is actually dry underneath. That one way of solving all the traffic problems is to take traffic off the road and for cars to drive on the pavement (sidewalk). When you drive in America, you drive on the wrong side of the road anyway, so there’s no point in arguing with it. Those are the sort of arguments.”

Did anybody ever stump Mr. Nasty?

“No,” he said, “because he shouted too much and his arguments were the greatest. I have a T-shirt still that proves it. Anyway, that started on the radio on Saturday and originally we were just going to do it for a couple of weeks, but it was very successful straight away. This was back in 1973. It was enormously successful. We got loads of calls – jammed the switchboard very quickly, and it was really good fun. What made it fun was the kids of course, because they are very inventive and it was great fun to listen to.”

Forrest left LBC after about two years to get another job, but Mr. Nasty was such good fun that he carried on doing it.

“And although I went on into commercial television as a researcher I used to go back once a month on Saturday mornings to carry on being Mr. Nasty,” he told Ireland. “Which was quite interesting. After about four or five years doing that, in 1979 I was auditioned for a TV program as Mr. Nasty and did a season of that on commercial television for Granada (ITV). It was a Saturday morning kids’ show called ‘The Fun Factory.’ Mr. Nasty was on that as a regular character, just for a summer season. It was my first big TV show. But I wasn’t the only one having their first big TV show because there was another person having their first big break and that was Jeremy Beadle. He carried on and is still a TV presenter. I’m not! But Mr. Nasty lives on.”

The reason I mention Mr. Nasty is that there are scores of them now on American talk radio and some of the Cable TV shows. They attack everything they don’t agree with that makes me wonder what has happened to civil discourse has gone in this country.

I often despair when I tune into these programs here and wonder what on earth is going on. Are the listeners and viewers actually believing all they are told?

I would love it if one day, those hosts that spew our such hatred could take a leaf out of the book of the British Mr. Nasty and have some fun. Or is that asking too much?

Dan Wooding, 68, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 46 years. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC., and now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California and which is also carried on the Calvary Radio Network throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on UCB UK and Calvary Chapel Radio UK. Wooding is the author of some 43 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, go to . E-mail: Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, also recently released “God’s Ambassadors in Japan” which is available at

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