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CHRISTOPHER PRICE
by GAY BOY RIC
2002-05-08


I was actually working at my computer on an article about Christopher Price, the popular openly gay anchor of BBC America's Liquid News, when I ran across the shocking news online that he had been found dead in his London apartment April 22, from an apparent accidental overdose of painkillers. He was only 34 and was widely considered to be a rising star at the BBC.

Price was a one-of-a-kind talent, known for his unique blending of a solid journalism background with a rapid-fire style of acerbic and witty commentary, which often incorporated a high level of sexual innuendo which he always denied with great deadpan humor. He always referred to Madonna as "42-year-old mother of two," while Halle Berry won her Oscar as "Best Howler." "It's hobbits and whores!" Price enthused, when The Lord of the Rings and Moulin Rouge were top nominees for The British Film Academy Awards. While when Joan Collins got married, Christopher's headline was "The bitch is hitched again." Regarding the reference to British soccer heartthrob David Beckham in the title of the new British film Bend It Like Beckham, for instance, Price joked, "You might think that the title was wishful thinking on the part of 'my people.'"

A consistent highlight of Liquid News was the chemistry between Price and the rogue's gallery of young British comedians, actors and announcers who appeared as guest commentators. Sitting on the banquette beside Price's anchor desk, they often appeared like ragamuffin school kids in the presence of a domineering but affectionate headmaster, and "I can't believe he just said that!" was a common refrain. On a recent show, actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers could be seen giggling to another guest, "Did he just call me 'fetching'?" When guest commentator Richard Bacon began a series of Seinfield-like "I'm not gay!" assertions, Price chided him, "We really don't have time for your sexuality debate." Finishing a report on Liza Minnelli's wedding announcement a few minutes later, he teased Bacon: "As a gay man, you must be very happy." ( "Oh, I'm absolutely over the moon!" Bacon responded in good humor ... "but I'm NOT gay!" ) .

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BBC entertainment reporter Robert Nisbet, a friend, said, "Someone today was asking me to sum up the best moment of Christopher on Liquid News, and I said to them that his best moments were off screen ... he was just a fantastic friend."

Price began his career in 1991 as a BBC reporting trainee and initially had difficulty finding a fit for his sensibility as a traditional news anchor. "I was told that I was too camp for broadcast news ... I could see the point but was quite hurt." He persisted, though, and was given the opportunity to create his own program in May 2000. When Price's reported $363,000 two-year contract for Liquid News made headlines and put him on a par with the network's highest-paid anchors, Price quipped, "I am a fat, bald homosexual...not ideal television material at all."

Price was scheduled to become host of a prime-time Weakest Link-style quiz show, as well as host of Eurovision Song Contest.

Fans posted more than 5,000 tributes to the Liquid News website in the days following his death. When he was once asked what he wanted his epitaph to be, Price replied: "This Was Liquid News, and These Were Tonight's Headlines."

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