TV channel ITV started off 2017 with a new show called “Dance Dance Dance”, which showcases celebrities recreating some of the most iconic pop videos and dance movie sequences. To co-present this, new face Will Best moved away from youth TV and music events, such as iTunes and Red Bull festivals, and introduced his witty sense of humour – perfect to present entertainment TV – to a broader audience. Exclusively for Fucking Young!, Will describes his life and how he got to present for one of the UK’s leading TV channels.
Hello Will. Could we start with some background information about you?
I was born in Fulham, London – a 10-minute walk from Stanford Bridge. My family moved up to Yorkshire when I was about 5 and so I grew in the countryside. I was very lucky I had a very rural childhood; I used to ride ponies. I went away to school in the Midlands – that’s why I have a Northern accent, while my whole family is from the South. I went to university in Manchester and that’s where I got into music. Then I moved to London.
Which city would you say is your favourite?
I genuinely think London is the best city in the world. I have been lucky because I have been able to travel a lot with work, but I think London is the best – there is no other city that is as varied and feels so modern with so much history. If you know New York well, every area has its own unique characteristics but it can feel quite homogenous. Los Angeles has its variations but it’s spread out; you’ve got Venice beach where the lifestyle is very different from Downtown LA, very different from West Hollywood and very different from Silverlake – they are all so far apart. Whereas in London you can walk for ten minutes and it’s like you are in a different city. I’ve lived in Broadway Market for eight years and it’s the best; it’s the best bit in the best city of the world.
Can you describe the path that led you to become a TV presenter?
It was quite random. I used to work in advertising and I was really, really bad at it and I just blagged my way into this job that I was totally unqualified for. The people there are some of the most wicked people I met; one of my best friends I met there. It was a really good job; a job a lot of people wanted. But I couldn’t imagine doing it for very long, so that immediately meant that my heart wasn’t completely into it and if you are not totally into something, it’s hard to be good at it. In TV you do jobs where everybody is very talented and working really hard and trying to create an amazing thing but at the end of the day everybody is aware that we are just making TV; you hear people say “it’s just TV” – which doesn’t mean they are not trying, they just understand the perspectives. Whereas in the other job I felt a little bit like people genuinely believed that what they were doing was the most important thing anyone could do with their time. I could not buy into that. The motto in the agency I worked at was “Embrace chaos” so I went in there like “Hey, I’m chaotic guys!” I was doomed from the start. All I was really interested in was music and comedy, yet I am not a musician, nor a comedian. I thought if I could get a job presenting a show like T4, then I would be working with comedy writers, I would be interviewing bands and if I could get in front of the camera then it would just open doors to do other stuff I wanted to do. I thought I would give myself a year and then got really lucky that I was able to do it. Right place, right time.
Do you have any defining moments?
My first TV gig was for MTV. MTV launched this channel called VIVA, which was their free view channel, and they were doing a hunt for the new face of this channel. For me, it was just luck. They had already done all these auditions and whittled it down to like a smaller group. My agent, who must have been mates with someone at MTV, got me an audition and I ended up in the final three. I think it was because I had the right haircut; I had quite floppy long hair and I think they were looking for somebody like “boy-next-door” or that you can take home to meet your mum. I don’t think anyone had turned up with the right haircut until me with my floppy hair! Right place, right time, right haircut.
What is it like working for ITV?
It’s really good. Again, I was just lucky; you forget how much luck plays a part. Normally the route to a show on ITV would be to do stuff online, then a spin off show and then you would work your way up. I was just lucky I went straight into “Dance, Dance, Dance” because I had never done anything for ITV before.
How did you get into “Dance Dance Dance” then?
Networking? A mate I had worked with before became a producer. Also, I think they wanted someone new, someone who is not a known face on the channel. When I started in TV, people would do MTV, T4, Freshly Squeezed – there were a collection of shows that were almost like “presenting training”. But they all got cancelled within about two weeks. Youth music TV died because of the internet and I guess there aren’t as many younger faces as there used to be. I think it was just timing. I have done a lot of live presenting and interviews after working in TV for 5 years. I guess it was just that I had done the training so they thought, “let’s give this guy a go”.
Are you a bit of a dancer yourself?
No. When I first started going clubbing, I would go to Drum and Bass raves and think I was pretty good. When I got back from Ibiza after the first time I went, I thought, “next summer I am going to move to Ibiza and be a podium dancer”. Luckily I didn’t do that and I don’t think I am as good as I thought I was. Now I can only do comedy stuff. That’s because as I am getting older I am getting more self-conscious and basically morphing into my dad, I guess.
Do you have a favourite band or DJ?
All sorts. Obscure people. I dj myself; a friend and I do a night called “ReviveHer” – we launched a record label – and I would say my favourite DJ is a guy called Young Marco because he did a remix of our first release. My favourite artist is Sultan Shakes because he did the original track of our release. He is a friend of mine, very talented, who deserves to be bigger than he currently is.
What would be your dream TV show to present?
It’s difficult because I like the process of making big shows; Dance Dance Dance was so much fun to make. It’s fun to be part of the biggest thing that’s happening on mainstream TV. I would love to host The Voice, The Xfactor or something. What I like most about my job is interviewing people in a silly way. I think I would like to have my own chat show, one where everyone gets pissed, where you can swear and people would say wildly inappropriate things but that can also be quite insightful.
Being on TV all the time, you must take care of your appearance?
Not as much as I should be. I often get in trouble for being too scruffy or pulling strange faces.
Do you have any tips to look good on TV?
My main tip would be, don’t bother caring, as long as you don’t watch it back. A better advice would be that the most important thing is to wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. If you are presenting a TV show, I personally think the most important thing is to act natural because when you are interviewing somebody, you want people to feel like they are watching someone chatting to a friend. It’s important to look as good as you can, but it’s more important to be totally relaxed. I wear whatever I feel good in. If you are doing a good job at hosting then people will just be engaged in the content and not obsess about your hair.
How would you define your personal style?
Black; I tend to wear a lot of black because I feel more comfortable wearing muted colours. Black Casual.
Do you have any favourite designers?
The brand I wear the most is Cos. For more high end outfits my favourite at the moment is Ami.
What are your plans after Dance Dance Dance?
Get dance lessons! I am working on some other show ideas and I always like to have projects outside of TV as well. Hopefully some more programmes for ITV. A show about art called “The Art Show”. I am busy.
As a last question, according to you what is really Fucking Young!?
Not being self-conscious. When I was fucking young, I used to wear the most mental clothes and when I was at uni or travelling, I didn’t give a shit and was cooler for it because I would wear bizarre clothes and not care. Also, I think it’s not being self-aware. People become more and more self-aware and that’s when people become boring. Experimenting. Now, you conform to your own notion of how you behave whereas when you are fucking young you don’t and you can be different every day and it doesn’t matter.