Ple's sayonara to 'Saranair', 'I just play a bully now', Lakorn lateness

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Ple

Actor Willy McIntosh has apologised to a comedian friend for telling him abruptly that he was being dropped from their long-running TV show.

‘Saranair’ presenters Kiatisak ‘Sena Hoy’ Udomnak, Willy McIntosh and Nakorn ‘Ple’ Silachai.

Willy went before the media last week after co-presenter Nakorn ''Ple'' Silachai complained on Facebook that he had been dropped from the popular Saranair reality TV/comedy show with little notice.

Willy, Ple and co-presenter Kiatisak ''Sena Hoy'' Udomnak have presented the show together for 15 years. Ple sold his shares in the trio's production company last year, to spend more time with his family. However, he carried on with his presenting duties, until Willy told him last week that his services would no longer be needed.

''I barely had time to compose myself, to say a farewell to fans or the crew,'' Ple complained on his Facebook page. ''I never thought this day would actually arrive.''

Willy went before reporters on Wednesday to apologise for the abrupt parting.

''I've known that we were changing the format and looking for a new co-presenter for two weeks. But because we are close and have made the show together for so long, I couldn't find the right words to tell him,'' he said.

He finally told Ple on Monday that he would no longer be needed as a regular presenter, though he could still make appearances on a casual basis.

''I told him we would no longer need to bother him for his services anymore,'' he said.

Willy said if he had told him earlier, their final show together would have come across as a sad affair, which would not suit their new teenage target market. ''But I knew I couldn't do it over the phone, it would have to be face to face.''

When Ple sold his shares last year, he agreed to stay on until the cast and crew was able to adjust. Willy said the production company had decided to change the show's format, to appeal to younger viewers. The show, which has spun off a couple of popular feature films, airs on Sunday afternoons on Channel 5.

Now that the company was in the process of searching for a new co-presenter, he decided to tell Ple he would be moved aside.

The revamp was put to Channel 5 as part of a programming schedule change.

''I feel sorry about what has happened. In fact the whole cast and crew feel sad,'' Willy said. ''If had known this would turn into such a big deal, I would have put my own name forward [to be axed].

''In one sense I think we are all getting too old to be carrying on and playing pranks in front of the camera. It's almost time for younger people to take over, though it's hard to accomplish. However, now I'm changing my mind: Don't touch Saranair,'' he said.

Tao a sweet guy despite chocolate ad

Convicted actor Somchai ''Tao'' Kemklat says he is unworried that a new advertisement in which he appears as a bullyboy only cements his image as a troubled soul.

The advertisement for an energy chocolate bar depicts Tao as a cheerleader who refuses to hold aloft his sign because he is angry.

Somchai ‘Tao’ Kemklat.

''I quit, I quit,'' he tells the producer, who is trying to film a sequence in which everyone holds up his board in unison. ''You have a problem with that?'' he hollers, as he makes his way down the squad, yanking signs from his fellow cheerleaders.

A member of the production crew asks Tao if he is hungry, and hands him a chocolate bar.

''Does that feel better?'' he asks.

Tao transforms into an eager young person, and proclaims he is ready to carry on with the shoot.

The ad has given rise to the phrase ''Don't do a Tao,'' (Ya tam Tao), which Tao says has caught on with young viewers.

''I walk down the street, and teens joke with me, 'Ya tam Tao,''' he told reporters recently.

''But I'm not worried. It's just work. In reality, I'm not like that,'' Tao said, referring to his reputation as a bad boy in the industry.

Tao has been in trouble with the law for a string of assaults. Last year, in his most recent spot of bother, the Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal against an assault conviction after Tao attacked Lampang grocery store owner Wirachart ''Kota'' Densirikhun at a noodle shop. As punishment, he spent 15 days working a vegetable garden at a Lampang detention centre.

A few months after the January, 2009, assault charge was laid, Tao married magazine marketing executive Athamart ''Yui'' Attsawawimol, and moved to Bangkok. The couple now have two children.

Tao, who is relaunching his career as an actor, said he was not ashamed of his past.

''I don't see why I should have to keep my past hidden, as the past is history. I'm not worried people will see me in a negative light.

''I've never been unhappy or disappointed about my past. I believe everything that has entered my life has been good,'' he said.

''We move through many phases in our lives,'' he said. ''I'm not worried about what my kids will think, as I raise them in the normal way.

''The chocolate bar company tells me their product is now top of the market. I'm pleased to have done my bit to make that happen,'' he said.

Stop holding up the show

A production house head says she is delighted with the prompt response to a strongly worded Facebook message she left criticising performers who have divided loyalties to the industry.

Kantana production house head Jitlada ''Tukta'' Disayanan took a poke at performers who turn up late for soap opera shoots because they have taken on work elsewhere.

She said that in her experience, actors and actresses who put their own needs first rarely last the distance.

''I'm bored with dara [stars] who don't know their own duties. They spend time which they should devote to lakorn taking on outside work instead,'' Ms Jitlada said in her spirited Facebook message, without naming names.

''Their managers rush to take on work on their behalf because they stand to get a percentage. They are no better than ticks, feeding off actors for their own gain,'' she said.

Ms Jitlada said if performers accept work on a lakorn, they must make time for filming. If your scene is still waiting to be shot, you have no right to accept work elsewhere.

''Everyone who turns up on set wants his or her scenes shot first. It seems you do not have the frame of mind to be actors. You think it's all so easy, and can just flounce off when you are done.

''But the crew can only film one scene at a time, and its hard when actors who have agreed to turn up at 11am come in at 2pm instead. We try to shoot a lakorn as fast as we can, but when I come across dara who are this selfish I can only despair,'' she said.

Asked later in the week who she had in mind, Ms Jitlada said the actor concerned turned up late at weekends, because he was tied up making a game show on television.

Contacted again a day later, Ms Jitlada said she had since heard from a handful of dara and managers, worried that she might be referring to them. Among them was the actor in her sights, thought to be Wongsakorn ''New'' Poramathakorn, who had apologised for his errant behaviour.

She said she was impressed by his willingness to admit to wrongdoing, though the problem was a long-standing one involving many dara. It was not confined to this particular actor.

''I'm delighted he came forward so promptly, though I suspect his manager will need more time,'' she said.

In future, actors who wanted to accept outside work would need written permission.

''It's raining at the moment so the film units of various soaps which we are making just have to wait it out. I called them and they told me they were not getting much work done.

''However, I was angry when I discovered that it's not just the rain that is holding up production. Some performers are making the problem worse by turning up late,'' she said, explaining what prompted her message.

Thais who responded to her Facebook comments say they stopped supporting the industry some time ago, as celebrities disgraced themselves in public with drink-driving convictions and tax dodge scandals.

''Some performers can't act to save themselves but perform in soaps simply to give themselves exposure. They get more work as product presenters and by appearing at industry events,'' said another.

About the author

Writer: Mae Moo
Position: Reporter