Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 5

Thursday 5th January 1984

Woke up at 9.05. At 10.30 I got up and played on the Videopac until 11.00, when I rang Doug to see if I could go down to his house and he said I could. At 11.05 I walked down to Doug’s and met him half-way. At Doug’s we looked for some wheels but couldn’t find any so we went over the road to the old school where there is like a miniature rubbish dump. We didn’t find any wheels there either, but we did find a good lump of wood that we said we could use later.

We went back to Doug’s but found we needed a hole drilling in a lump of wood so we came back to my house, played on the videopac and had dinner. After dinner we climbed up the tree that dad had chopped down earlier. When we came in, Doug’s mam rang to see if we would like to go to stockton, so we went but didn’t find any parts for the robot.

Arrived back in Yarm at 3.30 and we went to my house and played on the videopac till 4.30 when Doug went home. 4.40 Watched Fonz and the happy days gang, 5.00 Played on videopac 6.40 Watched Dr Who 7.05 Played on videopac 8.10 Watched Top of the pops 9.00 Dismantled two old badges and made new ones and at 9.50 I went to bed.

Get the bunting up, my first mention of Doctor Who!

The episode I watched would have been Part One of ‘Warriors Of The Deep’. The start of the new series, it saw Peter Davison’s Doctor (ably assisted by stroppy Australian air hostess Tegan and shifty ginger alien schoolboy Turlough) arriving at a secret underwater nuclear missile base in the year 2084. I knew from reading Doctor Who Magazine that this episode would see the return of the both The Silurians and the Sea Devils, and as it was over ten years since they last appeared, it was the first time I’d seen either of them. 

Here’s a little still of them both in (ahem) action…


I remember paying particular attention to this episode as a) Doug was away at his Gran’s for the night, and wouldn’t be able to watch it, so had asked me to act it out for him when we next saw each other. It’s worth pointing out at this stage that neither of our families owned video recorders, so unless we watched our favourite TV shows at the time, chances are we’d never see them again! And you try telling that to the kids today…

Oh, and b) My Dad was in the front room trying to distract me with his usual tirade of sarcastic comments. ‘That’s not Doctor Who, that’s that soppy bloody vet. He should see how the Sea Devils like it with a hand up their jacksies’ and so on.

They should get him on the DVD commentaries, he’d be a laugh riot. Except, of course, he doesn’t like DVDs because ‘when you take the buggers out of the machine, they don’t stay in the same bloody place like video tapes do’.

You’ll notice he tried to demolish a bit more of the garden on this day. When I say he chopped down a tree, I don’t mean a little dinky lilac tree or an overgrown shrub – I’m talking a 100-foot thing that he hacked at with a chainsaw for 20 minutes before pushing it over, sending assorted birds, dogs and children scattering in all directions. He’s a very practical and motivated man who spent most of his working life in the building trade, and I would frequently return home to find slightly more or fewer rooms in the house than there had been when I left for school in the morning.

Anyway, a few little bits…

– The wheels we were looking for were little castor-type things to put on the underside of ROB-E the robot so we could trundle him along. It isn’t a euphymism for an Alfa Romeo Spyder or anything.

– You’ll notice more pilfering from the ‘miniature rubbish tip’ over the road. Recycling? We invented it.

– ‘Fonz And The Happy Days Gang’ – a cartoon version of Happy Days for kids, I think? In fact, yes… here you go…


And Top Of The Pops! Hooray. I don’t know which bands were on that day, but this fantastic BBC site…


…gives you details of the presenters of every single edition, so we know it was Kid Jensen and John Peel on duty that day! Wonder what Peel made of the No. 1 single that night…



  AJ Garrett wrote @

I’ve got some 1970s Marvel comics and they’ve always got ads for the ‘Saturday Morning cartoons’, including one in which the Fonz and that dod-fonz and the gang go back in a time machine to cave-man times.

  bobfischer wrote @


Just done a bit of rooting around, and the show seemed to have a bit of a sci-fi bent. The Happy Days gang were indeed trapped in a time machine and journeying around the centuries trying to get back to 1957!


The British equivalent would have been Dad’s Army On Neptune. I’d have paid good money to watch that.

  illegibleme wrote @

I thought I’d own up too.


  bobfischer wrote @

It’s a retro diary revolution!!! Anybody else?

  manhead wrote @

The old shcool you mentioned…….was it the one in west street that was, suprise suprise, demolished for flatts? Had the coldest out door toilets ever….horrendous. Remember having to walk there and back everyday from layfield estate. happy days…ish.

  bobfischer wrote @

Ah no, it was halfway down Thirsk Road! I think it was the old location of Yarm Primary School, but then they moved slightly further into the estate.

My memories are a bit fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure it was where the Fire Station is now. Not sure if it was still being used as a school in 1984 or if it was empty. Definitely the yard outside it was just full of builder’s rubbish.

Can’t remember the school in West Street at all! Which school was it?

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