Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 12

Thursday 12th January 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.00. 8.30 Went out to get the school bus and got to school at 8.45. Went inside at 9.00 and we had to pick a headline and write a story about it. I picked ‘the danger zone’ and all morning I wrote a story about two space robbers boarding a deserted black ship and finding themselves trapped in the danger zone.

12.00 Had dinner. At 1.00 We had to read till 1.45 and after that I did maths. At 2.00 all the boys went out for football. We won 6-2. I scored two goals, Doug scored two goals and Mark Pitfield scored two goals. We came in from football at 3.10 and went home at 3.15.

When I got home I cleaned all the mud off my legs cos I reckon I’m allergic to it. Then I went down to Doug’s and we finished ROB-E. Came back about an hour later and had tea. 6.40 Watched Doctor Who 7.30 Watched Carry On laughing 8.00 Coloured a picture for a competition. 9.00 Went to bed.

I was really becoming quite obsessive about writing at this point in my childhood, and I remember really losing myself in ‘The Danger Zone’ all morning. A year earlier, the stories I wrote would just meander aimlessly – they usually had some sort of rambling Doctor Who theme, so the Doctor would start by landing on the Daleks’ home world Skaro, and then Davros, the Daleks, the Cybermen, The Master, assorted Time Lords and various other obscure figures from the show’s continuity would come and go as the fancy took me. A bit like the average season ending in the current BBC1 series (insert winky thing here… I love it, really)

But now, with the brilliant encouragement of the Levendale teachers, I was actually starting to think about things like plot and characterisation, and I remember deliberately wanting to make ‘The Danger Zone’ very taut and dark. Even if, in retrospect, it was a shameless rip-off of the Doctor Who story ‘Terminus’, broadcast less than a year earlier. Mine didn’t have Liza Goddard in it, though. Or a seven-foot dog with glowing eyes. Or the ‘screaming skull’ (which my Dad, at the time, said reminded him a bit of Adam Faith)

lizagoddard

Great to see a bit of football action! Our school football pitch was really impressive, although at this time of the year (especially given the number of indoor dinnertimes we’d had already this week) it must have been positively Somme-like. With regard to the quantity of mud rather than the senseless loss of young life (although you had to be careful once Mark Pitfield got into his stride).

I was never, ever, ever going to be good enough for the school team, but I did like to throw myself around the pitch shouting, falling over, kicking at passing smaller boys, and – just occasionally – lashing in goals so hard that they bounced through the shrubbery and had to be thrown back from his garden by Mr Strike, our splendidly-quiffed school caretaker, lurking around the hedgerow in a beige overall.

mudgloriousmud

Not sure where the ‘allergic to mud’ bit came from, though! A work of fiction that easily rivals ‘The Danger Zone’ and my avowed desire to carve out a living as a deep-sea diver. I will have been absolutely covered in liquid gunk though, and there were no showers at Levendale Primary School so if you wanted to get cleaned up before you came home then your best bet was to sidle into the foul-smelling ‘Boys’ Bogs’ and hoist your legs into the tiny washbasins one by one, smearing black, grass-encrusted mud around your shins with a trickle of cold water before attempting to wipe off the ensuing mess with a blue paper towel.

Alternatively you could not bother, and just leave it all on until your next bath a week on Tuesday. Or ‘July’ if you were smelly Christopher Herbert.

OK, archive TV buffs – the episode of Doctor Who I watched tonight will, of course, have been Part Three of ‘Warriors Of The Deep’, introducing the legendary Myrka – the world’s first pantomime dinosaur. Played, incidentally, by John Asquith and William Perrie, whose previous TV experience did indeed extend to playing the comedy horse in Rentaghost. (As opposed to the rarely-seen deadly serious, gravitas-laden horse in Rentaghost, obviously. That was played by John Hurt and Sir Ian McKellen)

pantomimehorse

And I’ve no idea about the ‘coloured a picture for a competition’ bit… possibly something in the Evening Gazette, our local paper, but more likely just a handy displacement activity to avoid getting the rest of the mud off my shins before bedtime…

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