Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 28

Saturday 28th January 1984

Woke up at 8.00 and watched Godzilla on the portable telly at 8.35. At 9.00 I watched Saturday Superstore and at 10.15 Doug rang so I had to get out of bed to answer. He wanted Gazzie’s address so I gave him it and got dressed. At 10.30 Doug came round and I showed him my Dr Who comic.

At 11.00 Gareth came for us and the first thing we did at his house was play Skramble on the Commodore. Then we went for a walk. We went to the old church and had a stroll through the graveyard. Then Gareth got us all a can of coke and a pack of crisps and we ate them in the bus shelter. Then I rang home on a public phone. We then went to Gareth’s house and had dinner.

We then went off again and met Chris, Gazzie’s pal. We had a snowball fight with two Wallies but they were winning so we scarpered and on the way back I was sick behind a barn. When we came back we all had a game of snooker. 5.00 Came home and played on the videopac and at 6.30 I watched Child’s Play. 7.00 Watched 321 and at 8.00 I watched Les Dawson. 8.30 played on videopac. 9.45 Watched Wogan and at 10.30 I went to bed.

Yay! A day out!

Our mate Gareth ‘Gazzie’ Jones lived in the scenic village of Hilton, four miles away, so when I say ‘Gareth came for us’ what I actually mean is ‘Gareth’s poor Dad was emotionally blackmailed into driving to Yarm on a Saturday morning to pick up his son’s grotty friends and take them back to his beautiful home before repeating the journey six hours later’. Anyway, a couple of little TV titbits to cover first…

Yes, I had a black and white portable TV balanced on the edge of my bedside table. For those concerned that such licentiousness would inevitably lead to my 11-year-old self wilting under a torrent of pornography and what my Auntie Norma would call ‘salty language’, I’d like to point out that a) there was nothing like that on TV in 1984 (and believe me, I looked) and b) the reception on  my black and white portable TV was so bad that you were usually hard pushed to make out ANY actual human form and ANY snippets of language (salty or otherwise) at the best of times. 

Neither of which mattered when watching Godzilla, of course. The 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, not the original Japanese monster movie. Altogether now…


And Saturday Superstore, the sprawling BBC1 sequel to the legendary Multi-Coloured Swapshop. Presented by bespectacled Cliff Richard-obsessed Radio 1 stalwart Mike Read and scrummy Blue Peter graduate Sarah Greene, with Keith Chegwin and John Craven still lurking behind the pastel-shaded sofas. Cracking fun, and the three-hour Saturday morning magazine show is long overdue a comeback. Give Barney Harewood and Kirsten O’Brien the job and I’ll be there like a shot every weekend.

Anyway, Hilton! And a day out with Gareth Jones! Brace yourselves, it’s time for another Special Blog Documentary…

Are you watching these, Alan Whicker?!?!?

I should point out, in the interests of historical accuracy, that the phone box I employed in 1984 was an original, chunky red version – a British design classic sadly all but extinct these days. The nasty new perspex replacement is in the same location though, and something tells me that the receivers on the new models aren’t quite as sturdy as they used to be.

It was brilliant being out and about, and yes… striding around a deserted English village on a cold day, wearing a long parka and accompanied by my two faithful companions, I would undoubtedly – in my mind – have spent the day BEING Doctor Who. Plunging my hands into my coat pockets and looking for time portals in the village hall. When I wasn’t being sick behind a barn, of course.


Good to see a textbook example of the quintessential early 1980s word ‘Wally’! I have no idea where this word came from, but in 1984 its use was so widespread that Brian Sewell was probably shouting it at Francis Bacon.

And yes, Gareth had a snooker table AND a Commodore 64. I’d never been so jealous of anything in my life. Until I found out that Mike Smith was going out with Sarah Greene.


  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

The notion of Sewell calling Bacon a wally is so irresistable that I can actually hear it and see it quite clearly in my head.
For your next video, please arrange for Sir Derek Jacobi to re-enact his celebrated role as Francis Bacon just so that Brian Sewell’s one-word rant can finally be captured for posterity.
This will go some way towards making up for the lack of a behind-the-barn reconstruction that I had been expecting to appear on one of today’s otherwise exemplary clips.
Did any whole crisps come back up?

  Gaz Jones wrote @

Firstly, sorry I couldn’t make it for the trip down memory lane.
The bus shelter was opposite the side entrance to the pub, as was the barn. These were replaced quite a few years ago by the house on the corner of Falcon Walk. I’ll see if I can dig out a few photos to jog those memories.
In those days the pub had a different layout. When you walked in, you were confronted by 3 doors. To the left the bar, to the right the lounge and the door in front led behind the bar. We used to knock on the door and get served. The pub was refurbished when Ken & Margot Helm took over I think, they later went on to own the Bay Horse at Hutton Rudby, which is now managed by their son Kevin and of course Jill.
I could talk for hours about Hilton, the shotgun marriages, the lords of the Manor, Old George, the village disco, playscheme…….. maybe another day.

  bobfischer wrote @

Mr Jones! How lovely to see you round these parts, and you’re the first STAR!!! of my 1984 diary to actually make a personal apperance here.

Yes, let’s have some pictures!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: