Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 39

Wednesday 8th February 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.00. The first thing I did at school was do some Topic work on Spanish and Indian houses. When I had done that I showed Ozzie the Guardian and we went into the library and we started to write the flowchart for Ice world adventure.

At 12.00 I had dinner and after dinner we had assembly, Then me and Doug went in for Joseph and when we came out I started a maths sheet. At 3.15 I came home and wrote some of the Guardian. At 4.15 I went on the front Gardan and played football. At 4.45 I had tea and at 5.10 I watched Think of a number.

At 5.40 I wrote some of the Guardian, then at 6.50 I watched a new Doctor Who adventure with the Daleks in it. At 7.35 me and dad played chess. At 9.00 I watched Minder and at 10.00 I went to bed.

‘Spanish and Indian houses’! Brilliant. The ‘houses around the world’ topic definitely came up at least once every six months, and I think the Indian ones required us to draw the traditional ‘house on stilts’ to ‘keep the creepy crawlies out’ (because, obviously, spiders aren’t able to crawl up stilts… although do stilt houses have greased stilts? That’s only just struck me… )


Anyway, whenever Mr Millward mentioned ‘Indian houses’ to us excitable 11-year-olds, he would also have to include the weary disclaimer ‘…and I don’t mean wigwams or teepees’ because otherwise we’d just race away and draw endless pictures of Chief Sitting Bull flinging arrows at ‘General Custard’ while making that strange, probably-slightly-offensive ‘whooping’ noise by flapping our hands over our mouths and dancing around in circles.  

Good to see ‘Joseph’ cracking on apace… this was, lest we forget, the school production of Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, scheduled for the summer but now firmly into the pre-production stage. Yikes!


Participation was (in theory) optional, however any of us that shambled into the hall for one of these loose sing-a-longs (warbling ‘Any Dream Will Do’, each in our own key, naturally – mine being H minor) were considered to be IRREVOCABLY part of the cast and/or choir.  Dropping out was NOT an option.

It’s worth bearing this in mind because – brace yourselves – this was the final rehearsal I attended. I hated it. Hated the music, the lyrics and the story… and the prospect of getting up onstage in front of my friends, their parents, my parents and beardy Mr Chalkley to sing ‘Close Every Door To Me’ while wearing a floral bedspread and a tea-towel filled me with utter dread.

So I discreetly didn’t attend any more rehearsals after this, and it didn’t go unnoticed… little teaser for future diary entries, there…

Alright, let’s get a bit Doctor Who-ey. As any fan worth his Metebelis 3 Blue Crystal will tell you, tonight’s episode was Part One of Resurrection Of The Daleks – the first Dalek story for almost five years (unless you count the 30-second Dalek cameo in ‘The Five Doctors’, the 25th anniversary special broadcast in November 1983… but trust me, you don’t. Fans that do are pariahs even in fan circles, and get left in the corner at conventions, playing with Dapol action figures on pub tables and muttering ‘there should have been another way…’ to themselves)


Anyway, there’d definitely been a frisson of excitement at school all day about the reappearance of the Daleks, fulled by a few little snippets in the Radio Times, and this first episode was indeed brilliant, featuring lots of Daleks (well, at least four of them, shot from different angles) exterminating slightly over-enthusiastic extras (‘aaaaaaaaah! Gggghhhh! Hnnnnnghhh! NHHHHHF!’ Yes, you’re dead, we get the picture) and being blown up themselves. And, for a bonus, the cast included Play School presenter Chloe Ashcroft and former Likely Lad Rodney Bewes. Yay!


You’ll notice (of course) that this episode of Doctor Who was broadcast on a Wednesday night instead of the usual Thursday or Friday, and that it appears to last for 45 MINUTES! A format that (ahem) clearly doesn’t suit the programme at all. Fantastically, this was all down to BBC1’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo! Yes, because Thursday and Friday’s schedules were dominated by coverage of ice-related arsing about in the Eastern Bloc, the first two episodes of Resurrection of the Daleks were shown back-to-back on this marvellous, heavenly Wednesday night. Ah, bless you Torvill and Dean (and more of them in future entries).

I was clearly so excited afterwards that I had to burn off all that excess energy by, erm… playing chess for an hour and a half. Still, it’s almost certain that, probably around 8.30pm when I was getting hammered, my bishop started roaming around the board chanting ‘exterminate’ and trying to vanquish my Dad’s pawns in a most unseemly fashion…


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