Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 62

Friday 2nd March 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.10. First at school I went into Topic group and when I came out I went in for PE. Then I did RE and after that I did some Topic with Frankie. After that I went in for Maths group and at 12.00 I had dinner.

After dinner I played cricket and when we came in I did Maths. At 2.30 Doug’s mam came with K9 but the wheel came off so in assembly at 3.00 We couldn’t wheel him round the hall. At 3.15 I came home and wrote some of the jewel, and at 4.45 I had tea. At 5.5 I watched Grange Hill.

At 5.40 I rang Gazzie to see if he could come on Saturday and he could. At 6.40 I watched Doctor Who, and at 7.00 I watched Give us a clue. At 7.30 I played on the videopac, At 8.05 I watched Sharon and Elsie and at 8.45 I watched Points of view. 9.45 Went to bed.

You can tell where my insatiable lust for the showbiz lifestyle came from, can’t you? TWO assembly appearances in six weeks! (For the first, see Diary Entry Volume 13) No wonder that younger pupils were now queuing up after Hymn Practice and asking me to sign their Pickled Onion Monster Munch packets and Orange Fruitie wrappers.


Two brilliant things that I’d completely forgotten here. Firstly, that K9’s wheel fell off on the way into the hall. It did! We were lifting him over the door frame on the way into the school’s reception and the pale, plastic castor on his front, left hand side dropped off and trundled pathetically into the staff room door before vanishing forever into a cloud of Benson & Hedges smoke. So I spent our glorious assembly appearance with my Start Rite trainer toe resting on his backside to make sure he didn’t topple forward and lurch into a bank of nursery school kids.

(This also reminds me of another strange trait of my Dad’s… when we watched Top of the Pops, every time that an act he thought were rubbish – ie, all of them – appeared, he would warble along tunelessly with the line ‘I had one but the wheel fell off’. Anyone ANY IDEA at all where this came from? Or was it just another Weirddadthing?)

The second thing I’d forgotten was that we actually HAD school assemblies last thing in the afternoon sometimes. Now that I’ve read this diary entry a tidal wave of memories of late school assemblies has flooded back into my mind… of singing ‘Cross Over The Road’ on dark December afternoons, as the sun set through the red and black curtains, safe in the knowledge that in 20 minutes time I’d be banging a football around the side garden and counting down to fishfingers for tea. Aaaah.

Anyway, Doug and I mumbled our way through an onstage interview with the amazingly hairy Mr Chalkley, telling him that we’d taken ‘about six weeks’ to make K9, and that yes, we were both big Doctor Who fans. And then he made an entirely laudable attempt to illuminate our school lives with a bit of Proper Learning.

‘Of course,’ he pontificated, ‘We all know K9 from Doctor Who, but can anyone tell me why he’s actually called K9?’


What Happened Next (as David Coleman used to say on A Question Of Sport, but I’ve no idea if Sue Barker still does it) was hilarious in retrospect, but it’s documented fully in Chapter One of ‘Wiffle Lever To Full!’, so I’m going to leave this as an utterly shameless advert for the book. I know, I know, but most of you have read it anyway, so just have a look at Page 33 to remind yourselves…

Another cracking night of vintage 1984 TV. Doctor Who was – of course – Part Four of Planet of Fire, with the Doctor seemingly vanquishing The Master forever, Peter Wyngarde wandering around with a tea-towel on his head, and Mark ‘Turlough’ Strickson exiting the TARDIS wearing the tightest pair of shorts since Tony Galvin’s (ahem) impressive display in the 1982 FA Cup Final.


Give Us A Clue was, of course, the charades-based light entertainment behemoth with Michael Parkinson, Una Stubbs and – of course – Lionel Blair regularly ‘knocking off Twelve Angry Men in under two minutes’ (with thanks to Humphrey Lyttleton). In 1984, it looked like this…

And, aaah… Sharon And Elsie. An ultra-traditional BBC1 sitcom with Brigit ‘Thelma Dearest’ Forsyth as snobby Elsie, the (gasp) female boss of a printing firm, constantly undermined by common-as-muck new secretary Sharon. Also starring Give Us A Clue regular John Junkin and former Butterflies smoothie Bruce ‘Marry me, Mrs Parkinson’ Montague.

I loved it, but then I love all British sitcoms like slightly wayward brothers and sisters. Even Bottle Boys, and it’s worth hanging around here until September to get the full lowdown on that.


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