Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 124

Thursday 3rd May 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.10. Got the bus at 8.30. First at school we had to write a story. I wrote one about me and Doug falling down a hole in time and meeting God. I did seven pages for it and at 12.00 I had dinner.

In the afternoon I read till it was maths groups, and we had to write down a list of prices and add them together. When I’d done that I read again, and at 3.15 I came home and typed some of my Fighting Fantasy.

Then I had tea, and at 7.00 I watched Tommorrows world. Then I went out, and at 8.10 I watched Porridge. At 8.45 I watched Benny Hill, and at 9.30 I went to bed*

*Beat yesterday’s record – Only 20 lines today, excluding these two at the bottom. WOW!

Still making my riveting attempt to create the world’s shortest diary entry, you’ll notice. Life is just a headlong roller-coaster of thrills, spills and adventure when you’re eleven, isn’t it?  Get out and meet some girls, you loser! (NB Your Mum doesn’t count)

I remember my story about ‘me and Doug falling down a hole in time and meeting God’ really well. It was, well… basically as I’ve described there. Can you guess which film we’d watched on the big wooden TV in the end classroom recently? Yes, that’s right… Gone With The Wind. No, not really… we had, of course, been shown Time Bandits on one lazy end-of-term day in 1983, and it had clearly lodged in my brain, ripe for future ripping-off.


Even the fact that we’d had to stop watching five minutes from the end when the squeaky end-of-day buzzer went and the Worsall Bus pulled up outside hadn’t deterred me. I was fascinated by holes and portals in time, and – oddly – I had a few shreds of Christian faith about me as well, back in 1984. I’m not sure how this came about, coming as I do from a family of devout and committed church-avoiders, but I was very much a believer in God, and I even used to whisper a little prayer every night before I went to sleep.

I can’t remember it in its entirity, but it generally contained polite requests that I didn’t die in my sleep, and for there not to ever ever ever ever ever be a nuclear war. It usually got a few custom-made additions every night though, depending on what was concerning me at the time… ‘Please Lord, please please please don’t let Mr Hirst notice I haven’t finished my maths’, that kind of thing.  I’d pretty much stopped doing it by the age of about 13, although it resurfaced sporadically during Middlesbrough’s tense promotion battles in 1987 and 1988.


Incidentally, while I was writing my ‘falling down a hole in time’ story, Doug was working on an equally traditional science fiction featuring (cough) me and him battling malignant robots called ‘Ziods’. Although – when he described them – he pronounced it ‘Zoids’. The memory works in a terrifying way… I can remember this utterly useless detail from a meaningless morning 25 years ago, but currently have no idea where I left my wallet and housekeys less than twenty minutes ago.

In another example of scarily pointless recall, I can also tell your that our ‘maths group’ on this day was run by Mrs Mulhearn, and we had to pretend we were working in a corner chop. We were given a list of prices of various items (Wham Bars, Look-In magazine, that kind of thing) and had to work out by hand the final price of the shopping that Mrs Mulhearn amassed in her imaginary wire basket. 


In a fine example of 1980s political incorrectness, cigarettes were amongst the items on the list. I can’t remember how many fictional ciggies Mrs Mulhearn bought from me (probably not as many as Mrs Moore would have taken) but I did get into trouble for referring to them as ‘fags’. And I remember Doug helping me out with the imperial measurements on the list… I was a child of the metric generation, but he’d spent time in old-fashioned Australia in the early 1980s, and knew his way around a quart of Lemon Bon Bons.

And wow, look what I found!!! As far as I can tell, this BBC1 trail actually dates from this very night… certainly the Top Of The Pops line-up matches…

‘We Got It Made’ doesn’t look too bad! And ‘Missing From Home’ looks like a fine slice of 1980s melodrama. That’s Judy Loe, isn’t it? No doubt the following weeks’ ‘Points Of View’ will have been full of praise from plummy-voiced viewers, accepted gleefully by a twinkly-eyed Barry Took.

And what’s the betting ‘Electronic Office’ was presented by Fred Harris?



  Chris Orton wrote @

I’ve just looked up Missing from Home on IMDB – only written by Roger Marshall and directed by Douglas Camfield! I want to see all of this stuff!

  bobfischer wrote @

Yikes! I had no idea. Must have been one of Camfield’s last works, surely?

I’m sure it’ll come out on DVD sooner or later. Probably with several chunks missing out of each episode. 😉

  Rev. Marcus Carcass wrote @

If you whisper a sufficiently sincere prayer I’m sure a DVD release will be forthcoming, my child.
If you whisper two prayers, it won’t be an Acorn release.
Bless you!

  bobfischer wrote @

🙂 I’d buy an Acorn release of Fred Harris’ Electronic Office.

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