Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 135

Monday 14th May 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.10. Went to school at 8.30, and first it was assembly, then when we came out I did maths all morning till dinner at 12.00. After dinner we played cricket, then when I came in I wrote out an interview with Peter Shilton.

Then we went out for rounders. We won (I scored 2). Came home at 3.15 and typed, then I had tea, and after that I went outside and played with my Chopper. At 8.00 I watched Points of View, and at 8.10 I watched a geedy Two Ronnies. Went to bed at 9.00 (Early night tonight)


I’m delighted by the fact that I’d started drawing pictures of myself in my diary, and even more delighted to discover that, in May 1984, I clearly saw myself as a young Afro-Caribbean boy! And why not? Maybe on that very night, in muggy Kingston, Jamaica, there was another 11-year old lad drawing pictures of himself as a skinny, freckle-infested white kid from Middlesbrough. If so, and you’re reading this, get in touch and we’ll meet up halfway! Which admittedly would be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, so bring your wellies.


I’d like to say that my ‘interview with Peter Shilton’ was conducted with full journalistic rigour, with me calling him up at Southampton’s training ground from the phone in our school secretary’s office* and jotting down notes in fluent, efficient shorthand. But I think what we were actually asked to do was conduct an imaginary interview with a famous sportsman, and concoct their replies using established facts about their lives and a bit of artistic licence. No doubt mine went along the lines of…

Bob: What are your ambitions in life outside football? 

Shilts: I’d like to be the next Doctor Who. Have you seen the story ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’? It’s amazing. The Doctor discovers a time corridor in a warehouse in London, and the Daleks are suffering from…’ etc etc.


(*throughout all my years at Levendale Primary School, our secretary was the brilliant Mrs Metcalfe, who sported a sensational Miss Brahms hairdo. And when I moved schools to Conyers in Summer 1984, she came as well! I think I’ve managed to shake her off now, but sometimes, in the dead of night, I swear I can still hear the clatter of a distant Hermes typewriter…)

Actually I might be being a little bit unfair to Shilts here, as he’d been one of my childhood heroes thanks to his heroics in an England shirt, and my soft spot for his previous club Nottingham Forest. I’d also spotted, driving around Yarm, a white van with the legend ‘PETER SHILTON BUILDING CONTRACTORS’ on the side, and convinced myself that, when he wasn’t turning out for Lawrie McMenemy’s Saints side, he was earning a bit of extra cash on the side with some plastering and bricklaying jobs around the Yarm and Eaglescliffe area.


Oddly enough, at exactly this time, me and my parents WERE near neighbours of the then-Sunderland manager Alan Durban. He lived in a big house set back from the main road that ran from our place to Yarm High Street, and I could never resist trying to peer into his front room whenever I walked past with Poggy Doggy. He’d been a legend as a Derby County player, had a string of international caps for Wales, and had also gained notoriety for one of the most brilliantly dour footballing quotes of all time.

In 1980 his ultra-defensive Stoke City side had lost at Arsenal. ‘If you want entertainment,’ he’d growled at quizzical journalists after the final whistle, ‘Go and watch a bunch of clowns’.

So clearly the entertainment bug had bitten him big style, and he’d moved on to Sunderland, where could watch them every week. Arf arf! I do remember my Dad, freshly returned from his evening bath in crisp cream shirt and brown slacks, turning on Match of the Day late one Saturday evening and beaming with delight to discover Sunderland had been thrashed 8-0 earlier in the day.

‘Oh dear!’ he laughed. ‘There’ll be no smiles on Thirsk Road tonight…’

I’ve done my research, and the game took place on Saturday 25th September 1982, away at Watford. Brilliantly, you can watch all the goals here…

Luther Blissett’s on fire! I think Sunderland have a teenage Ally McCoist playing for them as well.

Good to see me still dragging every last scrap of innendo out of ‘my Chopper’! Is it really the kind of thing we want rammed down our throats every night? And I’ve no idea what was so ‘geedy’ about The Two Ronnies, but it must have been a repeat of an old series as there were no new episodes being screened this late in 1984. In the absence of any evidence to suggest it WASN’T the fabulous ‘Worm That Turned’ series, you can have a bit of it anyway… 

And yes, that’s Jenny Logan, the woman from the Shake N Vac advert! Blimey, what have I done with my life…?

(NB Thanks and hello to Andy H, who today confirmed my non-memories of seeing the Knight Rider car in Stockton’s Castelgate Shopping Centre on 22nd February 1984 – it’s all here!)



  Chris Orton wrote @

Thankyou so much Bob, for posting pictures of Sunderland’s record defeat – as a Sunderland fan that’s really made my day.

Enjoy the Championship 🙂

  bobfischer wrote @

It happened and I remember it, so it’s in there as a legitimate part of this ongoing socio-historical project. I don’t make make the rules. 😉

I always enjoy lower league campaigns. Good for the soul. Especially when they end in frustration and misery (as ours will).

  PJE_UK wrote @

Think of the thrill next season f turning up to game that we may score goals and win. The novelty factor in that alone will keep us entertained until Easter ! I tried to get this point across to Brownlee on Monday night but he started to lose it, ranting about Rioch’s team of 1986, agents and Gianluca Festa !! I was scared and I was calling from Surrey !

  Fiona Tims wrote @

“Good to see me still dragging every last scrap of innendo out of ‘my Chopper’! Is it really the kind of thing we want rammed down our throats every night?”

*muffles laughter*

  bobfischer wrote @

PJE – blimey, was that you? I heard that on the way home. Fantastic stuff. Although I’ll have you know Mr Brownlee remains cool, calm and collected at all times. And he brings Jaffa Cakes into work every day – yay!

Fiona, from now on I’ll be scouring these diaries for filthy innuendos every day. And if I see a big one, I’ll whip it out as quick as a flash.

  PJE_UK wrote @

Yes. That was me. I hope I came across eloquently with relevant points as I planned. No offence meant to AB I appreciate his position as Cheerleader In Chief and to try and convince people the sun will be out very soon even on the most rainy of days.

Please pass on my regards .. if he remembers the specific call.

  bobfischer wrote @

🙂 You sounded fine. And don’t worry, the only thing that offends him is when I turn up to work wearing the same shirt two nights running… he’s obsessed in particular with a little green number that I favour!

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

The hugely talented Jenny Logan did an awful lot of TV work before the Shake ‘n’ Vac ad (including Pennies from heaven) but far less after it, unfortunately. ‘The Worm That Turned’ was made around the same time as she was starring in ‘Park Ranger’ for Southern Television.

  bobfischer wrote @

What was ‘Park Ranger’ about? I’m intrigued by the fact that it also seems to star Richard ‘Herr Flick’ Gibson…

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

Gibson was probably the male juvenile lead. it was a location-heavy series charting the adventures of , um, rangers at a National Park not too dissimilar to Dartmoor: lost hikers, trapped baby deer, illicit campfires, that kind of thing.
Jenny played one of the rangers but of course, being a woman, she had to juggle her rangering with bringing up at least one child.
That’s pretty much all I remember about it nowadays. If it survives it might be a candidate for a Simply HE DVD release but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that score.
At the time it was on TV I was rather in awe of Jenny Logan having seen her in my first real visit to the theatre not long before. She has a n amazing singing voice!

  bobfischer wrote @

Sounds great, I love discovering lost little gems like this on DVD. Here’s hoping. Thanks for the info!

  bobfischer wrote @

Did she do her own singing on the Shake N Vac advert, then?

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

I have often wondered that myself. Even if she did, the effect was rather spoiled by the fact that the sound never quite seemed to be properly synched with the picture. It would take a skilful radio interview to settle the matter once and for all…

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