We’ve got Doctor Who coming from Venus, but we can’t get you from Maidstone

telemessage arrived at home asking me to get in touch with the production office of ITV’s new Saturday morning kids show, WAC90. For some reason our telephone at home wasn’t working, and they had been trying to get in touch for several days. It was 1990, before the rise of the mobile phone. They wanted me to appear on that weekend’s show in their “fanatic” segment.

Now, this wasn’t totally out of the blue. I had written into the show, which had started just two weeks earlier, offering to be a “fanatic” if they wanted. It was rather more out of the blue for Mum and Dad. (I had a habit of doing this. I’ll write about how I ended up posing with a police dog one day.)

So with only a couple of days’ notice, we sprang into action. Mum slaved away over an iron turning a plain white t-shirt into a reasonable replica of Sylvester McCoy’s pullover. Dad constructed something that looked like a question mark out of copper piping. I packed the highlights of my Doctor Who collection (which included felt tip drawings of Davros) into plastic crates to take with us. It shows just how much love and support my parents gave me (and still do!). They always went out of their way to let me do things when special opportunities arose. I’m not sure I realised it at the time, but I really appreciate it looking back.

Mum, Dad, my brother Mark and I drove up north and were put up in a swanky hotel. (Although the hotel was swanky, the four of us were squeezed in one room.) Dad was impressed that it was the same hotel that Sinitta and Bill Tidy were staying in, although less impressed at getting up at 4am having driven over 200 miles the evening before.

Being in a TV studio was exciting. There were bacon sandwiches (which my Dad offered to the strictly vegetarian Michaela Strachan) and Ariel from “Return to the Forbidden Planet“. I was handed a green plastic frog and expected to guess that it was actually a telephone on which I could speak to the Doctor. (It wasn’t actually a telephone, which didn’t help matters.) There were also a few technical gremlins. It has been said that I am the only one who comes out of the segment with a reasonable degree of professionalism. I was twelve.

One is supposed to “own” things that you really want to cringe from in embarrassment. So I was overjoyed when my Dad and Laura conspired to put the clip on-line last week. So for your viewing pleasure here is my appearance on the WAC90 sofa with Michaela Strachan.

If this has given you a chuckle, please consider donating to my charity Malawi Mission. Every penny makes a difference.

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    One Response to We’ve got Doctor Who coming from Venus, but we can’t get you from Maidstone

    1. mrben says:

      Genius. And I concur – you were the only one showing a modicum of decorum. There’s also a good chance that I was watching the show…..

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