Why do I smell chlorofo-*thud*
This is not Al Vimh. Sorry to disappoint. He’s allowed me to pop in today in a sordid attempt to persuade some of you to buy my new book, 21st Century Dodos. It is a collection of eulogies to extinct and endangered inanimate objects, and other stuff. It’s one of those toilet books, ideal for reading in the loo.
Here’s an extract that looks back on a more innocent time of children’s television. I hope you like it. If you do, then perhaps you’ll be persuaded to purchase a copy of the book. If you don’t, well, do keep quiet about it, won’t you.
Answers on a Postcard
No children’s show of the 70s, 80s, or even 90s, would have been complete without a competition to which the only way to enter would be to write an answer on a postcard and send it in to the studio.
Nowadays, of course, the BBC doesn’t run competitions anymore after a series of ‘scandals’ revealed that some of them were rigged, and commercial channels have expensive phone and text quiz questions that are so mind-numbingly easy that it is an insult to the intelligence to actually pick up a phone and answer them. Here is an actual question that I saw on a TV show recently:
What nationality is the actor Tom Hanks?
There then follow about five paragraphs of small print along the lines of:
Calls will cost £1.50 from a landline but calls from a mobile will cost so much more that you will have to go without Heat magazine and fake tan for a month when your bill comes through and you realise how much you have pissed away on a stupid quiz that you stand little to no chance of winning. Lines close at 3pm but we’ll still leave the lines open so we can fleece you for more money and, let’s face it, if you do call after then you deserve to be robbed. If anyone phones in and answers A, B or D then we will immediately send social services round to your house and remove your children. Judges’ decision is final. Now, quick, put the phone down and start watching again, we have an item about a girl who crocheted a life-size model of her father in the hope that it would bring her parents back together.
See? It’s all a bit shit really, isn’t it? I much preferred the transparent bin stuffed full of postcards from which Alvin Stardust or Zammo from Grange Hill would select the winner of a signed Five Star 12″ single. Simpler times, but not without their own controversy. Some people would send in ridiculous oversized postcards in the hope that they would stand out, others went for bright colours or other blatantly cheating tactics, but OfCom never called for an inquiry when one of these were pulled out, did they? Oh no.
And to think, that autographed Adam and the Ants drum skin could have been mine if it wasn’t for some bastard sending his answer in on card shaped like a giant ant.
GAH! Whassat? Hmm? Oh, that Scott bloke’s been in here again hasn’t he?
Oh, you can say hello to Scott on the Twitter (@meandmybigmouth)
Right, i’m away to sleep off this headache.