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Tuesday 14th March 2023


The combo of magnesium and CBD oil seems to be doing quite a good job of getting me to sleep through the night, though I still had to go back to bed once the kids were at school. The exertion of yesterday had not sent me slipping back into illness as much as I had feared, but it still feels like I will never shake this off completely. 
I was well enough to go to the Post Office and take the kids to football and to try out a commentatorless version of Self Playing Snooker, which is going to be especially enjoyable in audio format. At last it includes all the pots, with no “expert” analysis and it’s only about ten minutes long. Expecting the best viewing and listening figures ever.

I enjoyed this clip from Noel’s House Party from the I found this on YouTube account (RTed by Ruth Husko), with an absolute cavalcade of the kind of stars that you’d get on Noel’s House Party. What a snapshot of the times. A few surprises - Roy Castle was still alive and I think Pat Coombs is in there; a few we’re lost and a few that might still be in such a line-up if it were to be done today. It’s a fun game trying to work out who everyone is, in this slightly blurry video, but my favourite inclusion is Captain Birdseye, which is not only unexpected, but one suspects would have contravened all kinds of BBC rules. It shows that Noel was even more powerful than Lineker and could get away with this shit. I bet he was eating free fish fingers for months. 
I found myself wondering what this amazing finale would have cost. Even back in 90s you got paid a decent whack for being on TV and there must have been a degree of rehearsal for this spectacular (though no amount of work could have made Kilroy-Silk dance like a human). Even it they all only got a grand each, that’s a hefty bill. They have shot it quite cleverly so it looks like more people than it is, but it’s still a lot of people. Maybe they did it as a favour to Edmonds in the hope of future work or maybe there was a big end of series party with coke and hookers (though Blobby might have got to all that first), but would love to know what it cost. It’s all mid-range talent - no huge stars really (Little and Large maybe at the zenith but they were already retro by the 90s), which is what makes it so enjoyable now. But it’s still very impressive and I could watch it a hundred times and not be bored. And so I did.
Ruth Husko (well worth following on Twitter @DankAkroyd) also pointed out to me that Captain Birdseye wasn’t even a real Captain and his surname wasn’t even really Birdseye. He was just a man called John Hewer, pretending.  Of all the scandals from 20th Century TV this must be the greatest.
He starred opposite Julie Andrews in the Boyfriend on Broadway in the 50s and it’s impossible not to imagine him in every role with the hat and the beard and shouting about fishfingers (but lots of boyfriends end up with fishfingers I suppose) and I hope one day to make a biopic of the man in which he ruins every performance he is in by doing that, until finally he is proven correct and gets the role that he was destined to play.

And at the top of that tree is the tiny figure of Noel Edmonds - all those decades of work, managing to avoid the scandals that brought down some of his contemporaries, praying to the Universe and getting all that he wanted (he should have upped his ambitions a little, but you can’t argue that he hasn’t done well out of it all). The only thing he hasn’t done is be Captain Birdseye, but I reckon he’d make a decent fist of that nowadays. Incredible stuff. 

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