Once, long ago, when my son was about two years old -- so it must have been around 1997 -- David and I were on the Channel 4 show Collector's Lot. I can't remember how this happened; I think David must have put us in for it. I was quite tied up in those days trying to be a Good Mother (ha ha ha ha ha) but we were invited to travel down to Henley-on-Thames to be on the show in the run-up to Christmas.
|box of Spiderman TVs|
When it was time for us to set up we gained access to the house itself, which was quite grand and decorated very lavishly with items from the period during the Eighties when Wicked Willie was such a massive success. GJ must have had a grand time spending his royalties on tables made of stacks of glass sheeting and the like. Our child was allowed the run of GJ's bedroom while we were recording and was guarded by young TV researchers. I feared for the giant vases.
While David was off doing his bit and suffering his own private digestive torments, I had to focus on my cracker toy presentation. I set out my bits of plastic tat in nice rows and waited for my turn. Imagine my dismay when, instead of lovely Sue Cook, our presenter was Bill Oddie! Bill rotten Oddie! He didn't seem very interested in my plastic lovelies and I remember more clearly than anything else on that whole day that he held one of my treasures up to the camera and he had the most enormous blue Mickey Mouse sticking plaster on his big fat Bill Oddie finger. It eclipsed the cracker toy completely. I'm amazed the producer let him have it in shot.
|Bill Oddie on an earlier Collector's Lot being a subject rather than a presenter -- showing off his Mickey Mouse collection|
So they did a take and I recited my piece about the history of crackers and cracker toys. Not too bad. Then they said they'd do another take, so this time I talked about which ones I liked best and which ones were endearingly horrible. Then they said, 'That one's good, we'll go with that one' -- so what I had completely failed to understand was that there was very little editing. The second take simply replaced the first take -- and my history of cracker toys was instantly consigned to the cutting room floor. Oh well.
The final ignominy came when we were packing up all our bits and pieces and I tripped over one of our boxes, breaking the leg off a precious telly and cracking the screen of another -- a Disney one, must have been the curse of Oddie.
Our night in a hotel in Henley (can't remember if it was paid for by the TV people) was somewhat dimmed by D's lingering malaise. And when we got home the next day we discovered that our toddler had managed to leave his beloved Cookie Monster figurine behind in GJ's bedroom.
So, all in all, it was a memorable occasion, topped off by the agony of seeing ourselves on TV a few weeks later. We had a video of it on VHS but I've no idea where that is now -- thank the lord. Now, if you press me, I will tell you about when we were on Boot Sale Challenge, which was even more humiliating...
Oh, I forgot to add that, later on, we were in the Collector's Lot book -- but no picture so it's a bit boring.