A Life Less Scary
"The interesting and varied life of Scary Duck, Genius, French Cabaret Chantoose and small bets placed."
The other day, in the line of duty, I ran into TVís Maggie Philbin who has started doing a radio show from the building where I work. For those of you that donít know, TVís Maggie Philbin does those kind of authoritative science programmes that the BBCís very good at, and hence doesnít do anymore. She graduated from the hell of childrenís TV, where she met and eventually married TVís Keith Chegwin. Theirs was a stormy marriage. After the joy lording it over the Saturday morning schedules in Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and a top ten hit with their band ďBrown SauceĒ, it could only go downhill. And it did. Cheggers hit the bottle, and it was only a matter of time before they split.
And I fear I owe TVís Maggie Philbin an apology on this front. How were we to know that our innocent high jinx would lead to the emotional destruction of TVís premier talent? Cheggerís could have been BBC Director General one day, but no, we messed with his head, and he ended up getting his cock out on Channel Five. Sorry.
It was the arse end of the 1980ís. The exact date is lost in the annals of time, but I do remember it was a Sunday evening, and we were driving back from Birmingham having witnessed an entirely forgettable football match somewhere in the city. I canít even remember who the opposition were, but it was most likely Aston Villa. One thing youíve got to know is that the M1 back into London on a Sunday evening is hell. All the northern migrant workers head back down to London. In their cars, on one three lane highway. Itís a hundred mile car park.
After about two hours of looking at other peopleís tail lights, I couldnít help but noticing the car next to us. On the side was the legend ďKeith Chegwin - Sponsored by Horncastle FordĒ, and there in the driving seat was the easy-going host of Cheggers Plays Pop himself, trying his best to look normal. The guy was so famous, he got free cars. I, on the other hand, had a second hand Austin Allegro. This didnít seem right, a view which was communicated to my three companions in the car who owned, respectively, a second hand Ford Escort, a third hand Fiat Strada and a pushbike. They didnít seem to think it was fair either, and we decided to let TVís Keith Chegwin know, in the only way that football hooligans knew how.
We gave him the moon.
Not just any old moon. It was quality, bare butt moonage, out of the car window, in stereo. I could hardly keep my eyes on the road such were the tears of mirth streaming down my cheeks, so it was a jolly good thing that we were only managing to crawl along at about five miles an hour.
TVís Keith Chegwin took it badly, and perhaps Ritchie waving his meat-and-two-veg at the Great Man was perhaps taking it a bit too far, and it retrospect, a portent of things to come. In a panic he took a dive for the next service station, where undoubtedly his sanity dribbled out of his ears and onto the floor of the Little Chef.
After that, Cheggers went AWOL for about ten years, where stories of his crack-up and split from his lovely wife TVís Maggie Philbin became public. They were the first couple of kidsí TV, and we, a bunch of reckless Arsenal fans drove a wedge between them. TVís Maggie Philbin and Pantoís Keith Chegwin, if youíre reading this, weíre really, really sorry.
Still even the Clown Prince of Saturday morning TV (retired) has got to admit, it was a right old laugh at the time. Don't know what the former Mrs Chegwin would have said, but I steered clear of her in the canteen. You can do a hell of a lot of damage with a plastic spoon.
While this story is based on actual events in the life of Scaryduck, certain identities and venues may have been changed to protect the innocent.