Jill was right to suspect that the drowned man washed ashore on the beach was foul play, but attending a romantic date with the dead man’s son seemed a strange direction for her to steer the investigation. The introduction of the son’s cousin halfway through dinner was only going to complicate matters. It was too much a mystery for an eight year-old to try figure out. I was glad when my Dad walked in.
The heavily sellotaped remote control was lifted from the armchair and Baywatch was no longer. I was transported back into the more comfortable surrounds of snooker, general knowledge and the slapstick duo of Jim Davidson and John Virgo. To think someone successfully pitched that idea to the BBC. I settled in to listen to my Dad answer each question loudly with what’s best described as a ‘mixed’ success rate – then tell me he would’ve made that pot whenever a professional missed.
The half-hour flies in, and after Liz from Sheffield bags herself a table-top dishwasher courtesy of a delightful Dennis Taylor pot on the pink, we’re off to Crinkly Bottom. But my sisters, fresh from their baths and backed by Mam are now all in the room - and there’s a clash. We asked the five people in the room what programme they’d like to watch and the survey said: it’s Les Denis and Family Fortunes. The first attempt of the channel switch fails and after a gentle smack of the back of the remote control, second times a charm.
The amount of ‘eejits’ in the world never ceases to amaze my Dad as he scoffs at some of the answers. His to nobody-in-particular outbursts are met with shut-up-I-can’t-hear-what-they’re-sayings from Mam, and another half hour flies by with more entertainment in the sitting room than on the TV.
Who in their right mind would stay in the same hotel as Jessica Fletcher? but that’s where we find ourselves now. We leave the TV for the kitchen and in the same time it’s taken us to eat fried eggs, beans and chips, Angela Lansbury has successfully solved another murder.
With unanimous backing from the family, next up is ‘Stars in Their Eyes.’ We all take a stab at who Brendan, the primary school teacher from Kent, is going to be. ‘Whitney Houston’ my Dad bellows, chuckling at his own guess. He was wrong. It was Leo Sayer, and though I wasn’t familiar with his work, my Mam swore he was as good as the real thing.
It’s the danger zone now – bedtime. I sink into the sofa between my Dad and one of my sisters trying to become invincible. If I do it right, don’t move or breath, they’ll forget about me and I’ll be able to stay up forever. The Brian Conley Show starts and I begin to relax. No one will want to put me to bed mid-programme.
A major slip up. At a Larry the Loafer sketch I garner everyone’s attention when I laugh uncontrollably. My eyes lock with Dads. It’s over. Then he ruffles my hair, grins and grabs me in hug allowing my head to rest on his chest for the rest of the programme.
Oh how I miss Saturday Night TV in the 90’s!