Rodney drops a brick 

13 March 2018 tbs.pm/65177

LOOK WHERE HE SENT THE STARS

 

From the TVTimes Midlands edition for 19-25 October 1958

A £100,000 technical block is being erected alongside the northern TV Centre in Manchester.

NORMAN FRISBY

had this dream of what might happen if some of the television personalities got mixed up among the cement mixers

 

★ ★ ★ ★

MY name is Rodney Clogg. I’m from Rochdale, and I’m an odd-job-man. One of my oddest jobs came about this way…

It was the wife’s idea, really. “Why don’t you go and get yourself on the ITV?” she said. “Everyone always reckons how good you are at t’club on Friday nights.”

So, as I was passing the ITV studios next day, I dropped in to see if they’d any jobs going, like.

They had. They fixed me up with a smart uniform and said: “You’re a commissionaire, now. Sit behind that desk in the studio reception hall, and when folk come in asking the way, you tell ’em. Right?”

I’d been sitting there, minding my own business, about five minutes, when a chap in overalls walked in.

“I’m the foreman from the new technical building site next door” he said. “The boss signed on half-a-dozen new workmen yesterday.

“They’ll be reporting here. So if you see anybody wandering around looking like he doesn’t know where he wants to be, send him round to me. I’ll fix him up with a job.” The foreman hadn’t beep gone more than a couple of minutes when the first of ’em arrived. A fine figure of a chap. Broad shouldered, fit, strong as a horse. A bit tubby, maybe, but what I’d call a good, hard-working, steady type. “Name’s Bill Grundy,” he said. “I’m Under Fire.”

“Not yet, you’re not,” I said. “But you might soon be if you try anything on with that foreman. He’s waiting for you next door.”

Grundy seemed sort of puzzled. I’ll bet he thought he’d landed himself a soft job on television…

Under Fire’s Bill Grundy rolls up his sleeves for this job

The next arrival looked strong, too. Above labouring, though. I’d have said. A bit mature for heavy work. And a bit of a brain worker. Maybe they’d got an office job for him in the foreman’s shed.

“My name is David Ensor,” he said, ever so grand, like. “The Verdict Is Yours.”

Verdict is mine, eh? Trying to take the mickey, was he? Right, me lad, I thought. And smart as you like I said: “Sentenced to three months’ hard labour next door on the building site.”

Flabbergasted, he was. But he went…

“You want me to go down there?” David Ensor asks the foreman

The next two strolled in together, ever so casual. One little and ginger, smoking a cigar, if you please! The other tall and policeman-looking. “Moon and Williams, Shadow Squad” said the little ’un.

It’s Shadow Squad to building squad for Ginger and Don

Bright today, aren’t they? I thought. “You’ll find the building squad right next door,” I said. And that was the last I saw of them…

Next chap in didn’t look much like a brickie to me. Small, slim, dark, handsome. “Chris Howland, Twenty-One,” he said.

I wouldn’t have believed it. I’d have said he was 29 if he was a day.

“Never mind, lad. They’ll not ask for your birth certificate next door,” I said. “Look out for the foreman …”

Quizmaster Chris Howland at the wheel of a crane

Two breathtaking redheads wafted in while I was dealing with him. Smashers. “We’re Twenty-One, too,” crooned one. “Jeanne Gordon and Joy Kay.”

Never contradict a lady. That’s Rodney Clogg’s motto. “And very pretty twenty-ones too.” I smirked. “Next door!” There was a letter for me next morning, the studio had, as they put it, dispensed with my services. I never did find out what I’d done wrong.

Hostesses Joy and Jeanne find bricklaying amusing (more or less)

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