It’s come to my attention that a) this blog hasn’t been updated since Christmas and b) the scourge that is Celebrity Big Brother has started. So, the next in the occasional series Retro Corner ought to make a comeback, least of all because Top of the Pops 1980 is on later and it’s the ideal writing soundtrack. And distraction, but hey ho.
Keith Chegwin. The very name strikes fear into grown men’s hearts, and probably causes the yoof to furrow their brow in confusion. For their benefit, he used to present a show called Cheggers Plays Pop and featured on long-running Chris Evans magnet The Big Breakfast. He’s graduated to flooding Twitter with puns, stealing other people’s jokes for his paid iPhone app and then blocking them so they can’t see his heinous crime. This emerged as Cheggers went into the Big Brother house and #BlockedByCheggers started trending. Out of nosiness, I went to see if I was part of this exclusive club.
It was the proudest moment of my life. Well, alongside the three times Anthony Horowitz has chatted to me, and Reece Shearsmith has searched for himself and swore at me for gently criticising his acting skills. I digress. Back when Cheggers was on Big Breakfast, his job was to travel the UK and turn up unwanted on people’s doorsteps to have a chat. He also did this to motorists, thus the tale begins. At the time, Dad’s employer sometimes asked him to drive his daughters to school, and so I would occasionally get a ride in a plush Mercedes. All well and good.
But unbeknownst to us, Cheggers was in Edinburgh, searching for fresh victims. He was hiding in the traffic jam up ahead, waiting to strike. And that was when dear papa made his fatal mistake. ‘I’ll just go down the bus lane,’ he said, swerving off to the clear road ahead. And then a camera crew ran in front of the car. Fortunately, we weren’t going quickly, so nobody died. But now we were surrounded. Dad recognised the overly-cheery face looming in the window, and in his panic, instead of winding down the window, he opened the door. In came the camera and we were live on breakfast TV.
‘Good morning, you’re on The Big Breakfast! Coo, this is a posh car isn’t it?’ chirped Cheggers, as I joined the other girl in shrinking back into the leather seats in an attempt to become invisible. Dad tried to explain it wasn’t his car, at which point I seem to recall Cheggers called him a thief then tried to get us to wave. I was good. My middle finger stayed where it was. He gave Dad the travel news to read out to the nation, then as a prize we received… well, what do you think he gave us? Money? A holiday? A cuddly toy? No. He gave us the toiletries he’d stolen from his hotel room.
Yes. I have Cheggers’ shampoo. And by the time I got to school, I was a minor celebrity for all of two minutes. Somewhere, we have a VHS of this televisual shame, where as a bonus prize the camera cuts back to the studio and ginger gobshite Chris Evans suggests Dad sounded a lot like Sean Connery. So, there’s that.
If you’re very good, I’ll digitise the footage. Maybe, Kickstarter goal-style, I’ll put the footage up if I get the book published. I will need a considerable amount of gin, though. Not for celebrating, you understand. For NUMBING THE PAIN AND SHAME OF CHEGGERS.
Sleep well, children.