For those of us of a certain age, the rattle of jewellery and the opening of a letter sent from a young lady would signify thirty five minutes of dreams coming true and wishes being granted.
Sadly, with the late great Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile recently passing away, the youth of today will never get to experience a show that was last aired in 1994.
The BBC is planning a one-off Christmas special to be screened December 2011! This is your last chance to see the hilarious highlights of shows past including: a boy punching his way out of a paper bag, a young girl skidding a London bus and those chubby cub scouts being sick on a roller-coaster.
Before I take you through my top ten never-made-it-to-air requests I’d like to tell you about my middle-aged sister-in-law who, at the age of nine, wrote to Jim and asked to be a real life Barbie Doll for a day.
Unfortunately, her wish was never granted. However, seven years later, when she was at the tender age of sixteen, a member of her family mocked up a letter from Jim saying that they’d found her request and she was going to be appearing on national TV dressed in pink the following weekend.
Suffice as to say that she was mortified, embarrassed and eventually sedated until she found out that it was just a joke.
Without further ado, here are my ‘not bitter’ dreams that never came true
Jump out of an airplane
Not too much to ask, you would have thought. All this required was an airplane, tandem-pilot and parachute and we were good to go. To be fair, I’d have probably been happy in an aerodrome if it made my cheeks invert.
Request - never granted
Go on safari
How easy would this have been, really? Send me on a flight to Africa, get me on a jeep and Jim’s your uncle – safari holidays here we come! Imagine my little face lit up like a Christmas tree as I was driven across the plains of the Serengeti and Kruger National Park as the legendary Big Five appeared before my very eyes!
Wish – ironically, mauled
Go on a rollercoaster
Probably too simple for Jim and the crew and I can imagine them laughing at my lack of creativity. ‘Just a roller-coaster!’ I can hear Jim cry in his broad Yorkshire voice, ‘doesn’t he even want to eat anything while he’s strapped in?’
Dream – shattered (but later lived on Clacton Pier)
Swim with dolphins
I had no idea whether this was a. possible and b. legal but by golly I wanted to do it. Swimming pool, ocean, giant fish tank, I didn’t care just get me in there with Flipper and start filming. The lack of response cut through my heart like a hook through a fish’s upper lip.
Not today lad - gutted
Am I the only one who would have been happy to go to Lapland Sussex as long as it meant meeting the Big Man and a collection of dwarves? Of course, heading to the snowy wastelands of the North Pole would have been good too but then who was I to ask? I’ll tell you who – I was a little boy that wanted to meet Santa more than he wanted to spend another year delving to the bottom of his stocking to find the Beano annual and a battered Satsuma, that’s who.
Why not just tell me he doesn’t exist?
Be a racing driver
I just wanted to be Nigel Mansell and would probably have been happy in a souped-up Capri being driven by one of the assistant camera men. As long as I had a crash helmet covered in stickers and a white boiler suit, also covered in stickers, I would have been ok.
Driving ambition – gone in a puff of smoke
Be in Grange Hill
Zammo, Tucker and Fay Lucas, how hard would it have been to ask these teenagers to do a little bit of overtime at the studio? I ask you! They could even have visited my school and got some other kids involved, I wasn’t precious about it, I just wanted to try my hand at acting and maybe throw a sausage through the air.
Be a cowboy
I’d never been to America or Argentina or wherever it is that cowboys live but I’d seen lots of films! I was sure that this career path was for me and asking Jim was an inevitable step on the road to fulfilling my aspirations. What happened in my quest for gaining spurs and turning my life into a long series of adventure holidays? I’ll tell you what – nothing!
Future plans – shot to pieces
Ride a BMX with ET
Seriously, I wasn’t asking to have a BMX I just wanted to ride a BMX, preferably with a stuffed monkey draped in a white sheet sitting upright in an attached shopping basket. I’ve seen what they could do with backdrops and studio sets and between you and me, putting me, on a bike, in front of a ‘green screen would have been as easy as fitting a red light to the end of my finger and asking me to say ‘phone home’ in a croaky voice.
No one’s going home today Elliot
Go into space
Ok, so this was slightly ambitious. But with just a little imagination and a touch of the television trickery that we hear so much about, I could have been the next Neil Armstrong. Of course, if you’d wanted to keep the budget down Jim I’d have been happy with a trip to Greenwich observatory and a super-powered telescope but you never asked did you?!
Author Byline: Colchester – we have a problem