Anorak News | Tuffer’s Luck

Tuffer’s Luck

by | 11th, July 2005

‘WHENEVER TV runs out of its own heroes, it takes them from other walks of life.


It’s now hard to think of Dr Robert Winston, the expert on human fertilisation, doing anything without a camera crew filming him.

“I’m sorry, Mrs Hart, but you can’t start your IVF programme until 2006,” says the moustachioed Tom Selleck of the labour wards.

“I can fit you in when Strictly Dancing with Pets series II ends and just before I take over as team captain on the new A Question of Ethics game show.”

Gordon Ramsay may well be a terrific chef, but you’re more likely to get him to cook you a meal if you avoid his expensive restaurants and agree to be sworn at on the telly.

But TV is a cruel master. Unless you’re the perennial Del Boy or that good egg Delia Smith, you’ll soon be usurped by some new bright young thing and thereby reduced to appearing on reality TV shows or Today with Des and Mel, modern TV’s equivalent of the little white dot.

What happens after TV has finished with these experts in childcare, cooking, cleaning, poo examining, or whatever it was that brought them to the attention of TV execs looking for “talent”, involves at least one of the following:

1. They can return to their pre-telly trades, and so run the risk of being perceived as has-beens – if they’re no longer on the telly it must because they aren’t any good, or they’re dead.

2. They can die.

3. They can retire to the provinces, enjoying fame on a village scale until Through The Keyhole comes knocking at the door of their barn conversion near Hastings.

4. They can hang on in there by agreeing to appear in adverts.

In short, you can be John Noakes, who swapped the Blue Peter ship for a yacht in Majorca, or you can be Phil Tufnell.

The advice is to go with Noakes. I’ve always found it hard to dislike Tuffers, but recently he’s encouraged me to give it my all.

And not trying in that way the laconic former England cricketer has of giving it a go, but really getting into what sportsman call ‘the zone’.

So there I was trying to get in touch with my inner layabout with a session in front of daytime TV when up pooped loveable old Tuffers.

Since winning I’m a Celebrity, the man cricket fans know as ‘The Cat’, on account of his almost feline ability to avoid danger – aka the ball – has become a celeb.

He’s now more famous than when he spun the ball for Middlesex and England, and when duty demanded it inadvertently hit it with a bat; and surely earns more money.

There was Tuffers sitting on a desk in the manner of the office lothario, shmoozing the nearest secretary with his come-what-may charm and laissez–faire attitude to sexual harassment tribunals when his target began telling him how he can sort his finances out.

How so? A few laps of the after dinner speaking circuit, perhaps? Dash off a quick autobiography? A charity record – Cool For Cats, The Lion Sleeps Tonight or Jake the Peg, the latter featuring a video of Phil making a full three-stump wicket from his unique appendage?

Well, yes – the book’s been done and you can pay to hear Phil speak after you’ve eaten. And no – the record’s not yet been released. Rachel was telling Phil how to arrange a loan.

Rachel, she’s the secretary, explained to Phil how you can consolidate your finances, collect up the IOUs, HP purchase agreements and credit card bills and form them into an easily conquered single papier-mâché mountain of debt.

It was so simple; Tuffers grasped it in a flash. And now, leaning over to Rachel, he offered up the phrase that I will now recall whenever I see him or hear his name: “Happy days.”

Arthur ‘Fonzie’ Fonzarelli eat your heart out. There’s a new middle-aged man on the block whipping the kids into shape, and this one’s wearing a pair of Comfi-Slacks and a cheeky grin.

All that’s left for Tuffers to do is to call the next firm that wants to secure his endorsement into Fonz’s “office” and watch whatever credibility he had go down the pan…

Paul Sorene’

Posted: 11th, July 2005 | In: Celebrities Comment | TrackBack | Permalink