Sunday, 1 March 2015
105 The Record Breakers
First watched : 1972
If Rainbow's Bungle was my least favourite children's character , Roy Castle was my most hated presenter. I couldn't abide the smarmy self-satisfied manner, the crocodile toothed smile , playing kettles and the tap dancing; even his protracted public demise in 1994 failed to elicit much sympathy from me.
It was undoubtedly a good idea. A show based on The Guinness Book of Records would have a wow factor in every episode and there were frequent attempts at creating silly new records - domino toppling, things like that- in the studio. The appalling Mr Castle presented with frequent handovers to the Book's compilers the McWhirter twins for expert commentary.
When Ross McWhirter was assassinated by the IRA in 1975 it was a great shock to me. Why on earth would they target a kids TV personality ? What I didn't realise at the time was that the twins were extreme right wing nutters . Ross in particular had talked of military coups and gone off on one about Ulster, offering a reward for informants and calling for restrictions on the Irish community in England, although the practicalities of how you'd police such a huge operation don't seem to have occurred to him. I am rather tickled by the idea of my dad as a potential enemy of the state though. Norris, who'd been a reporter at Roger Bannister's four minute mile success in 1954, was relatively circumspect, concentrating on undermining the trade union movement through his Freedom Association.
Roy continued to present the show until his death The show continued without him until 2001 being cancelled just short of its 30th anniversary.