#23 – Lella Lombardi

Amazingly, this is not Rubens Barrichello in a wig.

“Women already have their place in motor sport; they have proved it” – Michele Mouton, President WMC

After an untimely delay, the new F1 season starts this weekend. F1 is one of those sports you either love or hate, and given I’ve camped in the wettest field in the wettest country in Europe eating nothing but waffles to watch the Belgian Grand Prix last year, I think you might guess what side of the fence I sit on (OK, so loads of waffles isn’t such a bad thing, but it’s synonymous with Belgium so I had to include it).

I could go on for all eternity about this year’s competitors and everything related to the sport since 1997 but to me that’s all old hat, and in F1, heroes tend to get sung a lot; even Damon Hill’s amazing drive to near victory in an Arrows around the Hungaroring is too well known about to write about (plus he’s won a world championship and is an immeasurably dull man, but that’s an aside).

So I need to look back in F1’s history; back to momentous occasions which weren’t covered ad infinitum on television by The Count or three men at the BBC in slightly different shades of pink. No, we’re travelling back to  the dark dark times of disco, flares and John Travolta; the 1970s, and in particular to Lella Lombardi, who holds the the distinction of being F1’s first and only female points scorer.

For a sport dominated by men, it would be strange to see any woman who wasn’t paraded around the grid for people to gawp at, but it’s even more strange for Lella, given that her family didn’t even own a car, let alone her have any interest in them in her younger years (the fastest vehicle they owned was a 10-speed bicycle). She was in fact quite an accomplished handball player. It was only after getting a broken nose in a match and being rushed in an ambulance to hospital that she discovered her love for speed and danger. This sudden passion grew very quickly and in no time she was a makeshift mechanic for her then boyfriend, and in what seemed like no time, she had persuaded the driver to let her race instead, resulting in a debut win.

Seriously, there is nothing interesting about this man. Not even his beard.

From a carless woman who couldn’t drive, she was now involved in racing and progressed through the various formulas quicker than my cat and her newly found appetite for wool and eventually found herself in the highest echelon of the sport, F1. Of course, being thrust into F1 into a lowly team (sorry March), success was scant, but her day came in only her third race in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix. Unfortunately, that day was also the scene of the death of 5 spectators due to poorly maintained barriers after Stommelmen crashed. The race was stopped and only half points awarded, and at that point Lombardi was classified in 6th, the final points paying position, out of the remaining eight drivers.

However, the reason Lella is here is not just down to one race. She’s the only woman in F1 to have had any sort of career there, albeit only 16 races worth. She finished just out of the points around the Nurburgring (the cool one, not today’s shorter circuit), on which finishing is an achievement in itself. Although she dropped out of F1 the next year, she found success in sportscar racing, setting fastest laps and winning races but retired through illness. She died of cancer in 1992 at the age of 50.

Lombardi may not have been the most successful driver ever, certainly not the most famous female driver in motorsport and not even the first female F1 driver; however, she was the most successful female F1 driver by a long way. Given the rise of female drivers, it’s only a matter of time until F1’s only female points scorer becomes F1’s first female points scorer.

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My fiancée is walking the Great Wall of China and raising money for Great Ormond Street in the process through giving things up all the way up to knitting things for donations. If you’re so inclined, rock up to her blog for details.

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#22 – Rubber Bands

Insert 'cuts' joke about a sport with balls here

Sometimes it’s the simple things that you find pleasure in; the satisfying click of a stapler, stomping in a puddle like a four year old or the compulsive addiction of ball in a cup.

For me, this pleasure lies in rubber bands. And in a not at all planned slice of convenient ‘Oh, how amazing you turned up just when we were about to show you 400 home videos of our grandparents snoring in Majorca’ luck, today happens to be 166 years to the day that the little blighters were patented.

Of course, everyone uses rubber bands; they’re a staple of any office-based landscape but are severely under-appreciated (at least until you really need one and can’t find one because you realise you’ve fired them all at arbitrary targets ranging from people to a disturbingly wide-eyed Tony Blair bust (yes they exist in offices, or at least did in mine).

It's just so hard to say no to his cute little face...

I’m not entirely sure there is anything you cannot do with a rubber band. There must be a reason why they’re always overbought by workplaces around the world, other than extreme boredom. But no, all these wonderful pieces of rubber are wasted being fired at anything in your path; co-workers, fiancées, pets currently on heat, areas where you pretend you aimed for. Their purpose is being exploited only to inflict pain and tiny impact marks on others. They can serve a much better purpose.

I’m sure there is a lot of interesting things about their history and manufacture to be said, but truth be told, that stuff interests me less than a day watching an ITV3 of the new most racist show on television, Midsomer Murders. I know what you’re holding out for, I can see the look on your faces. So here it is; a short list of great things to do with rubber bands outside of the usual ‘firing at people’ and ‘holding stuff’.

  • Cook some into a dish containing cabbage. The taste is so similar no-one will notice.
  • Give it to your pet rock as a playmate. He’ll never realise it’s not a sentient being; pet rocks aren’t known for their intelligence
  • Make a rubber band instrument. It’s likely you’ll sound better than Jack Johnson within approximately three minutes and 27 seconds.
  • If you can’t find a knife in the kitchen, squish the food with one so you can pick up more manageable chunks with just your mouth

A veritable feast of options; the versatility of the rubber band never ceases. Have a good tomorrow trying all of these out. And I mean all

#21 – Peter Norman

The other man on the platform

“Peter didn’t have to take that button, Peter wasn’t from the United States, Peter was not a black man, Peter didn’t have to feel what I felt, but he was a man.”  – John Carlos

To the left is one of the most iconic photos of sport, if not history, in the 20th century. Two men, John Carlos and Tommie Smith made a powerful political statement against racial discrimination at the 1968 Olympics, and were vilified at the time for their actions and kicked out of the games for breaching its apolitical spirit and death threats followed. It took 30 years for them to be honoured for their part in furthering the civil rights movement in America. Pretty powerful stuff and heroic for human rights at the time.

But what of the third man on that platform? Seemingly standing awkwardly on the podium like a mum at a strip club was Peter Norman, one of Australia’s most successful ever track athletes and winner of the 200m silver medal at the Olympics; even to this day, he is Australia’s 200m record holder.

A small but hugely important piece of human rights memorabilia

Yet he is less awkward in this scene than the picture implies. It was he who suggested that Carlos and Smith wear one glove each on the podium after Carlos realised he had left his in the Olympic village. He also wore a small badge identical to those on the other two athletes supporting the Olympic Project for Human Rights to show solidarity to Carlos and Smith. He was a man who opposed his own country’s ‘White Australia’ policy, which, though at the time being rescinded, was still discriminatory to Aboriginal Australians. He explained his actions through a simple but very effective statement after the ceremony: “I believe that every man is born equal and should be treated that way”.

But Australia was not happy. Their Olympic association dissociated themselves from him, ignoring him for selection to the next Olympics in Munich despite him easily achieving the qualifying time ahead of any other athlete (13 times, in fact) from his country and being ranked 5th in the world. The former apprentice butcher (sidenote, what an amazing career segue) carried on running but a case of gangrene from an Achilles tendon injury in 1985 almost cost him his leg and his active lifestyle came to an abrupt halt.

Even when significant time had passed and human rights movements had progressed significantly by the time Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympics, Norman was ostracised once again; he was the only living Australian Olympian to be excluded from a VIP lap of honour at the games, a huge snub considering that he was easily the most successful of their Olympic sprinters. The story does have a happy ending, though, as the US team were aware of this snub and made sure he was at the games, welcoming him as one of their own.

Norman died in 2006 after triple bypass heart surgery. In a touching tribute, both Smith and Carlos were pallbearers and gave eulogies at his funeral.

Thanks to Zena for the suggestion of Peter Norman. If you have an unsung hero you’d like me to write about, leave a comment.

#20 – Lord Percy Percy

I actually see the value in a lump of purest green...

“I certainly did. Many was a time, Percy, I say to myself, ‘I wish Percy was here… being tortured instead of me.” – Lord Edmund Blackadder

I’ll come clean with you; not all of these unsung heroes just came off the top of my head. Shock and/or horror. As anyone who researches their craft does, I’ve looked through various online lists to give me some ideas and any interesting ones that have popped up that I’ve found quite intriguing, I’ve read around to find out a lot more about them and whether they truly deserve to be an unsung hero.

Derek Arch, for instance, came from reading this list from a Sky News story a few years ago, and I found his place on there fitting. Stephen Merchant’s less so. However, there was another inclusion that irked me a bit more (other than f**king Banksy). At number six sits a dirty little man named Baldrick. Now sure, he comes from a series named after its main character, but he’s an immediately recognisable character. If you’re going to include anyone from the Blackadder series on a site like this, it has to be one Lord Percy Percy.

How to describe a 'Banksy' - Boring, boring and boring

Like Baldrick, Percy is an idiot. But he’s a likable idiot. Time to make a comedy confession; Baldrick is my least favourite character in the whole of Blackadder. I honestly want to pick him up and throw him into the clutches of some crazed Bieber-fans and tell them he’s been stalking him with intent. That or good old fashioned murder. I find him instantly dislikable, thoroughly unengaging and just plain boring (coincidentally, just like Banksy).

Percy, on the other hand, I could feel sorry for. Sure, he may have been just an upper class guy with the same intelligence as Baldrick, but there is much more to him. He wants to be accepted as a friend to Blackadder and goes out of his way to help him even at his own expense, both personal and economical.

However, the main reason I think Percy is an unsung hero is because although appearing in two series, he isn’t even the actor’s most memorable character, that instead being Captain Darling (and all the associated jokes that go with his name). But this is probably why I like Percy far more than Baldrick; Percy didn’t get stale because he wasn’t around for long enough. Baldrick was the same character for 4 seasons and a special; even Blackadder evolved over that time. Tim McInnerny had the good sense to walk away and only come back to a different character. But this double-edged sword has lodged the ‘most-recent character’ memory in people’s head and has forgotten previous roles. How can you look over the man who discovered green?!

#19 – Danny Wallace

Expecting a speccy white guy? Too bad.

“Please, I’m not who you think I am. I’m really not who you think I am.” – Evelyn Salt

Throughout my working life I have been plagued by the same problem constantly. It’s not the fact that I actually have to do work, nor is it being chased down corridors by purple and yellow-spined photocopiers gnashing their teeth hungrily because they were fed paper and now want some flesh as dessert. No, my problem is my name. In over half of the jobs I’ve had, there has been someone else in the company with the same one as me. This has caused huge problems with emails, post and pitiful ITV-level comedic confusion over the phone.

However, I am lucky in the respect that never have I been or have overshadowed any other person with my name either in the workplace or in the wider world; the closest I’ve seen is an American TV evangelist who has accumulated nearly 500 followers on Twitter. Wowee!

I do feel sorry for any everyday William Smiths and Martin Johnsons out there who shall forever be stuck in the shadows of the Fresh Prince and a World Cup winning rugby captain. But what if you were already a semi-famous sort of person who was doing this overshadowing but were instead, much like Edward the Mixed Traffic Engine, usurped by another person with the same name? Should we have sympathy for you then?

That's right Danny, you're just like Thomas the Tank Engine...

This is the case of ex-footballer Danny Wallace. Danny was the Jermaine Defoe of his day; talented and well-known enough but not quite at the top of his game (fortunately for Danny, he never had to play for Tottenham). He had a strong career at Southampton and for a few years at Man Utd, but fell off the radar in the early 90s with no real reason given. The sad fact was that Danny’s career ended before he was 30 when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which, sadly, sort of put a giant steaming turd on his football career. Like many a football player with a semi-successful career blighted by injury will continue to be (only the most rabid Ipswich Town fans will remember Kieron Dyer), he was forgotten.

While this is usually the end, with the player’s name cropping up in various pub quizzes and memories of the day being recalled, this story did not end. What happened was the emergence of a humorist by the name of Danny Wallace. Obviously.

Wallace wrote books, started a cult, starred in almost every single radio and TV show known to man as is the case with television’s minor celebrities and through exposure alone has become the first person people scramble to when trying to think of who in the hell Danny Wallace is, mostly when I explain I’m part of his ‘cult’ thing. Sure, they’re getting the right person but they shouldn’t be!

This isn’t a slight on new Danny; he’s a really nice guy, polite, friendly and all that. He raises money for charities and certainly does his bit. However, old Danny Wallace has also raised money for charity too. Even with MS, he ran and completed the London Marathon in 2006 and has started his own charity to raise awareness of and help sufferers deal with the condition. He’s also a nice guy, polite and friendly. In an ideal world, both should be respected for their work, but until then its my job to sing the song of the unsung. Sorry new Danny.

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Bonus extra link! Step forward Vi Hart, the mathemusician whose website is my favourite of the day (especially the maths doodles). Snake snake snake snake…

#18 – Helen Gibson

Probably the only cool Helen in history

“Life is short. Stunt it.” – Rod Kimble

I am an inherently clumsy person; falling over is intrinsic to my personality. I discovered this for myself at an early age when I attempted to ride a bike in a play race when I was four. I flipped over my handle bars and gashed open my chin and blood spilt everywhere; amazingly, my sister was more distressed at this than I was, but then I guess it was her fault I was out there in the first place (all she had to do was play dinosaurs with me and I’d have been fine).

The real kicker in all of this wasn’t the injury though; instead it was the fact I had been going at a monumentally slow speed coming up to the curb and, even worse, was on stabilisers at the time. Anyway, throughout my life I have had many cases of being ‘stability-challenged’ (cars haven’t helped), but by my computer game-playing teens I had forged an idea; I would become a stuntman. That way I could even make money out of my retardedness.

As you can probably tell, this dream never succeeded when I realised a) stuntmen weren’t *meant* to get hurt and b) I wouldn’t be that well known and rich at all. Poor stuntpeople, putting their life in jeopardy and getting little out of it, thought I.

Not a problem for Helen Gibson, though. Well, for a little while anyway.

How I fear me riding a bike will end up next time

She is generally recognised as the first female stunt performer and her role as a stuntwoman on the 1914 serial The Hazards of Helen gave her her big break when the actress she was doubling fell ill (and eventually left), starring for 69 episodes in the very popular at the time American serial. As well as being an actress, she had dipped her fingers in many career pies; a vaudeville a performer, a radio performer, a film producer, a trick rider, a rodeo performer and Santa Claus himself. One of these may not be true…

She lived the high life for a few years when single-reel film was all the rage and stunts were a huge draw. After The Hazards of Helen, she was given a new show (Daughter of Daring)  but Kalem, the company making the films were in trouble and this only lasted 11 episodes. However, she managed to secure lucrative contracts with other companies such as Universal and Capital and established herself as a star of her day. She even started her own production company to get her more starring roles; the sort of move I can see Charlie Sheen making in the future, the only difference being that he has no talent.

However, this is where things started going downhill; her husband, jealous of the success she found while he was a war, divorced her, her production company bankrupted her (also the sort of move Charlie Sheen would make) and worst of all for a stunt performer, she got injured. After recovering from her ruptured appendix, her popularity had waned considerably and once again, she was just a regular stuntwoman. She still loved her art and went into trick riding, before coming back to Hollywood to stunt once again until the ripe age of 69.

Most of her roles still remain uncredited and she remains unknown to this day. Fame and fortune may not have lasted, but at least she had fun. Fun wouldn’t be enough for me, mainly because I like my limbs too much.

#17 – Sloths

He seems quite happy for someone named after a "Deadly Sin"

“You must avoid Sloth, that wicked siren” – Horace

In my life I have seen a lot of animals; it helps growing up near a zoo, being a boy and playing with dirt in the garden and having sisters. Some of these animals are as grumpy as they come, such as a camel or the aforementioned sister; others are stoic and nonchalant, something you could easily level at an ant or a cat. However, nothing beats a happy animal; dog who bound about because “Oh my god! You are home! I thought you’d NEVER come back!”, penguins who waddle, bump into things and flop into water while making happy sounds. These animals are great because the happiness can be infectious, much like the theme to Peter and the Wolf or, again, one of my sister’s many, many diseases.

The happiest animal I’ve ever seen is a sloth. They have a constant smile on their face when awake or asleep and is probably the most relaxed animal you’d ever find barring a dog having a massage in a sauna while reading Which? Lamppost magazine. Or my sister in a mud-bath (OK, I’m going to have to stop these sister jokes).

The porridge went wrong again. No doubt my sister cooked it.

As happy as they are, sloths are given a bad image, mainly for their name alone. Being named after a deadly sin has got to be hard for an animal and sloths drew the short straw it seems. It does seem unfair that they’re lumped with a sin, while pigs aren’t lumbered with being called ‘gluttonies’ or rabbits being called ‘lusts’. This isn’t to say they actually do move a lot; they don’t at all, but it’s not because they’re lazy, it’s because they really don’t have the muscle capacity to; it’d be like someone criticising a tree for not getting out his way despite being given many warnings.

Sloths, much like American TV networks with sitcoms, love to recycle their crap. Although they only excrete once a week, they put their defecations to good use by burying them into the soil around the tree on which they reside providing their own natural fertilizer for their habitat.

The best thing about sloths though is that they have their own ecosystem. Much like my sist…. I mean, er, Russell Brand, organisms like beetles, algae (which provides camouflage from predators)  and other non-parasitic creatures reside in its flowing locks. It’s body is also the home to a certain species of moth (Bradipodicola hahneli, if you’re so intrigued) that lives exclusively on sloths.

So as we can see, sloths are brilliant. However, as we all know, they’re also great online video fodder, so I guess I should placate everyone who came on this page wanting to squee at sloths. Sigh, here you go. Just be grateful he’s not crapping next to your house.

#16 – Edward the Mixed-Traffic Engine

This was Edward's reaction to finding out he was being left out from the film

You’re all jealous. Edward’s better than all of you” – Duck

When I was around 5 or 6, Saturdays consisted of a very set routine; I would go with my Dad to take my Mum to work at a nursing home about 5 miles away. On the way back, he’d buy me a couple of packs of Merlin Premier League stickers for waking early and making the journey (my sister, if she tagged along got Neighbours stickers – seriously, Neighbours stickers?!). I would then spend the next half an hour filling my sticker album, hoping in vain my latest haul would complete it and make me a revered figure in the school playground (it never happened, but I did get within one sticker. I will never, ever forgive Gavin Peacock for this).

After this perpetually depressing activity, I’d need to boost my mood. After playing with dinosaurs and failing to ride a bike, I’d plonk a VHS tape (this was 1994 after all) into the video player, jump on the couch and watch some Thomas the Tank Engine. Like my nephew, I was obsessed with Thomas to the tune of TOYS EVERYWHERE too, with a giant drawer, bedspread, calender and, most proudly, a plastic cup I kept until it finally broke at age 15. At the time, my favourite engine was of course Thomas, though James with his red coat came a close second; regardless, I had toys for every train (up to a certain point when I moved my affiliations onto real things like Power Rangers). Or did I? There is one engine I can’t ever recall owning, not because I hated him, but because I barely realised he existed; his name was Edward.

Not quite Jack Donaghy...

For some reason, the marketing machine that was Thomas the Tank Engine seemed like it didn’t want to let people know he existed, so much so he wasn’t even included the big movie event of 2000, Thomas and the Magic Railroad (it even starred Alec Baldwin!). I always used to see toys and merchandise for Thomas, Percy, Gordon, Duck, even Henry, yet when it came to Edward there was very little. Although shown as friendly, happy, wise and respected, this image was presumably seen to be as exciting as a biscuit tin full of lard and as such Edward was shelved as a main character.

I can sort of work out why; despite not being cheeky, he was a blue, fresh faced engine with a chirpy personality. Sound like another famous engine with a whole toy range named after him from the same series? However, he, not Thomas, was the first engine created by Reverend W. Awdry and is the only engine to have a named crew. One episode even suggested Edward would ‘surprise’ everyone, though it’s not quite mentioned how; maybe a neat little card trick, maybe he’d eat a live scorpion or like any crazed old engine, whip his funnel out and sing in front of the Fat Controller. Either way, Edward is a train worth as much air time as any of the others.

As it turned out, though, Thomas was a usurper and happily revelled in the depression of other engines, even his elders. Edward’s stories dried up, Thomas became the star and the rest is history. If only Edward had completed *his* sticker album too, maybe he’d be the talk of the town now instead…

#15 – Michael Collins

If you believe they put a man on the moon, well, this wasn't this guy

There’s a moon in the sky. It’s called the moon” – The B52s

Back in primary school, I was part of a 60s miscellany show we put on to celebrate the school’s 30th birthday. According to the show, the three most important events to have occurred in that decade were The Beatles, the 1966 World Cup and, most famously, the opening of Hamford County Primary School.

While these are all obviously important world renowned events, the one placed at number 4 should arguably have been at the top of that list; the moon landing, and given I was playing world famous astronaut Neil Armstrong in the show, I bloody well thought so too. I had practiced my line to perfection and even got the step of the ladder spot on. I thought I’d have the coolest role (a freaking astronaut, what’s cooler than that?!), but I was wrong; I got exactly 73 seconds on stage, while the world cup winners got upwards of 10 minutes. The show was a hit, and everyone remembered it (for the next week anyway) for the 1966 world cup scene. My part was pivotal, immaculately portrayed and couldn’t have been done without me, but I was overlooked.

However, while I had at least portrayed Neil Armstrong and another person was Buzz Aldrin, there was no-one else on stage. Apollo 11 was a three man crew, so where and who was that third man and why can’t anyone remember him? Well, to answer your questions he was in the Command Service Module orbiting the moon at the time, his name is Michael Collins and it’s probably because his name isn’t striking enough. Sorry Michael.

At least he wasn't that fecking cat...

Collins sits among an exclusive group of 24 people to have flown to the moon, but while the other missions may have been important to NASA and the astronauts, his mission was the first. His role was obviously very different from Armstrong and Aldrin. While they were galavanting off studying and playing on the moon (I imagine a very very long, boring game of tag), Collins spent the day alone, orbiting, experiencing solitude to the extreme, especially when going through48-minute periods of no radio contact at all.

He was alone in a glorified tin can where no-one could have a chance of hearing him scream, and this was a time before computerised solitaire and Katamari Damacy. He made a connection with the module and inscribed his mark in history and also had a huge role in designing the mission patch of an eagle with an olive branch, along with the famous “The eagle has landed” phrase made upon landing. In essence he was the crew’s very own Peggy Patch.

He doesn’t begrudge the other two their limelight moment, instead he worried about their safety on the moon, in case the soup dragon or any rogue clangers encountered them and chased them with spears while he was away. He also firmly believed his role was just as pivotal and vital, given that it was a three man mission, and he was the third man.

After the mission, he retired from flying, landing governmental and NASA roles. I also retired from space flight after my mission, but to a more comfortable surrounding of pens, desks, football and shouting at England failing to win. Again. So me and Michael Collins are pretty much the same really, honest…

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Bonus extra link! A guy called William is doing an awesome challenge. Follow it here.

#14 – Nick Kellington

If a giant peanut and a smurf procreated, this would be the result.

“Iggle Piggle Iggle Onk, we’re going to catch the Ninky Nonk” – Derek Jacobi

My nephew is still obsessed with In The Night Garden, which is amazing considering he’s only four and distracted quicker than my nan with a bottle of vodka. Along with Doctor Who and Ben 10, the show has enveloped him to the usual extent of TOYS EVERYWHERE and constant repeats and re-watches on CBeebies and as such I’ve seen the wonders of the night garden often enough to know what’s going on.

The main guy seems to be this Iggle Piggle bloke, situated to my left here, who goes around carrying a red blanket, falling over and just generally having the same shaped head as David Cameron. Despite the obvious disadvantages of having such a features, he is the face of the show, and the character you’d immediately think of and associate with the Night Garden (despite the fact he doesn’t actually live there, but resides there often enough that if this were real life Cameron would probably be after this immigrant faster than you could say “I won’t cut the NHS…”).

Iggle Piggle has sold, in what I’m told is a technical industry term, a feck-load since ITNG first came out and is the most familiar face on kids tv. Today’s heroes’ face hasn’t, despite the fact he’s on tv just as often as Iggle Piggle. In fact he’s on tv pretty much whenever Iggle Piggle is; yes, Nick Kellington is the man who plays Iggle Piggle.

I always found it strange to believe that these larger than like characters have people inside them. For some reason, he Teletubbies, Tweenies, Bungle and their ilk were all either animatronics or just located in my brain under the sub-section “real-enough” (Not to be confused with another sub-section in my head containing Steps, Jim Davidson and the Twilight series labelled “real, enough!”). I remember being told that CBBC presenter was actually the woman who played Po from the Teletubbies and being surprised that she wasn’t either 8-foot or 2 inches tall.

This is what I imagine it to be like in one of those suits

Anyway, Nick was unveiled by the Daily Mail *spit* a few years ago. He’s an unassuming guy who the paper revealed as ‘a tattooed rocker’, because as we all know, tattoos are the single most shocking thing about a person. He isn’t even a rocker; he played the cornet and ukulele in an indie band and went to clown school (not the same thing as clown college). So it turns out, like most people who work in the entertainment industry, he liked to entertain people as part of a band and was a normal guy; great scoop Daily Mail!

He just seems a decent guy. He also doesn’t go around boasting about who he is, especially not to children; in an interview with the Guardian, he said “I never tell children it’s me. You wouldn’t tell children that Father Christmas isn’t real, would you?”. Hats off to him; I know a lot of people who’d say ‘that’s me, you know!’ to adults and children alike just for a bit of attention, especially if you spend all day in a sauna of a suit without being able to see much and feeling very claustrophobic. He’ll never get the recognition that Iggle Piggle gets despite being the man behind the face, but yet provides joy to millions of children. Truly an honourable deed.

The best bit for me though? A man who plays a nice happy, loving kids TV character also played an angry, war-hungry Sontaran in Doctor Who. Personally I’d love to see a Nick Kellington-special crossover episode; Sontarans in the Night Garden. My nephew would love it.