Carole Cartwright has been the anchor woman for our local TV station for the last twenty years. Come rain, shine, plague, pestilence, hospital scandals, Royal visits, abnormally high tides or particularly gruesome murders it’s been her face that has beamed into our living rooms at six o’clock and ten o’clock every weekday evening warning us to stay inside with our doors locked for our own safety or get out and make the most of the warm weather for our own good. But not anymore.
In fact since the new Head of Programming set out on a mission to give Biddermouth TV a more youthful appeal we’ve lost quite a few familiar faces off our screens, and all of them women. Those that haven’t gone completely have spoken joyously about ‘discovering’ new career paths, mainly on the radio, or simply spending more time in the garden playing with their grandchildren. In fact in last months ‘Biddermouth Life’ magazine they ran an article called ‘Life Away from the Spotlight’ about Denise Maudsley who supposedly stepped down from presenting a programme on antiques to take up a new and exciting hobby in the form of golf.
‘She could have stayed on like Vanessa Duxbry’, said my friend Vera Preston. ‘After all you’d have thought she’d have been so fed up having to appear enthusiastic about other people’s old junk that after ten years she’d have been glad of the change.’
‘Perhaps she didn’t want to get up at two every morning to do ‘Celebrity Thighs Live’,’ replied Lila Morris. ‘I know I wouldn’t. No wonder Vanessa’s looking tired.’
Hilary Mason said it wasn’t as if they were real thighs either.
‘Marlene Dietrich has been dead for years,’ she added, ‘plus don’t tell me that was really a photo of the Queen hitching up her skirt to have a paddle at Weymouth. And what on earth has Fiona Waller done to her face?’
Well nothing apparently, according to her agent. But we all agreed she was the only one of the old timers who’d kept their original jobs.
‘Yes but for how long,’ asked my neighbour Beattie? ‘The whole point of being a TV presenter is that you can move your mouth so people can understand what you’re saying surely?’
‘And be able to blink,’ said Vera.
‘Preferably with both eyes at the same time,’ added Lila. ‘Honestly, seeing Fiona do the traffic round up last night was like trying to watch Wimbledon.’
Beattie said that was Lila’s fault for having a fifty two inch screen in such a small room.
‘No wonder your greyhound is always moulting. It’s stress.’
This comment only caused Lila to leap yet again to ‘Sparky’s’ defence. According to her he’d been perfectly all right until the slow cooker she’d bought off Vera exploded and covered him in hot beef stew. This cause Vera to say, yet again, that if Lila ever got the hang of answering her mobile phone she’d have got the message saying, ‘Don’t plug it in. It’s wired for Turkmenistan only!’
However leaving aside the on-going battle over the perils of buying stolen kitchen equipment off friends and the fact that Fiona’s twenty year old face no longer matches her fifty year old hands there was also the question of whether the delightful Kamilla Khan had moved willingly from consumer affairs to present ‘My Pet’s Done a Whoopsie’ at 4.30 pm on a Tuesday or not.
Hilary said not. She’d heard that there had been some battle over covering her head.
Lila said she didn’t know Kamilla did that.
‘She doesn’t, but they wanted her to and she was given the choice. Cover up or ship out. Mind you how much longer she can go on smiling over video clips of dog poo remains to be seen.’
However the one thing we were all agreed on was that replacing Carole with Tricia Hopwood was not a good idea.
‘Hopwood- O’Deegan,’ said Vera and we all looked as this was news to us.
‘That wretched Moira Hopwood cornered me in the supermarket last Friday and I got chapter and verse about how her daughter had been double barrelled since marrying one of our local footballers.’
‘And long before then,’ said Hilary, ‘if what I’ve heard is correct.’
Now whatever may or may not be true about that last statement, and whether or not CCTV footage really exists of Tricia and three members of Biddermouth F.C entering the Golden Fleece Hotel at three in the morning who can say, but giving a prime time newsreader’s job to somebody who couldn’t even get the weather report right seems an extremely unwise move. Even if that person is half Carole’s age and has much bigger breasts.
Of course to hear Moira talk you’d think Tricia had got it on sheer talent alone and already had a cabinet full of awards for incisive reporting. However having witnessed Carole’s last appearance on television you could see why she’d thrown in the towel.
‘It couldn’t have been easy for her doing a piece about road kill on the local by-pass when you’re used to covering royal weddings,’ said Beattie.
‘Or having to hand back to somebody half your age who’s sat at the desk you’d occupied for the last twenty years,’ added Vera.
‘And it was raining,’ said Lila. ‘You have thought they’d have at least given her an umbrella. I mean nobody looks good in a kagool.’
We all tried not to look at Vera who was actually wearing one at the time, but it wasn’t easy.
Now whether Vera’s hood had made her deaf, or as is more likely, she’s just biding her time where Lila’s concerned I can’t say but in twenty years Carole Cartwright never had a problem with ‘Pyongyang’ and never once referred to Prime Minister’s Question Time as ‘PMT’. Of course Honolulu doesn’t normally have eight syllables either but luckily there was a map behind Tricia’s head so we all knew where she meant…Moira said it was nerves.
To view my books ‘Bell, Book & Handbag’, ‘Tourist Trouble’ & ‘A Festive Falling Out’ all featuring Maureen, Beattie and their friends from Biddermouth on Sea please click HERE
All stories in All Things Biddermouth ©Ian Ashley 2016