Sunday 24 May 1987

…All I’ve had to eat or drink today was an apple and three glasses of orange juice.
I am on my death bed.
I stayed in bed all day and didn’t go anywhere.
My symptoms are: ear-ache, blocked-up nose, dizzy, sick and utterly horrible.
I’m sorry…

Oh dear, yet another bout of ill-health. At least I made the effort to apologise to all of you, 25 years in advance.

Friday 8 May 1987

…I went back to school today despite my ears, cough and general illness.
Everybody seemed to have forgotten about me because
they acted as if I wasn’t there.
We had a maypole practice in the playground, which was awful.
Everybody felt stupid because people walking past kept staring.
Lunch was a hard-boiled egg, grated cheese, salad cream, lettuce, a
chopped-up apple, an orange slice, a baked potato and an iced biscuit…

Once a month or so we’d get vaguely healthy dinners delivered by the local education authority, which nobody really enjoyed but which actually sound quite tasty now. I like how the apple was chopped up, as if we wouldn’t be able to work out how to eat the fruit were it presented to us whole. Mind you, chopped-up apple avoids social ostracism, a subject on which I already had strong views and experience.

Tuesday 5 May 1987

…I hate the world.
I had the day off school today because of my illness.
It’s still the same.
It hasn’t got any better but it might have got worse.
I hate everything and everybody, especially MY STUPID EARS.
Why haven’t they got better?
This antibiotic medicine is supposed to work, but why doesn’t it?
I can’t tell whether it’s done anything to my cough because I can’t hear anything
because of MY STUPID EARS…

Enclosed within my diary at this point is the following self-portrait:

Rock bottom

Sunday 3 May 1987

…As usual I got worse today.
Both ears have now gone deaf and are both making different noises.
My right ear is making a sort of cymbal noise very loudly – BASH, BASH, BASH.
My left ear is making a noise like the loud strumming of an out-of-tune guitar.
Both noises are in time with my heartbeat.
My voice is completely inside my head and I really hate it…


Saturday 2 May 1987

…My suffering has got worse.
My right ear has gone deaf and is making funny noises,
like it was three months ago.
I tried to watch some TV, but I did NOT watch It’s Wicked,
that stupid programme that has replaced Saturday Superstore.
I did, however, watch a Dr Who film afterwards…

I wonder which one it was. Seeing as how this would have been only the second edition of the execrable It’s Wicked, presumably it was the second of the two Who films, i.e. the one which ends with Dr Who’s granddaughter running off with David Cameron*.

It’s a shame there wasn’t a third, as Peter Cushing was and always will be the definitive “grandpa Who”. For a start, unlike William Hartnell, he could remember his lines. Unlike William Hartnell, he could act. And unlike William Hartnell, he didn’t need three weeks off to cope with the strain of shooting 10 minutes of location footage.

Sadly a big screen Who trilogy wasn’t to be, as the second film flopped**. A pity, though it did free up Cribbins for Jackanory.

This is what we want

*This is true. Read the novelisation of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. That’s his name.

**Why doesn’t the voiceover man in this trailer ever mention the word “Daleks”? An army of bloodless, fleshless metal monsters doesn’t command quite the same menace (though I’ll concede the idea of Ray Brooks being “the boy with the knack” is unsettling enough).