Metro 48

Richard Herring: This is why I’ll never be Peter Kay

Friday 18 Jan 2013

My wife and I had an early morning appointment at the local health centre. Amusingly it’s called The Bush Doctors but only because it’s based in Shepherd’s Bush, not because they specialise in one particular bodily area, (though if I ever become a gynaecologist I know where I will be basing my practice).

We were there to get our travel injections done. This jab meant I would be protected from hepatitis for the next 25 years.

‘You might not need to have it again,’ commented the nurse in what seemed like a baldly honest assessment of my chances of making it to 70. I think she was actually trying to say that changes in medical practice might make the jab unnecessary. But I’m not sure.

‘You look a bit like the man who writes in the newspaper,’ the nurse commented, which made a change from being mistaken for Charley Boorman. ‘That’s me,’ I admitted. She was impressed.

‘Be careful or I’ll put you in my next column,’ I warned her.

‘No, you won’t!’ she laughed.

But, I am a man of my word. Hello! Thanks for looking after us so well. Even if you did prick me in the Bush.

No one likes the idea of injections but I usually pretend to be brave, chuckling at the mild pain, though fastidiously avoiding watching the needle going into my vulnerable skin. But this one hurt a surprising amount. And then once it was over it hurt some more. And continued to do so for the rest of the day. I wanted to cry. Instead, I just moaned about it.

This was made more embarrassing by the fact that a six-year-old boy also in for injections seemed totally unaffected and was smiling after his. His mum was taking him to get a present for being so brave. Where was my present?

I recall having to go for injections when I was his age. My mum told me we were going into town for my booster. At the time, I was a big fan of Bleep and Booster. They were an alien and a speccy schoolboy in a cartoon on Blue Peter – do you remember them? No, no one does except me.

This is why I’ll never be Peter Kay. He reminds people of things they think they’ve forgotten but actually remember, which sounds an easy way to become a millionaire but it’s not. All I can do is mention things that people have actually forgotten. Which they don’t enjoy as much. Do you remember the New Shmoo? Of course not.

‘Bleep and Booster?’I asked my mum, thinking I was going to meet my heroes. I didn’t understand that they weren’t real. Or memorable. Maybe my mum didn’t understand or maybe she thought this was a good way to trick her idiotic son into getting inoculated. Whatever the case, she simply replied: ‘Yes.’ I was apoplectic with excited glee.

Imagine my disillusionment when instead of meeting some cartoons, a man stuck a needle in my arse. Needless to say that I was no longer a fan of Bleep and Booster. Maybe everyone has wiped them from their memories for the same reason.

I also got given a sugar cube to eat, which for a sweet-toothed young fool was another massive treat. But again I was tricked – there was some weird medicine all over it. It hardly tasted of sugar at all.

Such betrayals, yet done out of care and love. But four decades on I still feel indignant. My mum and Bleep and Booster can go bleep themselves.

See Richard’s reworking of his hit show, Talking Cock: The Second Coming, on his nationwide tour.