Metro 163


I was sad to hear of the death of Keith Harris. The TV figures from my childhood are falling thick and fast, (one way or the other) and it’s sad that it’s a slight relief to see an entertainer’s name in the news to find out that he has, thank God, only died. Luckily Keith was the acceptable face of TV Harrises.

I remember seeing Harris and Orville for the first time on Summertime Special. Orville said, “I want to go wee” and Harris replied, “You can’t. We’re on telly,” but Orville insisted, “I want to go wee.” Harris chastised him, “You’ll have to wait”, but Orville screeched, “I want to go wee!” Finally Harris relented and said, “All right, well go wee then!”

And Orville screamed “Weeeeee!"

It made me laugh for about five minutes. It was the most daring and rude thing I’d ever seen on TV.

Keith’s fortunes seemed to be dependent on the how my generation viewed him. We loved him when we were 6 and he was riding high, found him naff and mawkish when we were teenagers and his career faltered. Then we were post-modern, ironic students we loved him again, allowing him to tour Universities doing a rude version of his show with Cuddles seemingly having sex with Orville in their box. Cuddles has not yet been visited by Operation Yewtree, but surely, given Orville’s age, it can only be a matter of time. I don’t think we can blame Keith for the actions or words of his puppets though. He did his best to keep them behaving, just as he did his best to stop Orville going wee on TV.

Now the audience who  loved, eschewed and then re-embraced Harris’ antics are middle-aged we realise, too late, how genuinely fond of him we were. The fact he genuinely resented Orville only makes me love him more.

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Feeding Phoebe is one of the duller tasks of being a father, (especially at 4am). It’s enlivened slightly by having to break off every few minutes to help her burp. There’s either the fun of a supernaturally loud belch emerging from this tiny imp, or the jeopardy that she might chuck up all over me. But the bit where she’s drinking is boring.

It’s hard to multi-task because you’ve got your hands full, but also you have to pay attention to make sure the bottle is still in the baby’s mouth and she’s not dribbling everywhere. I can just about get away with idly browsing the internet on my phone, but that’s tricky with a baby in one arm and the bottle in the other hand.

I am amazed that no one has yet invented a gizmo that would attach your smart phone to the baby's head, with another clip that would hold the bottle in place. I’ve googled it (whilst feeding my daughter) but no one has put this together even as a joke. I mean, obviously it would be quite dangerous as your view of your baby’s head would be obscured and she might be choking. But surely it’s worth the loss of a few babies for the convenience of internet browsage.

Alternatively some kind of bottle holder that you attach to your own chin would do the job. Like most parents I manage to half-arsedly fulfil my fatherly duties by propping the bottle on to my daughter’s face with my jaw, but some kind of pharaoh-like chin protuberance would facilitate this and give more freedom and less neck-ache. I would call it the Chinny-Reckon or the Tutankha-moooon. Jimmy Hill could be in the adverts. Maybe the chin itself could be full of milk, thus cutting out the middle man. I really want to take this to Dragon’s Den. If anyone has the know-how to make a Chinny-Reckon then get in touch and let’s see if we can get Peter Jones to chuck some money in. And if you buy two Tutankha-mooons you get a free Baby-Head iPhone Holder. I genuinely can’t believe that this is an untapped market.