After much deliberation and animated discussion, a panel of experts agreed that the following individuals were, without doubt, the most impressive examples of humankind ever to grace this planet.
In no particular order, then...
1. Keith Chegwin
Hyperactive television presenter, whose finest moment was undoubtedly "Cheggers Plays Pop", the seminal 1980s quiz show aimed at children. Cheggers would question several obnoxious kids, who were split into teams - a typical question would be "Which member of Spandau Ballet hibernates during the winter?" to which the correct answer is, of course, vocalist Tony Handley. Cheggers controversially married fellow kids TV star Maggie Philbin (see right), although she dumped him after he developed a fondness for Mr Jack Daniels. In recent years, Cheggers has appeared as host of "The Big Breakfast" and can often be seen on Channel 5 shows, the only viewers of which are myself and a small dog who lives in Cheltenham.
2. Tinker from "Lovejoy"
Tinker, the lovable rogue antique expert from "Lovejoy", has specialized in acting the part of dodgy geezers in a variety of low-budget television programmes and films. Look out for him in several movies produced by the Children's Film Foundation, in which he displays considerable subtlety in portraying a succession of baddies who beat up kids. While professing to be very knowledgeable about antique furniture and priceless art, he actually knows sod all. In fact, like most antique experts. Despite the heights achieved by his Hollywood co-star Ian McShane, Tinker prefers to shun publicity and is currently working in Birmingham Central Library.
3. Willy Fog
Willy Fog was a fabulously rich explorer, who travelled around the world in eighty days aided only by a cat, raccoon-thing and mouse. You could say that he was the Michael Palin of 1980s children's television. All together now... "Fog, I'm the one who made the bet, and I know we'll be exactly right on time! Fog is my name and I can play with my life in many ways, that's what they say! ... Eighty days around the world, to find a pot of gold just sitting at the rainbow's end in time, we'll fight against the time, and we'll fly on the white wings of the wind... etc."
4. Brian Dennehy
Undisputed king of the television movie, Dennehy prefers to play the part of embittered ex-cops or ace lawyers. His tough, no-nonsense attitude makes the poorest TV movie even worse, and if his name features in the credits at the start, it's a sure sign that you might as well switch off because the film's going to be rubbish. Occasionally he can be seen brandishing an offensive mustache (see left). Arguably his finest role was in the top action thriller "F/X - Murder by Illusion" which also stars the greatest actor to emerge from Australia, Bryan Brown. Dennehy and Brown are close friends, and spend holidays on each other's yachts, when they re-enact classic scenes from their movies.
5. Sandi Toksvig
Little Sandi is a Viking with no neck who delights in shouting with a strange husky voice. Her finest moment was undoubtedly featuring in the 1980s Saturday morning TV show "Number 73", which also launched the career of extremely poor children's television star Neil "Art Attack" Buchanan. Toksvig does very few proper shows nowadays, but often features as a guest on humorous quiz programmes such as "Call My Bluff", where she exploits her skills as a compulsive liar. She once made Denis Nordern believe that his clipboard had been burnt in the Great Fire of London, while Keith Chegwin has reduced to tears when he discovered that she'd lied to him about a new series of "Cheggers Plays Pop".
6. Peter Andre
Named after a sealion, Andre enjoys sitting in the sun too much and pouting in front of young girls who should know better. His songs can be instantly recognized because each one features the phrase "hey girl" very regularly, and he loves showing off his chest (which is always hairless - quite telling, I think). Andre can be considered a so-called "boy band", as he's a boy with a soft girlie voice and should definitely be banned.
7. Vince Clarke
Electronic music pioneer, who formed the bands Depeche Mode, Yazoo, the Assembly and Erasure. Responsible for the early Nineties ABBA revival, and for the most recent but one "Top of the Pops" theme tune, Vince's emotionless stance has been much imitated (by the Pet Shop Boys, for instance) but never bettered. Vincent Clarke, thou art the God of electro-pop.
8. Barry Norman
And why not?
9. Carol Vorderman
Lovely Carol is the thinking man's Heather Locklear - indeed, just think how amazing "T J Hooker" would have been with Vorderman as William Shatner's sexy cop partner. Much maligned for her frequent appearances on almost every television programme currently in production, Carol started off as Richard Whiteley's assistant on "Countdown", where she did his sums for him.
10. Jilly Goolden
Posh wine-sniffer from "Food and Drink" (mainly drink in her case). Generally not as good as Oz Clark, who has the advantage of being Australian - Jilly tends to be a bit annoying after a while. Apparently, her permed hair was once mistaken for a haystack by a shortsighted calf, and it was down to famous chef Chris Barry to rescue her from the troublesome bovine.
11. Christopher Biggins
Fat old tart often seen in Pantomimes playing the dame. Biggins usually wears outrageous plastic glasses which make him look stupid in a Timmy Mallett kind of way, and he tends to feature on daytime quiz shows quite a lot. In the photograph shown here, Biggins can be seen at Keith Chegwin's wedding - hence the copious amounts of drink available.
12. Joe Longthorne
14. Rod, Jane and Freddy
Singing trio who appeared on "Rainbow" - one of the greatest television programmes of all time, in the world, ever. The original line-up was "Rod, Jane and the other bloke", but apparently the other bloke was sacked after he started getting the hots for Jane (and who wouldn't?). Freddy was therefore brought in as a quick replacement, and his obvious homosexuality ensured that Rod and Jane's marriage remained a happy one. A little known fact is that the "Rainbow" theme music is actually only a shortened version of a 4 minute psychedelic epic which includes a trancy Pink Floyd-esque bit in the middle in which Rod sings about "babbling brooks" and "golden meadows".
15. Keith Harris
Talented impressionist Keith provided the voice for Orville the Duck, a weedy and camp green thing which kept moaning about how he wished he could fly. Much funnier was Harris's other puppet, a ginger monkey called Cuddles, which humorously snorted every few seconds as if he had a bad cold. Harris was very popular at Royal Variety Performances for many years, until somebody politely pointed out that you could see his lips move. He hasn't been seen since.
16. Chas 'n' Dave
Cheerful Cockney musicians, who are often accompanied by a nameless bloke who sits at the back wearing a hat and playing the drums. Very few people realize that Chas 'n' Dave now remix modern dance music for top groups - look out for their "My Old Man Said Follow the Van Mix" of the Prodigy's "Smack my Bitch up".
17. Alan Titchmarsh
The world's greatest gardener, who has attained the status of media mogul. Titchmarsh is amazingly popular with women, who wilt at his feet. His sly sense of humour ensures that the useful tips on gladioli he offers on "Gardener's World" endear him to his audience, while providing him with a large bank balance at the same time.
18. Gareth Jones (a.k.a. Gaz Top)
Gareth likes to think of himself as the thinking man's Keith Chegwin, but we all know better of course. His toothy grin and scraggy haircut have endeared him to several generations of children, and he is often seen in programmes such as "How 2" demonstrating how to construct a thermo-nuclear detonator from an old light bulb and a piece of elastic. At weekends, Gareth works as a top hair stylist, and is quite friendly with Carol Vorderman (see 9 above).
19. Paul Daniels
It still defies belief that in the early 1980s the BBC allocated a budget to make a children's programme concerning a yellow cone called Wizbit whose best friends included a giant rabbit could Woolly and a polluted swamp called Squidgy Bog. And as if this wasn't bad enough, Paul Daniels hosted it. That's PAUL DANIELS. Hard to believe, isn't it?
20. Roy Hudd
Without a doubt, one of the most irritating men in the world. For some reason, Hudd and his luvvy friends seem to think that he's the funniest actor ever born - sadly, the rest of the world tends to think that he's a bit of a prat. Hudd specializes in grinning at the camera, thereby accentuating the enormous gap in his teeth like some kind of degenerate rabbit. Extreme irritation, thy name is Roy Hudd.
21. Rod Hull (Deceased)
Aussie comedian Hull was inseparable from his puppet partner Emu. The ingenious method Hull used to control the puppet meant that he could strangle celebrities whom he didn't like, while feeling up all the attractive women. His finest moment was "Emu's World" which featured an ugly old witch called Grotbags who enjoyed coughing over children, while the hilarious running gag each week was when the audience chanted "there's somebody at the door" ad nauseum.
22. David Icke
23. Roland Browning
Fat kid from 1980s "Grange Hill", who was forever being insulted because he was a fat kid. He had an annoying friend called Janet who pronounced his name with two distinct syllables - "Ro - land" - in a really irritating way. It should be noted that this Janet is completely different from the Janet with a squeaky voice who runs theErasure Information Service.
24. John Noakes
One of the best "Blue Peter" presenters, Noakes left the programme in the late Seventies to travel around the country on a barge, aided by his trusty companion Shep. Every week, Noakes would moor his barge at interesting places and usually ended up either falling in a pond or else causing some tragic accident. In the picture shown here, he can be seen just prior to throwing Simon Groom's bongo drums in a lake.
25. Tony Butler
Butler is famous all over the West Midlands for his humorous catchphrase "On yer bike", but is sadly unknown in the rest of the world. A scruffy little character with a beard, big glasses and a brummie accent, Butler hosts his own show on Radio WM in which he invites listeners to phone him up so that he can say things like "No Doreen from Nuneaton, the answer isn't Simon Rattle's hair - on yer bike!"
26. Sir Jimmy Saville OBE
Silver-haired charity worker bedecked with excessive jewellery. He used to host the TV show "Jim'll Fix It", which boasted a superb theme song performed by reggae outfit Musical Youth. Musical Youth featured in a famous "Fix It" in which a young lad wrote to Sir Jimmy asking to appear "with a top pop group" - the unfortunate child subsequently appeared distraught when asked to perform the song "Pass the Dutchie".
27. Richard Amuzu
Largely indifferent, this character can sometimes be found in the West Midlands "on a wander". Richard is perhaps best known for his famous laziness, in that he never has enough time to reply to e-mail, update his web page, etc. because he's much too busy asleep in bed. He has a particular fondness for "retro" technology such as Amiga 1200s and vinyl records, and apparently uses CDs as plates and beer mats. There is also a very funny story involving Russell Dempsey and the counter on Richard's web page, which I shan't go into.
28. Heather Locklear
Lockers raised "T J Hooker" above the level of similar cop shows by her unique style of acting, coupled with the way that her police uniform fitted very nicely thank you. Somehow, William Shatner just didn't look so good.
29. Jimmy Smits
30. Toby Anstis
31. Dr Fox
32. Pat Sharp
Wavy-haired Pat is a top DJ who can be seen hosting kids TV quiz show "Fun House". His assistants are two blonde twins, whom he grew in a test-tube during a bizarre chemistry experiment as a child. They tend to run around a lot, and chant out verses such as "Pat, Pat, he's the best, He's got wavy hair and wears a vest".
33. Ken Hom
34. Noel Edmonds
35. Richard Stilgoe
36. Barry Took
37. Lionel Blair
38. Mrs McCluskey
39. Fred Harris
40. Bill Owen
Bill Owen plays the hilarious Compo in "Last of the Summer Wine", in which he demonstrates his subtle method of character development by falling off various moving vehicles, walls, etc. every week.
41. Dave Lee Travis
DLT (as he's generally known) used to be a DJ, but is now more frequently seen on Noel Edmonds' various shows, in which he appears as a "surprise guest" who delights in showing the audience pictures of Edmonds taken before he was famous. "Ha ha ha, here's me mate Noel playing on his swing in the garden! Ho ho ho, what a git he looks!" etc. etc.
42. Derek Griffiths
Hilarious children's entertainer, seen mainly in the classic "Play School" and "Play Away" but who also provided the songs for educational programmes such as "Look and Read". Who among those who have watched these series can forget the effortless skill in which Griffiths manipulated his audience? Indeed, his all-round entertainment value is second only to the King of Childrens Television (see 50 below). Derek Griffiths' style is now emulated by the Chuckle Brothers, who aren't half as good.
43. Tommy Boyd
Really bad kids TV presenter, whose finest/worst moment was the dire "Saturday Starship", which nobody watched because "Saturday Superstore" was miles better and had Sarah Green in it. Boyd now works as a composer of music for soft-core porn films, and is sometimes wheeled out for rubbish such as "Give Us a Clue", "Celebrity Squares", etc. in the event of a proper celebrity not being available.
44. Lionel Stander
Extremely ugly but respected actor who played butler Max in "Hart to Hart". His famous catchphrase, which featured at the start of every episode, was "When they're together, its muyerder". Interestingly, I once knew somebody who owned a dog called Freeway (like the one featured in "Hart to Hart") which was run over while urinating in the middle of a motorway. Ironic, really.
45. Jan Michael Vincent
Squinting heartthrob from TV action series "Airwolf", Vincent made brown-tinted sunglasses very fashionable for about ten minutes. "Airwolf" was one of the series of high-tech-vehicle-type shows very popular in the 1980s (others included "Knight Rider", "Streethawk" and "Blue Thunder"), but was probably the best of the lot. Mind you, it did beg the question how Stringfellow Hawke (the hero) managed to obtain armour-piercing tank-buster missiles on a regular basis to reload his helicopter.
46. Edward Mulhare
Forget David Hasselhoff - Edward Mulhare (the elegant Devon Miles) was the only reason to watch "Knight Rider". Actually, come to think of it, the attractive blonde mechanic Bonny (perhaps named after the "Blue Peter" dog) was another reason to watch.
47. Simon Groom
Farmyard yokel who presented "Blue Peter" during the early 1980s. One of his most memorable "assignments" was when he played the bongo drums for Mike Oldfield's new version of the famous theme music. Also, every year the team would have to visit Simon's farm to see how many new cows had been born - usually they would do something exciting like sheep dipping, in which Peter Duncan would inevitably fall in the mud and make a fool of himself. What a star.
48. The Current "Blue Peter" Line-up
Sometime shortly after Caron Keating left "Blue Peter", the programme became a bit rubbish. Some people say that the rot set in earlier - perhaps when Peter Duncan left, or with the arrival of Yvette Fielding. But nobody can deny that the current line-up of presenters are truly dire compared with the golden age of the past. My formula for revitalizing the series would be to bring back Keating, Duncan, Janet Ellis and Simon Groom (see 47 above), get a decent dog like Shep, and organize lots of bring-and-buy sales in which kids could get rid of their old "Blue Peter" annuals.
49. Kate Kopstick
Kopstick enjoyed a short-lived career as strange robot-type woman "Wiz" in children's TV quiz show named, appropriately, "Wiz". The theme music went "Do the biz, do the biz, do the biz with Wiz" and Kopstick pranced around in a weird silver costume asking simplistic questions - for example, a picture of Darth Vader would appear and Kopstick would screech "Who's that then? Darth who?" The actress now works as the support act to Paul Daniels' tour of Scarborough.
50. Brian Cant
Officially known as the King of Children's Television, this man could simply do no wrong. Starring in "Play School" and "Play Away", and providing the voices for shows such as "Trumpton" confirmed Cant as a genius. Who can forget his enticement to "see what's through the round window"? Ably backed up by Derek Griffiths and Chloe Ashcroft, Cant remains a flawless performer. The modern kids TV presenters just cannot compete - witness the buffoonery of idiots such as Anstis, Middlemiss and Buchanan.
The main purpose of my existence at the moment is to keep this listing as relevant and up-to-date as possible. Therefore, if you want to place a vote for a specific individual, please mail me and I will be only too glad to do an update (as long as it's somebody funny). Particular thanks must go to Mr Russell Dempsey for his great skill and generosity in locating photographs of obscure celebrities. This page is, therefore, an official EWS Production™.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT - I am desperate to find a photograph of Midlands DJ/TV personality Tony Butler. Anyone who can provide me with a picture of him wins a superb prize.