Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Brief Tale In Which I Receive A Phone Call

I can tell right now that he’s going to become a nuisance…

I mean, there I was, helping Judy break the seal to an old chamber we'd recently discovered beneath the kitchen floor, when the phone rang.

‘Go and answer it,’ said Judy as she chiselled away at the crumbling masonry. ‘We can wait. This chamber hasn't been opened since the days when this land belonged to the old nunnery, deserted since the Reformation when it was closed due to dark tales of black magic and naked witchcraft.’

I was reluctant to leave her but I scrambled back up to the kitchen and through to the hall where we keep the phone in an old hollowed out bust of David Dickinson.

‘Dick!’ said a voice I recognised but couldn't place.

‘Yes, this is he,’ said I. ‘Who that?’

‘It’s Stan.’

My heart sank, as you know it might, dear reader, if you've read the blog over the last few entries.

‘Look Stan,’ I said, ‘Judy and I are a little busy at the moment. We've just found a long-hidden chamber beneath the kitchen and we’re just about to break the seal, written in strange mystical runes hinting at terrible fates for all who dare proceed. I should really get back to see what Judy finds down there.’

At that moment there was a sound like hell itself had just been cracked open. It came from the kitchen.

‘I'm sure you’re busy,’ said Stan, ‘but I thought I should give you a heads up.’

‘A heads up?’ I repeated as a hot breeze suddenly whipped through the hall and I tasted sulphur. ‘What about?’

‘About the ticket inspector.’

‘Look Stan,’ I snapped. ‘Stop talking in hints. I'm not going to stand here being the pings to your pongs as you say things like “It’s him” and I say “Who’s him?” “The man,” you say. “What man” I say. Just tell me what you’re going on about!’

‘It’s my new blog. It’s up and running and today I'm posting my infamous letter to the ticket inspector at Manchester Piccadilly station. I thought you might want to know in case somebody accuses you of victimising a man who was only doing his job. I know how touchy you get about your public image.’

There was another noise from the kitchen, of crockery being smashed, a kind of barren wailing, followed by a blood curdling cry I've only heard one other time in my life, when I accidentally dropped a crystal ball on Russell Grant’s toe.

‘I don’t care what you publish,’ I said. ‘Don’t ring me again unless you have something really important to tell me.’

With that, I rushed back to the kitchen where I found Judy standing by the sink, wiping sweat from her forehead. In her hand, she was holding her favourite lump hammer which, had I livelier mind, I might have believed was covered with ectoplasm.

‘Are you okay?’ I asked.

She nodded to the hole leading down to the long abandoned chamber.

‘You didn't break the seal did you? What happened?’

‘Do you remember that episode of “This Morning” when Denise Robertson tried to make a flange pudding and she forgot to add the egg yolk yet still went ahead and put it into an oven already preheated to Gas Mark 4?’ She nodded grimly. ‘It was even worse than that.’

I gave a shiver and looked down at the hole.

‘And you still want to use that room as your new underground writing den?’

Judy looked at me, her wonderful face full of the fierce determination that made me so proud to become her husband that crazy night at the Kentucky Fried Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas so many years ago. ‘You've kept me in that attic long enough, Richard,’ she snapped. ‘And I'm stick of discovering that my manuscripts have been nibbled by the squirrels. You promised me an underground lair and I intend to have one.’

And one she will surely have, dear reader. One she will surely have…

Friday, 28 December 2012

Up With The Walnuts

Phew! What a solid nine they were! I was out as soon as my head hit my Tempur pillow. My documentary (‘Richard Madeley Meets the Walnut Smugglers’) better win me another BAFTA because my dreams were deep and meaningful but crammed with more walnuts than a slab of Marks & Spenser Deluxe Christmas cake. I can’t stop thinking about them! I see walnuts wherever I look. Walnuts, walnuts, walnuts. I was watching BBC News 24 over Christmas and they had a programme about Dr. Jonathan Miller, who has always been one of my favourite TV eggheads and a man on whom I modelled myself in my early career, in that he’s witty, urbane, knowledgeable about everything, multilingual, and looks good in corduroy slacks. Mind you, I say it was Dr. Jonathan Miller but I could only see a walnut speaking German and discussing Shakespeare.

Anyway, I’m up a bit late but I wanted to report in lest some of you were worrying about Judy’s peanut allergy. Despite my still reeking of walnuts, she looks no different and is currently up on the roof blocking the holes where squirrels have been getting into her attic studio. Her novel is coming along great (thanks to all who have been asking). She tells me that she’s on page 1384 in a size 10 font, the part when Baron Samuel Dingleberry attempts to seduce Norma behind the coal shed but is interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Crotch on his lard omnicycle.

Today I’m off to meet some ex-walnut mules and to learn about the problems they suffer when they stop cramming their insides with the seasonal nut. But before I go, I must commend Stan. He’s on a roll, though I’m sure he’ll never keep it up. His letter to the Advanced Hair Studio reminds me of a funny story I can’t possibly repeat but which ended with my nethers resembling a North Sea seagull after a particularly bad oil spill.

Walnut Smuggling

Apologies for the lateness of the update. I’m also a little bit bleary-eyed this evening. I'm just back from the Port of Dover where I spent the day hiding in an industrial-sized rubbish container as part of my new hour-long documentary, ‘Richard Madeley and the Walnut Smuggers’.

Did you know that 23% of the walnuts consumed at Christmas this year would have been smuggled into the country up the alimentary canals of so-called 'walnut mules'? These poor people cram themselves with dozens upon dozens of whole walnuts before coming over from France, usually in loose fitting clothes and springy shoes to prevent the dreaded 'walnut cascade'. It’s an amazing story and should be an amazing documentary, airing sometime on ITV in the spring.

Walnuts aside, I’m updating my blog to tell you that my friend and professional lookalike, Stan Madeley, has launched a new blog. He’s calling it his ‘Dead Letter Box’ and he’ll be updating it daily (unlikely, I say!) with some of his unpublished letters to the rich and powerful. Head over there and I’m sure Stan will explain it better than I ever can. To be honest, I just want to get into the bath for a long soak. My clothes are ripe with the smell of walnuts freshly dislodged from their smugglers and Judy has already refused to let me in the front room. Can't say I blame the old girl. Can the smell of walnut oil set off a peanut allergy? I don't know but I guess we'll have discovered if it can by the morning!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Stan Madeley on the Radio...

And hello Stan Madelyites! What that fool, Uncle Dick, failed to remember was that I, Stan Madeley, still know Dick's password to access this blog and I can now clarify a few points erroneously made by my namesake and nemesis.

I am indeed appearing on Radio 4 tomorrow morning between 9 and 10 but the decision not to appear with Dick was made entirely by myself with encouragement from my wife, Sandra (54), who, she would like it made known, invented the whole fish through the letterbox ploy, as well as any ploy involving an iron perched perilously on a bedroom door, a wheelbarrow down the stairs, or hot fiery pins in the y-fronts.

The wonderfully spry, witty, and double-jointed J.P. Devlin did indeed join me on my tour of North West working men’s clubs yesterday and we met up in Warrington where I was playing the Parr Hall with my new four-piece cabaret jazz band/thrash metal combo, Halitosis Jones, named after our bassoonist who can be sure to clear out the front four rows before we’ve finished opening with ‘In The Mood’.

Listen in as I set a few things straight such as why I am entirely correct in my accusation that lapdancers tattoos make them squeak more on their poles, why coal should be reclassified as a root vegetable, and I explain how I’d solve Greek debt in three easy steps beginning with hostage taking, a weekend in Vegas, and putting everything on red.

Uncle Dick on the Radio

Aftenoon Madeleyites! Uncle Dick here with your mid-afternoon media update.

I’ll be on Radio 4 tomorrow morning with that blithering idiot Stan Madeley. I know I once said that I’d never appear on the same bill as the man whose lookalike career once led me to be chased through the streets of Soho by an angry mob of lapdancers but I think it’s time that we made peace. As you might know, Judy is trying to break into the lookalike market with her new Judy Garland act and, with Stan’s contacts in the business, we hope she’ll be singing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ in working men’s clubs across Stockport as early as the New Year.

Of course, that doesn’t invalidate anything that I’ve previous said about Stan. Between you and me, the man is still a bald buffoon but it’s his first radio interview and I’ll be interested to hear what he has to say about pretending to be me on a semi-professional basis. I’ll be getting there bright and early ahead of broadcast, with the interview scheduled for somewhere between 9 and 10AM.

I’m told that Stan has already recorded his part of the interview. I’ll share the bill with him but I’ll be damned if I’m going to be in the same room as the man. There was a time when I trusted Stan enough to run this blog in my absence but he made such a terrible mess of things (including the insulting remarks he made about lapdancers and their tattoos) that our animosity became deep, terrible, tragic, and occasionally involving one of us slipping fish through the other’s letterbox, though that was mainly Judy’s idea.

So there you have it. Listen in or don’t. Just so you know: I’ll be conducting the entire interview wearing my bottomless cowboy chaps and Movember moustache which runs from my nostrils to my armpits after looping twice around my chin. Among the many topics I hope to cover are: how to build a wigwam, Scandinavian otter conservation, and the state of the English horseradish in a word gone pickle crazy.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Still No Tits

I always said that the media can be as cruel as the natural world. I now find myself saying that the natural world can be as cruel as the media.

My latest broadcasting venture it’s clearly heading the way of our old show on Watch. I mean, of course, The Official Richard Madeley Appreciation Society Bird-Box Cam. We’re currently broadcasting the second episode of Season 1 and the guest list is worse than the days when we worked out of Liverpool’s docks. Not a single tit has stuck its beak in the box and, as I type this, Judy is standing in the garden making dark threats to every passing chaffinch.

Her latest suggestion is that we market the box as the antidote to celebrity culture. After all, there’s something remarkable Zen about staring at an empty bird box. I’m not so sure about that plan, though I still hope to lure Fred Talbot into the garden and I’ve been draping brightly knitted woollens on the bird feeder every morning.

So all I can say is: stay tuned! This bird box is prime real estate and if it doesn’t get a nesting pair of tits within the month, I’ll make the hole bigger and try to attract a couple of first time buyers happy to find a place to live inside London for less than a grand a week.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Tit Update

What a beautiful day! I opened the curtains on immaculate blue skies and a verdant plenty aka ‘the back garden’. I also saw plenty of tits frolicking around the bird bath, though, as you can see via the live webcam feed, none have gone near the box. It’s really disappointing given my big tit ambitions. The box is big enough for a pair of tits but I’d happy to look at just one. As Bill Oddie always tells me: a tit in the hand is worth two in the bush and there’s nothing you can’t tell Bill about tits. He’s the only man I’ve seen with a tit perched on each shoulder, though that was in a Soho nightclub after a couple of drinks…

Okay, Judy has just told me to stop making vulgar comments regarding tits, which I hadn’t noticed I was making until she pointed it out.

Other than the lack of tits, big or small, I have little to report. I have nothing planned for today. Later on, Judy will be getting her jugs out in order to practise for the Sussex Jug Band Competition and I plan on having a couple of pretty large baps for my lunch. I’ll then go up into the attic to tinker with the big chest we keep up there but haven’t opened it in a while. The lock is rusty so I might have to put some oil on its nipple...

Right, Judy says she won’t warn me again. I’ll leave this tit update here before anybody else criticises me. The last thing I need at the beginning of a new week is a pair of knockers…

Oh, that's torn it. Judy is reaching for her mutton mallet. I better post this and get out of here.

Later pardners…

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Official Richard Madeley Appreciation Society Bird-Box Cam

As any good looking man with the world at his fingertips will tell you: life rarely runs as smoothly as your trouser press.

Take as your shining example my life of the past seven days. No sooner had I returned to my blogging career than life leapt in the way of me and my keyboard, whipped open its coat, and shook its money-maker at me with an indecent glee.

So, to begin, I want to apologise for my silence. It was as unacceptable as it was necessary. You see, Spring has just sprung and, as you know, last week Judy and I (or as I like to put it, me and Judy) decided to sponsor a hedgehog. It was going to be the big hit of the season, the talk of celebrity salons across London, and I was going to give it a run out in aid of Sports Relief by putting it on a leash and dragging it down the Mall for the length of a tarmac mile. Only, when the moment came to wake it, it turned out the hedgehog sleeping in the potting shed wasn’t actually a hedgehog. It was my old auditioning quiff from my days as an amateur thespian. The upshot was that there’s no hedgehog to sponsor.

‘You’ll have to do something,’ said Judy as she watched me try on my quiff for old time’s sake. ‘You’ve promised people an exciting sponsorship deal.’

I could tell she had something in mind. ‘You have something in mind,’ I said. ‘I can tell…’

'As it happens, Richard, I do.’

I gazed at myself in the mirror and tears came to my eyes at the thought of a life I could have led. ‘They said I had everything to become the new Richard Burton,’ I sighed.

‘You mean multiple marriages and handiness around a stiff drink?’

I scowled at her with a scowl made all the more stinging because of my stiffening quiff. It didn’t seem to have much effect.

‘Instead of sponsoring a hedgehog, I want you to sponsor a bird box in the garden,’ she said, ‘and I want it fitted with the very best surveillance camera that money can buy.’

Suddenly, the reason for Judy's late night phone calls and the sound of hooting into the early hours became clear.

‘You’ve been talking to Bill Oddie again!’ I said. She didn’t deny it but adopted that look that women tend to adopt when thinking about the nation’s favourite bearded twitcher.

So there it was: the challenge laid out. And I’m pleased to say that after a week of effort, I’ve finally managed to construct, wire, and install the official Richard Madeley Appreciation Bird Box With 24 Hour Surveillance.

The box is now three meters in the air and fully powered and providing a feed live to this blog. However, here are the things I’ve discovered over seven days spent building this remarkable feat of civil engineering.

Firstly, it’s impossible to buy wood these days. At one time, you could go to the shop on the corner of your street and buy a length of timber. It took me two days before I realised that it’s nearly impossible to source decent wood locally. I even trailed to B&Q and still couldn’t find anything shorter than 8 foot, which was far too long to carry on my pushbike. I ended up buying a flat-packed set of drawers and building the box out of those. The only problem is that I now have half a dozen knobs I’ve no use for.

The second thing I discovered is that it’s very easy to drill through your knee when not following correct health and safety advice. Thankfully, it wasn’t my knee and Judy’s making an excellent recovery.

The third realisation I arrived at is that Judy is a natural up a ladder.

And finally, after a week of hard work, grotesque expenditure, arguments, ladder abuse, mild electrical shocks and severe electrical shocks, I now realise that birds don’t immediately leap at every new vacancy in the property market.

So, watch this space or more specifically, watch the space to the side of this blog. Even if I don’t update, there will always be a picture of an empty bird box to look at and admire.

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Mask Competition

In a bit of a rush today but I thought I’d mention the official ‘Richard Madeley Appreciation Society Mask Competition’. It’s the mask competition that everybody is talking about!

You might have noticed that with the help of ex-NASA scientists I’ve developed a mask to mark my spectacular return to the blogosphere. With this mask you too can pretend you have a Twitter account and write a blog. The mask was all Judy’s idea. One morning she turned to me and remarked ‘the world really couldn’t handle more than one of you’ and that put the idea in my head. The result is a full colour printer-friendly reproduction of my face but, depending on demand, I might yet release a second mask of the back of my head.

I’ll also be sending out prizes to anybody who can email me a photo of themselves wearing the mask in an interesting location. Please: no nude or swimwear photos unless you adhere to this website’s strict guidelines for adult-related material (you must be over 18, under 25, female, buxom yet lithe, preferably double jointed, and, if possible wearing rubber spats/stockings/earmuffs whilst in the nude or wearing swimwear).

The photographs will be used for my personal edification, though I reserve the right to use them in any way I see fit including (but not limited to) t-shirts, books, magazines, and blackmail.


I’m still in a rush today but I took time to check my inbox and, lo and behold, I discover that somebody has actually sent me a photo of themselves wearing my mask! There are only a few problems I have with the photo, given my strict rules about adult-rated material. So, "Mr. J.", whoever you are, I thank you for the effort but ask that you keep your mobile phone snaps to yourself in future.

The Friday Lookalike

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Professor Madeley's Thursday Brain Squeezer

Meet the Newest Member of the Team

You might have noticed but are too polite to mention a certain aroma coming from this blog. Dare I say it’s an earthy smell, not unlike that of the ancient fertility gods getting liberal with the Lynx For Men? Well, to mark the beginning of Spring (on the 20th) and my newly aroused fecundity, I thought we’d do something a little special. So this year, ‘The Richard Madeley Appreciation Society’ is proud to announce that we’ll be sponsoring a hedgehog. That’s right, a hedgehog. And after some feverish voting around the Madeley breakfast bar, we’ve decided to name him ‘Ralph’.

Judy found the little spiker snoozing in the potting shed. As you might recall, Judy used to collect clippings of motor-homes but, since her ‘Towbar of Rage’ (The Sun’s headline, not mine) incident on the A49 outside Ludlow, her passion waned. She eventually dumped her caravan clipping collection in the potting shed, where they provided a winter home to wildlife.

The hedgehog is expected to emerge form hibernation at exactly 8AM on the 20th since that’s when Jude says I’m allowed to start poking him with a stick. And once he’s up and about, I’ll release more details about the ways the sponsorship deal will work, along with our tour schedule as I exploit Ralph in the cause of light entertainment up and down the country. However, I can say that preparations are going well and I have some exciting projects lined up for the little fleabag in 2012.

In the summer I’ll be touring the UK with a one man show in which I play all fifty-six presidents of the United States. It will be a mammoth undertaking made even more challenging because Ralph will be playing Lincoln’s beard, Taft’s moustache, Teddy Roosevelt’s hairpiece, and one half of Ulysses S. Grant’s mutton chops. And what’s more, it will be doing it without any aid other than a strip of double-sided tape stuck across his belly!

August will see me play a series of practical hedgehog-centric jokes on my showbiz friends. For example, I intend to leave Ralph in Fern Britton’s salad bag. Note to self: Danger of suffocation so I must make holes. Another note to self: does Fern even have a salad bag? Yet another note to self: Judy says she does but it’s technically a plastic bucket and usually contains spiced meat.

Before then, I will spend April filming a new reality TV show in which one man (me) and his hedgehog (Ralph) work to clear Chigwell of its criminals and/or slugs. High chance that I might get knifed, beaten up, or turn rabid (again) but this will make for a great series finale! Note to self: get Fiona Bruce to provide the voiceover.

Concurrent to these projects will be my new online presence. Judy has agreed to paint a toothbrush moustache on Ralph and I’ll launch a new website for hedgehogs that look like Hitler. I’ve already bookmarked the domain name: We aim to make a million within the first year with all proceeds going to animal charities and/or/most likely me.

More news to follow.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Tuesday Quiz Question

Save Me The Hairy One, Norman!

‘Hey Dick! Long time no see!’

I looked up and saw the postman’s face peering through the hedge. I just waved and hurried back into the house, conscious that my Mediterranean tan might look a tad decadent on a dreary North London morning in the middle of March.

‘You know, you wouldn’t feel so out of place if you put on some clothes,’ said Judy when I happened to mention this incident over our smoothie-maker a few minutes later. ‘Lord knows what the neighbours think when they look out to see you bending down to pick up the milk.’

‘Oh, you’re only jealous because I sing the body electric,’ I replied, quoting my favourite poem by Walt Whitman, written shortly before he took up yodelling and changed his name to ‘Slim’.
Judy snorted a laugh but I could tell she was rattled. She might mock my youthful energy and zest for free living but she also knew I couldn’t help it. The moment we’d arrived in Sardinia, naturism had become my new thing. Now that we’re back, I’m finding it hard to adjust. Frankly, a man spends so much time under that hot sun that his body learns to hate the restrictions of jollies and vest. And when a man has a body such a mine, one has an obligation to treat it well, polish it daily, and to show it off whenever possible. It’s a bit like owning an Audi.

‘You know,’ I said, sitting down at the breakfast table with my red meat and muffin smoothie, ‘I wonder if we’ve done the best thing. I know you wanted to come back, Jude, but I could have retired out there under the Sardinian sun, just you, me and the friendly goat herders.’

‘The only reason you liked it there was the fact that you could talk to those herders for hours and they’d never tell you to shut up.’

‘What can I say? Sardinians are a pleasant people. They have all the ebullience of the Italians but without the prostitution rings in the corridors of power.’

‘They also didn’t understand a word of English. What you wouldn’t accept was that they’d never debate the fluid dynamics of the sun’s core no matter how many times you tried to explain nuclear fusion. No, Richard, you are better here where we can put your energies to some use devising some new ground-breaking talk show format based around obesity, gypsies and/or weddings.’

I suppose she had a point, which I expect you to agree with. Yes, I’m talking to you, Norman.

Norman, you are the reader who waited for my return and I’m sorry that you’ve had to wait so long. Sardinia was my idea of heaven minus the afternoon slot on Channel 4 and too little choice in the range of soft cheeses. But now that I’m back, I intend to breathe new life into this blog. A hot spicy breathe, Norman, fragrant with salsa and beans and maybe a little truffle. And I’m doing it all for you.

You see, my old friend, I did receive all the emails you sent me and I’m sorry that I ignored you for so long. But I now I’m back and ready to tell you the truth. So, no, I’ve never shaved my armpits except for a brief period in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War when it was all the rage. Yes, we do intend to attend the London Olympics but only in a sporting capacity. I hope to qualify for the marathon now that my giant transparent jelly costume has arrived. As you know, Judy will be dressed as a custard.

As to your other questions, I’m afraid I’ll have to be quick: a) Formica, b) Lewisham, c) cheese pizzas, d) a big Hungarian, e) squirrels, and f) never in goggles except once on my honeymoon.

Finally, you ask me I’d like to adopt one of your kittens. Such a generous offer and I’d be a fool to refuse. So, save me the hairy one, Norman. Let’s call it ‘Hope’, for that’s the new theme of this blog. I return to you a changed man. Positive outlook, clean smile, and buttocks browned and blessed by the warm Sardinian hills and ready to blog again.

As I used to tell my friends up Punta La Marmora where the goats roam free: I’ll see you all tomorrow when I’ll explain the basic logical operations of semi-conductors, eleven ways to sex a mollusc, and how to do CPR using a couple of jumper cables and a bag of lemons.