Basil Brush was no Scott Tracy, but I think he's finally won me over – Susan Morrison

Basil Brush always made me a little uneasy. I think it's because I first saw him when Derek Fowlds was his sidekick.

By Susan Morrison
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 26th August 2021, 11:44 am
In addition to being a long-standing entertainment star, Basil Brush is also a former (guest) editor of the Edinburgh Evening News (Picture: Ian Georgeson)
In addition to being a long-standing entertainment star, Basil Brush is also a former (guest) editor of the Edinburgh Evening News (Picture: Ian Georgeson)

Mr Fowlds trained at Rada. He went on to acting glory with Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister. It was a long and distinguished career. A good reliable actor.

I always got the faint feeling that he despised that fox. He used to read a story at the end of every episode and if Basil interrupted him, he’d grab that furry snout and snarl “Shut it’’ into Mr Brush’s face and I think he meant it.

Basil was a little too Terry-Thomas for my taste, with a whiff of the Benny Hills, although I guess Basil Brush is one of the few children’s TV presenters of the 70s not to be investigated by the polis for being inappropriate around young people.

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Liam Rudden got to interview him, and enjoyed himself hugely. Dear old Basil, like a lot of the oldies of our past, had come up to do the Fringe.

They do keep coming back, these past childhood heroes. We never really lose them. I accidentally started a rip-roaring row from the stage at the Stand last week by likening the Scott Monument to Thunderbird 1.

Won’t make that mistake again. Quickly put in my place by a table full of blokes of my vintage who told me it was Thunderbird 3. They were right.

Always felt sorry for John, stuck in space, rattling around up there in the ultimate social distancing, taking Zoom calls from his frankly unappreciative family lounging about the swimming pool.

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They had ghastly Hawaiian shirts. Not John. He was always in his uniform, peaked cap and all.

For the love of Pete, John, stay in your jammies, grow a beard and tell that show-off Scott Tracy with his hypersonic rocket plane to do one.

Actually, Scott Tracy was my first crush. My dreams were dashed when I discovered he was only about 18 inches tall, which even for a short-legged Glaswegian was a bit of a disappointment, although on the plus side, you controlled him by pulling strings, which has its advantages.

All the Tracy boys were named after the first five American astronauts, Scott, John, Gordon, Virgil and Alan, which is a neat pub quiz answer, and also raises troubling questions about Mrs Tracy and the men of the Mercury programme.

The peculiar thing about our childhood heroes was that they were nothing of the sort. Basil was an upper class twit who was bullied by his various assistants. The patriarch of the Thunderbird clan kept his sons on an island that had a rocket launching through the swimming pool. That’ll burst your lilo and no mistake.

Joe 90’s dad was even more egregious. He experimented on his son’s brain, presumably to avoid the paperwork for his university ethics committee, then hired the lad out to shady blokes in the Secret Service.

Bill and Ben were clearly whacked out of their tiny minds and Mr Ben was obviously working and signing on, what with all that disguising himself as a pirate or an astronaut.

They say you should never meet your heroes, but young Mr Rudden meeting old Mr Brush looked like a lovely exception to that rule.

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