It's that time of year that puts a spring in every resting thespian's step. Panto season is upon us and one person you'd definitely expect to be slapping on the grease paint is Melvyn Hayes. Best known for his role as Bombardier Gloria Beaumont in BBC TV's popular 1970s sitcom It ain't half hot mum, Hayes has chosen in many previous years to tread the seasonal boards. In 2007-8, however, a whole army of fans was disappointed.
On his website at http://www.melvynhayes.com/, the cockney funnyman - who once starred alongside Cliff Richard in The Young Ones - talks openly about his decision.
"I did have several offers," he says. "The last was to direct one in Stoke-on-Trent. I asked the producer if he'd like to spend xmas in Stoke. He said (after a long pause), 'No, not really.'" At which point, the Bombardier replied: 'Well, that makes two of us.'
Good for you, Melvyn. It might not be politically correct, but you're speaking your mind and we have to admire you for that - even if your direct approach won't win you too many fans in the Midlands.
"People ask me why I'm not on the television as much as I used to be," continues Hayes in the opening blurb to his web page. (It's certainly a question that's been on the mind of many Washed and Ready readers.) The answer is - apparently - that the former star can't cook, hates gardening and isn't yet ready to throw himself out of an aeroplane or swallow a kangaroo's testicles.
How we long for those halcyon days when television really was television. That bygone era when 18 million people would sit down to watch some Welsh bloke with a tache yell at members of the Royal Artillery Concert Party.