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  • Louise Clover

My Hero, My Husband

Updated: Feb 24



I have a very patient husband. And a trusting one. On many occasions, when I’ve been short on a TV extra, poor J has been hauled in front of the cameras. Once, it was for an appearance as a ‘single’ dad on Gloria Hunniford’s daytime show, sandwiched between Glo and a TV chef, where he was taught how to make an easy, delicious, nutritious meal for our young daughter - who, brought on by Su Pollard, refused to eat one mouthful of it.


Then there was the time I needed a strongman to rip a telephone directory in half, and I expressed to J that it was a difficult thing to do.

“Rubbish, it’s easy!” he retorts, picking up our Yellow Pages and effortlessly splitting it in two.

“You’re booked!” I exclaim.

“Really?” he gulps, clearly regretting showing off.


The next day, at the studio, he’s marched into Wardrobe where Derek, our enthusiastic costume designer, is waiting for him. A while later, J reappears, wearing a caveman outfit and a look of alarm. Then he’s handed a directory and it’s “Lights, Camera, Action!” as he gets ripping. However, no matter how much he bends, yanks or whacks the book, will the damn thing tear? Will it, hell.

Willing for a repeat of the strength he demonstrated in our kitchen, I persist with the filming for as long as I dare while ignoring the stares of disbelief in the gallery,

“That poor man! How can she do this to him?”

Eventually, I put my husband out of his misery and call a halt to proceedings, only for an electrician to mutter on talkback.

“Thing is, that directory was cold – to break them, they’ve gotta be warm.”


So, a day or so later, it’s Take Two and my poor spouse emerges from Wardrobe (and the evermore creative Derek) with the hem of his Tarzan costume only just covering his modesty. Then, he’s handed a hot directory, which has been pre-baked under an arc light, and sets about ripping it. But, despite his muscles bulging under the faux fabric armband lovingly stitched by Derek, and the beads of sweat popping from beneath his headband, the bitch still won’t give. Once more, I ignore the imploring looks of my colleagues until I can put my hero hubby through it no more.


Eventually, we cheat it off-camera by taking the scissor to the directory’s obdurate spine and pages, so that J could “easily” break it in two on camera.

Finally, he manages it prise it apart, only for a stagehand to sidle up to him.

“Thing is, mate,” he says, “to break ’em, they’ve gotta be kept in the fridge.”

It’s amazing that the fellow didn’t get lamped – or indeed, neither did I.


HOWEVER, there was an occasion where my husband SHONE on national TV! It was a primetime game show with big money prizes. At the top of each episode, the execs had deemed they wanted a big opener for our star, which we set about implementing. After one particularly gruelling studio recording, as a team, we had a few drinks in the hotel bar to unwind, although our celebrity host had unwound so much on booze he was practically incoherent. Unfortunately, his previous good humour also unravelled into a bullying temper – and I became the object of his ire as he set about verbally tearing me, plus my work prowess, limb from limb. Eventually, he succeeded in reducing me to tears, so I left the bar for bed. The next day, to his credit, he did apologise for his behaviour and no more was said of it, apart from hotel security letting on that said star had been found in the wee small hours wandering the grounds in nothing but a pair of cowboy boots.


That day, for one of the aforementioned big openers, the idea had been mooted that our presenter should have a sword fight – but where to find a good fencer at short notice?

Up I pipe,

“My husband used to fence for the North-West counties!”

“Book him!” came the response.

And so, once again, J is hauled to the studio and into Wardrobe where Barry, another eager costume designer, dresses him up as a very sexy pirate, complete with over-the-knee boots and billowing blouse. He is then introduced to our star.

“Ah, so have I got this right?” says the star, eyeballing me. “I have a go at you, and so you get your husband to take me on in a sword fight?”


Yup.


The opening is great, as he leaps and parries on the set of a ship, my dashing husband cleverly makes the hungover host look like Captain Jack Sparrow. Then, to rapturous applause, he runs onto the star’s sword and dies. (J has to die, because the star has to win). As I bask in reflected glory, bursting with pride at my handsome swashbuckler, one of the contestants, a glamourous woman in her forties who had won several thousand pounds in an earlier show, and had clearly been imbibing in the green room ever since, staggers over to me and says,

“How much for five minutes with the pirate?”

“He ain’t for rent,” I retort.


Later, when I tell J this, he replies,

“Five minutes? I don’t think I’d need that long.”


No matter. He’ll always be my hero. My husband.


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