I received this recent anecdote from John Ward, designer of the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards.
It was a much normal day as such – weather atrocious outside – so I made myself busy indoors.
The doorbell rang.
I went to find a courier there holding a parcel.
On seeing me at my door, he asked for my address.
Then he asked for my name but he spoke in broken English as it was not his native tongue.
He looked at the parcel, then at me, then at his handheld wotever with an LCD screen. He checked to see if the details tallied and handed the parcel over to me.
It was my ‘dead cat’ microphone for my Sony camcorder to use alongside in lieu of the maker’s own mic when conditions are not too clever when filming outside etc.
I thanked him and closed the door and went back inside.
Before I had a chance to open the box up to see if it really was the item as ordered, the doorbell rang again.
It was the same courier.
He said he was sorry to disturb me and then said: “I know who you am!” in an excited tone.
Now armed with a big, beaming grin, he asked for my autograph.
Ever happy to oblige, I picked up a yellow coloured plain display card, A4 size, that was lying about and did the doodle/cartoon I normally do and signed it with: ‘Best wishes to Pieter’.
He seemed overjoyed, shook my arm out of its socket near enough and off he went.
A moment or two later, the doorbell rang yet again.
It was Pieter.
He stood there, pointing at the card: “Who dis?” he asked
“Me,” I said.
“No, no I want your real name!” he replied.
“That is my real name,” I told him. “I had this arrangement with my mother and father soon after I was born, so can’t really say too much about it with regard to my input on the matter as I was not consulted about it at the time.”
“Who dissa John Ward?”
“It’s me, the same as on the parcel you just delivered to me… John Ward.”
He looked slightly bewildered. He was not alone on that one.
“Is it you stage name thing you do when not doing you real work?”
“No, my stage name is Wells Fargo but I never really use it much, unless I am travelling overland.”
“I want you real name – Christopher Biggins!”
“I am not him.”
“Why you not him?”
“I never said I was him.”
I could see he was even more confused as he slowly looked me over and said: “I now go.”
Off he went.
Back I went to my parcel and, as I was finally unwrapping it, yet another ding-dong on the doorbell.
Yes, once again, I beheld Pieter standing there with a lady who I assumed was in the lorry cab with him.
“I want excusing as this is Sandra, my vera good friend.”
He wanted her to meet me, whoever I was or might be.
By this point, I was feeling quite unsure myself to be honest.
They looked at me, then at each other, then they mumbled to each other – I was not included at this point – and Sandra then spoke in perfect English:
“He is not Christopher Biggins!”
On hearing that, I was most relieved. But that was short-lived.
“It is,” she added, “that Ken Morley bloke who used to be in Coronation Street on the telly… But I thought he was dead!”
I said I had things to do as they turned and left to wander back to the lorry.
But, just as I shut the door, I heard Sandra suggest: “He could be that Brian Blessed bloke, though… He’s got the ears for him I think….”
Below: the irrepressible Brian Blessed and the inimitable John Ward as himself (almost)