Thursday, 18 November 2010

Dirk Benedict

Milton Keynes Theatre flyer for 'Dick Whittington'

Dirk Benedict is appearing in the Milton Keynes Theatre panto production of Dick Whittington this year, alongside Joanna Page (from Gavin & Stacey). Originally it was going to be Jason Priestley from Beverly Hills 90210, but he pulled out and therefore the aforementioned Benedict heroically took on the part.

I'm not going, mainly because the very thought of pantomimes fill me with the sort of abject dread that I used to feel whenever Christopher Biggins appeared on TV, or when my mum announced she'd bought tickets for the local amateur dramatic society's annual production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. There is also a secondary reason, which is that Amy Winehouse may be in the audience; the irrepressible chanteuse was gracelessly thrown out of the Milton Keynes panto last year after hurling cursewords and abuse both at the stage and the theatre manager. Then again, she's probably still banned. I'll therefore leave it to Mrs S and Daughter#1 to go this year and I'll find another decent excuse this time next year.

Benedict last appeared on our screens in one of the many long-winded series of Celebrity Big Brother, rarely without a cigar in his mouth. With the addition of the passing of time, this made him look more like Hannibal than Face, his character in the A-Team.

Face was always my favourite character in the A-Team, for two reasons. First, he had a really cool car. It was a white Corvette with a red stripe and it was way cooler than BA's chunky black van. I don't know much about cars, but when you're ten years old and you have a choice between a sports car and a van, which one are you going to choose? Exactly. The sports car wins every time.

Face and his 1984 Chevrolet Corvette

The second reason is because Face was rarely without some stunning pneumatic blonde model in the passenger seat of the aforementioned Corvette; whereas Murdock was known for being mad as a box of spanners and BA renowned for raw meat-headed aggression and a fear of flying, Face was the guy who always – always – got the girl. And I liked that – I had my first crush on a girl the when I was ten, and Face's antics thus made it seem perfectly normal; remember that up to that sort of age girls were odd, alien creatures, best avoided in the playground for fear of contracting a love of dolls or My Little Pony.

My classmates, who had over the years given me plenty of stick, mostly for my head of ginger hair, thought otherwise. I thought having a crush on a girl would somehow mark me out as mature and they'd somehow respect me more for my reasons for liking Face the best in the A-Team (surprisingly deep thoughts for a ten year old come to think of it). Alas, boys can be unpredictable and cruel, and instead they branded me as 'gay' for fancying girls. That's right, as a boy, I was branded gay, for fancying girls. What's that all about?

Anyway, I'm not, Face is still my favourite character in the A-Team, and I still occasionally think wistfully about that girl I first had a crush on (for the record, it wasn't reciprocated and I won't be tracking her down on Facebook). So perhaps that's the deep underlying psychological reason for not wanting to go to this year's panto.

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