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A Kinder, More Loving Me

Agonised over by Gustavo Lorca


SOOTY: With THAT water pistol.

I'm not a sensitive soul, but the human frailty apparent in those few grainy images, lost somewhere in the middle pages of the TV Times, damn near broke my heart.

It is a terrible thing to look into the eyes of a man who knows that his better days are long gone, to see the acute awareness of a life not so much misspent, as cashed in. But worst of all, is to have to witness it trapped behind a brave face put on to spare his shame, and our discomfort. Such a thing I find utterly crushing.

To this day, his features remain emblazoned on my mind. Beetroot faced, a pinch lipped rictus smile stretched round those yellowing ivories. With his father's puppets, one on each hand, clamped tight to his burning cheeks, Matthew Corbett gave his last desperate plea to the children at large 'want me, watch me, need me'. This thing that had been the mainstay of his life, for which he would willingly sacrifice both dignity and manhood. A family business passed from father to son, now sluiced down the pan to make way for 'She-RA, Princess of Power', and her poorly dubbed ilk.

I never enjoyed his show, that sneaky whispering bear, the bossy panda and the bleating moronic mutt, with Corbett at the helm it was all too much. Slapstick never really works with 8-inch high legless figures no matter how much you try and force it. In the end something was bound to give. I wish he could have retired before it all fell to pieces in his hands. I never wanted to see that kind of misplaced desperation; not on him or anyone.

I'm sorry, I've got to go.


'Bye bye, everybody, bye bye'