Saturday, 17 November 2012



Long ago and far away, in a dimension which can be accessed only
through the mystical portals of memory, I popped into the neighbour-
hood newsagents on my way to school one day and purchased a copy of
TV CENTURY 21 #3. Within this great comic, paradoxically dated a
hundred years in the future, was a sheet of card from which could be
pressed out a model of FIREBALL XL5.

When I got to school, before lessons began I sat and assembled the
folded pieces into their predetermined shape while my teacher and
classmates looked on, fascinated. I wasn't one who particularly enjoyed
being the object of of such rapt attention, but I was so engrossed in what I
was doing that I paid them scant heed and just got on with it. When I had
finished and the teacher had expressed approbation for the fruits of my
labour, lessons began, and although I couldn't tell you anything else
that happened that day, that particular moment is a fond recollection
nigh-on forty-eight years after the fact.

Relax - mine doesn't have 'Northernlad' stamped across it

I never saw that cardboard 'model' from childhood again until nearly
twenty years later, when it was reproduced in black and white on the back
cover of  S.I.G., a magazine devoted to the puppet programmes of GERRY
ANDERSON. I remember thinking that it was a shame it wasn't in colour
and hoping that someone would one day get around to producing a
proper facsimile of this free gift which I greatly coveted.


Well, almost three decades on, someone has finally done it. Printed on
card ('though not perforated for pressing out), it enables nostalgists like
myself to relive a part of their cherished childhood and bridge the span
between past, present and future. Future? Sure - after all, the comic was
dated February 6th, 2065, so technically it's not due to be published for
another fifty-three years. Thanks to a rift in time and space, however, I
managed to obtain a replacement for the actual comic a good while back.
It's immensely satisfying to finally be able to reunite it with a copy of
its original free gift after so long a period.

Suddenly I'm an eager five year-old child once more, sitting in a chalk-
dusty classroom in a different century - when the one we now live in was
 the stuff of dreams and seemed too far away to even contemplate.


TwoHeadedBoy said...

Goodness points go to your teacher for allowing your creativity to come out rather than confiscating/destroying your XL5 - didn't realise they were so tolerant/open to things like that in your school days.

Kid said...

Well, technically speaking I was still an 'infant', so I presume teachers were more tolerant than their secondary school counterparts. Also, I imagine her curiosity about what the results of my efforts would look like over-rode any natural teacher-type instincts.

John Pitt said...

This is yet another one that I JUST missed as my first issue was #4 after I learned that the Daleks were on the back. After #4 I was completely hooked and ,for me, TVCentury 21 in its tabloid format has to be one of the greatest British comics ever . Really wish I had kept mine.

Kid said...

Good as TV Century 21 was, I thought it lost something when the Daleks strip ended with issue #104.