No. Not Don Draper the smooth Mad Man. Before that Don Draper there was another Don Draper. Don Draper the dry cleaner, who, along with his brother Dougie, ran Draper’s Dry Cleaners on BBC1’s Saturday morning show Live and Kicking. I was Dougie and Trev Neal was Don. Trev has gone on to star as Don Draper in Mad Men, whereas I just roam the streets of Hither Green hoping to see a burnt out dry cleaning machine.

And today I saw one! There must have been an accident at the dry cleaners. Look at the state of this? That’s the thing with dry cleaning; it’s a sophisticated art involving chemicals and gases; nitrogen, plutonium, Agent Orange. That’s why it’s so costly to get a garment cleaned with seeminlgy no wetness whatsoever.

dry-cleaners

This sight would have made Don and Dougie weep. They loved their dry cleaning machine. They even had a name for it; Queenie, after their old mother. Queenie ended up blowing up as well. I went to YouTube to look for the last ever dry cleaners sketch, where we rebuilt the dry cleaning shop outside and blew it up for real. But I can’t find it. I did find this though, and having no memory of it from when we did it, found myself enjoying it very much. That may sound a little egotistical, and no doubt it is. But I never used to watch our stuff. I couldn’t bear watching myself. Now I can, because it is as if it’s not me.

And as for the star of the sketch? Well, Macho Man Randy Savage will be 57 now. I wonder if he ever scoots through YouTube looking for his old Live and Kicking performance? I’m not going to say anything rude about being “an old broken down piece of meat” because if that can be applied to anyone it’s most likely me. And I don’t want Randy knocking on my door declaiming “you guys are outta Liiiiiiine!”

And does Michael Nyman ever pass his time in such a way? Wondering how many kids TV shows used the soundtrack to The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover as an intro? Most likely not.

This sketch was called Sofa for Two with Three. It was thought up by a good friend of ours called Paul Brophy who worked with us for a few years, writing and coming up with ideas. You’ll have seen him on Live and Kicking if you watched, but in a very bizarre disguise. That’s because he was at the cutting edge of technology at the time, giving life to a floating computerised cat head called Ratz! Here he is introducing the very first Live and Kicking back in 1993.

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