The death of the lovely Rodney Bewes, of Likely Lads fame, got me wondering what Bob and Terry would be up to if they were around today. So with all due respect to the comedy geniuses Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais . . .
Howay, Bob, man.
Terry Collier, as I live and breathe. Where have you been the last 40 years?
Here and there, Bob. Serving Queen and country.
You can’t have been in the Army all that time.
Not all of the time. But the stories I could tell.
The Falklands, Afghanistan, Iraq. You were there?
The death of the lovely Rodney Bewes, of Likely Lads fame, got me wondering what Bob and Terry would be up to if they were around today
What does that mean — not exactly?
I don’t like to talk about it, man. It’s too painful.
So where were you?
Special ops, Bob.
What special ops? SAS, SBS, that sort of thing?
Special operations. On me hip. I fell off a ladder in Aldershot. Had a few the night before in the NAAFI. Took ’em three goes to reset it. I was invalided out.
So you didn’t even go to war? Or abroad?
I did a few months in Mönchengladbach, bonny lad.
As in Borussia Mönchengladbach?
British Army of the Rhine. Two-way family favourites, you know. Cliff Michelmore, Jean Metcalfe, Sunday lunchtimes . . .
You were stationed in Germany?
Not so much stationed, Bob, more banged up. In the glasshouse. They only just let me out.
That’s typical of you. I remember that night you got nicked for fighting when we played Rangers in a friendly.
Yeah — and so did you. We ended up sharing a cell. Drink-driving, wasn’t it?
Bewes (right, as Bob Ferris) and James Bolam (as Terry Collier) in The Likely Lads
I wasn’t drinking. I’d been to a wine-tasting.
Of course you had, man. You and Thelma were Yuppies even before the word had been invented.
Anyway, why did you get put in the glasshouse?
I was in this bierkeller and this German fraulein, big-boned, looked at bit like Angela Merkel, said I’d sexually harassed her, historically like.
More from Richard Littlejohn for the Daily Mail…
Aye, claimed it happened in 1968, just after I joined up. This busty bird was bringing round the steins of lager and she claimed I touched her inappropriately just as we was getting to the second verse of Tomorrow Belongs To Me.
And did you?
I dunno, bonny lad. I might have brushed her Holstens. It was a long time ago, it was the Sixties.
And you’ve been in prison ever since?
Haddaway, man. They didn’t arrest me until last year. Turned up at me mam’s house six in the morning, 14 of the buggers.
Why did they nick you after all these years?
Well, she saw me in a re-run of New Tricks on some German satellite station and, what with Jimmy Savile and all, thought there might be something in it for her.
Lifted me on a European Arrest Warrant, shipped me off to Mönchengladbach and stuck me before a court martial, seeing as I was in the Army at the time of the alleged inappropriate wossname like.
Didn’t you appeal?
No point, man but. Guilty until proven innocent. Never stood a chance.
Aye, that’s why I joined Ukip.
You never did.
I bloody did. Spent six months campaigning for Vote Leave. Never liked the Germans, nor did me dad. Wouldn’t even accept a lift in our Audrey’s VW Beetle, if you remember. I still haven’t forgiven the Krauts for the World Cup in Mexico, 1970. Gerd Müller, late goal.
How could you? How bloody could you?
How could I what?
How could I not, Bob man? We didn’t fight two world wars to be run by the Germans.
You didn’t fight two wars. You didn’t fight any wars.
That’s besides the point, bonny lad. Don’t tell me you voted Remain.
Of course I did. It was the only civilised thing to do.
Civilised? That’s all your foreign package holidays talking, Y Viva Espana, skiing in Scandoland. Broke your leg, didn’t you?
Don’t change the subject. Yes, staying in the EU is civilised, and economically sensible.
How so, man? It was supposed to be all cheap beer and fags and look how that turned out. Almost eight quid for a packet of tabs and three pound fifty for a bottle of brown ale in the Fat Ox — or it would be if the Fat Ox hadn’t closed down and been turned into another bloody Tesco Express.
That’s progress, Terry.
Progress? There’s not a decent pub left anywhere round here. Fat Ox, Skinners Arms, Wheelwrights, all gone.
There’s more to life than smelly old pubs.
You didn’t used to think like that, not before you discovered the squash club and fondue nights with Bob and Thelma and Ted and Alice. Anyway, how is Thelma? Still at the library?
No, she was made redundant when they closed the library down because of the cuts. It’s a . . .
Don’t tell me, bloody Tesco Express.
Actually, it’s an Afghan kebab house.
Afghan? I didn’t join the Army to fight the Taliban only to have ’em opening restaurants in Newcastle.
No, you didn’t.
Join the Army to fight Afghans. You didn’t ever fight anyone, except Rangers fans.
I was speaking metaphysically like, Bob. Afghans, Bulgarians, Somalians, Vietnamesians. You never meet a proper Geordie any more. That’s what the EU has done for us, mass immigration. Nobody voted for that. Where the hell has everyone we grew up with gone?
The Elm Lodge housing estate, most of them.
Just like you and Thelma.
You may mock. But the Elm Lodge housing estate has been good to me. I’m now director of human resources for the company that built it. And let me tell you, we’d be nowhere without the hard-working bricklayers, plasterers and such from Eastern Europe, who will all have to go home now because of you and the 17.4 million other morons who voted for Brexit.
Howay, man. We’ve got enough skilled men of our own unemployed, ever since the pits and the shipyards shut.
They should have retrained as plumbers, then. And it’s thanks to the EU that the North East is booming. That and the Northern Powerhouse. We’ve just had a grant to turn the entire length of the A1 from here to Scotch Corner into a solar-powered cycle lane.
For Wor Jackie’s sake, Bob man. You’ll be telling me next that you vote Tory but.
As a matter of fact, I do. And so does Thelma. You can ask her yourself when she gets back from her Astanga yoga class down at the mosque, next to the LGBTQI outreach institute — you know, used to be the working men’s club.
Bloomin’ ’eck. How long has there been a mosque on the Elm Lodge housing estate?
Ever since the Government decided to relocate 20,000 Syrian asylum-seekers there.
Howay, Bob, man. Let’s go and get a pint, like the old days.
Sorry, Terry. And that’s another thing that’s changed.
You’re going to have to stop calling me ‘man’ but.
Look, I don’t know how to tell you this, and there’s no easy way of saying it, but. I’m not a ‘man’, man, I mean, Terry. Not in the way you mean ‘man’ but.
Go on, bonny lad.
Not ‘bonny lad’ either. Ever since Thelma’s yoga teacher persuaded her that she was, er, like gender-fluid, she’s been pestering me to, well, transition, so we can live like a modern, diverse, same-sex, sort of, couple. I’m having the . . .
On Monday, yes.
Haddaway and . . .
Shhhhh . . .
Precisely. Oh, Bob, man but. What became of the people we used to be?