Back in the days when being annoying was the only criteria for getting on telly, an "entertainer" known as Timmy Mallett woke a million kids up every Saturday by bashing people on the head amusingly. In 1990, Mallett invited ugly composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber round to his house and the result was a pop cover of "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini", released under the name Bombalurina (one of the cats in the musical CATS). It shot to number 1 in the summer.
"Itsy Bitsy" was promoted by a Radio Times cover featuring Mallett hi-jinxing with then Breakfast TV Goddess Michaela Strachan. The record was also "big in Europe" which means lots of people bought it after hearing it on holiday, then regretted it later.
The follow-up, another cover this time of "Seven Little Girls", charted at number 13. The seven girls in the video would go on to marry Gary Barlow, star in "Cold Feet" and play Thelma in a Peugeot advert, among other things.
Inevitably, and although there were no more hits, an album followed. "Huggin' and a Kissin'" was launched in December 1990, and featured Mallett's sensitive versions of "My Boomerang Won't Come Back", "Hoots Mon" and "She Taught Me How To Yodel".
From then on, the dumper beckoned, although luckless Timmy kept trying. In 1991 he released "The Bump" under the name M.C. Mallett, with a video shot at Chessington World of Adventures. More non-hits followed the law of diminishing returns.
Being born? The Bombalurina records were awful, but at least they were catchy. "The Bump" was a terrible, terrible record, cheap and unmemorable, and it was swiftly followed by "Hot Hot Hot", released under the name Del Costa. As if the prospect of this existing wasn't bad enough, it turns out to have been a medley incorporating bits of "Viva Espana".
In 1991 Timmy was featured on a chart record called "As Time Stood Still" in aid of the gulf war troops. It featured Frank Bruno, Sonia, Hazell Dean and Gerry Bloody Marsden again, as if compiling a list of the people you'd least like to be locked in a portable toilet with. By the heavens a rarity! But war time Britain was surprisingly no longer in the mood to be hit over the head by a silly tit in funny glasses, and the charts remained unbothered.
All the records are generally available through Ebay, Amazon and the British Heart Foundation. But even more exciting is Timmy's Website Shop - copies of the Bombalurina album are going for £7 (tape or vinyl only!), along with badges, "I've Been Malletted" caps and an original Mallett-painted oil painting for only £600. But of far more interest on his website is mention of former co-star Michaela Strachan's ITV show "Michaela". When was it on? What was it like? Where can we campaign for a DVD release? We need to be told!
In 2003 Mallett was flown out as reserve contestant on "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here", but even when John Lydon pulled out they decided it would be more fun without him. He's "playing" Southport, Lowestoft and Hemsby this summer. Don't go.