One of the major problems with television drama is that the characters don’t talk about football as much as people do in real life.
You might occasionally see Minty from Eastenders with a West Ham scarf around his neck, but you don’t see him and Billy Mitchell getting pissed, while debating how rubbish their defence is. I guess they don’t want to make the characters in Eastenders any more depressed than they already are.
I feel that screenwriters are missing a trick by not making their characters more interested in football. Forget long-winded character development and just use football supporter shorthand. If I see someone wearing a Manchester City shirt, then I know that they’re probably a long suffering, slightly depressive bloke, who somehow still manages to keep a sense of humour about things.
The same could also be said about someone wearing a Spurs shirt and occasionally writers will use the shorthand of making a character a Tottenham fan, just so that we understand how mentally scarred they really are.
Here are 6 fictional Spurs fans. I’m sure you’ll let me know who I’ve missed out.
6. Brian Bangs
Brian Bangs is a character from Notes On A Scandal played by Phil Davis. In one scene he arrives at Judi Dench’s house having spent the afternoon at White Hart Lane, wearing a Spurs scarf and baseball cap. He is in a triumphant mood, having witnessed a Spurs win, as he explains:
“3-0. Jermain Defoe. Get in there!”
Brian is meant to be a sad and slightly pathetic character, but then the story is told from the perspective of bitter old Dench, who may secretly be an Arsenal supporter.
5. Martin Fowler
The problem with casting children in roles is that they may well grow up to be a rubbish actor (see original Nicky Tilsley from Coronation Street for evidence). So quite often they recast when the actor reaches his teens and take the opportunity to flesh out the character a little.
When the all new Martin Fowler first appeared Eastenders, many Spurs fans choked on their dinner as we saw his bedroom wall plastered with Tottenham posters.
It must have been a challenging role for the actor James Alexandrou, who is a real life Gooner. Personally, if I were an actor and offered a role that involved me supporting the Scum, I’d decline the part and then sack my agent.
4. Gilbert The Alien
As a youngster that watched that grew up watching the ITV Saturday morning show Get Fresh, I was fascinated and slightly bemused by the fact that Gilbert the Alien was a fellow Spurs fan.
These days of course, I now realise that somewhere inside the green rubber suit of Gilbert, was the renowned Tottenham supporter Phil Cornwell, who today presents The Spurs Show.
Here’s some footage featuring Gaz Top’s awful mullet and if you notice, a Tottenham scarf hanging up behind Gilbert.
3. Gavin Shipman
The least funny character in Gavin And Stacey had one redeeming feature; he was a Spurs fan. This came about because the actor Matthew Horne is a real life Tottenham supporter and recommended that his character should be too.
Gavin was often seen in Tottenham attire and they even went to the extent of giving him a favourite player, with Stacey buying him a signed picture of Michael Dawson.
He can’t get to many games now though, considering that Gav and Stace eventually moved to Wales.
2. Danny Julia
Danny Julia is a fictional character in the beloved Channel 4 film Those Glory Glory Days. Clearly based on the experiences of the screenwriter Julie Welch, the film tells the story of a group of young schoolgirls, obsessed with Danny Blanchflower and the Spurs double side.
It seemed that this film was on roughly every 6 months when I was a lad and now you can replicate those halcyon days of four channels showing the same things over and over, by buying Those Glory Glory Days on DVD.
Derek and Clive were the foul mouthed creations of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The comic genius Cook was a Spurs fan and as this sketch demonstrates, so was Clive.
I should add as a note of caution that you really shouldn’t click on this video if you are offended by bad language.