What Beadle was really about
I was really upset to hear about the death of the television presenter Jeremy Beadle.
The sort of pranks that made him famous with Game For A Laugh and Beadle's About were my favourite type of joke.
I met him a couple of years ago at a party in Wilmslow, Cheshire, hosted by a friend, Kevin Horkin, who's a showbiz agent and manager. My pal Stu and I arrived at Kevin's home for the fundraising do, which had a James Bond theme.
There was a guy wandering round in a monkey suit selling raffle tickets as we all had a drink and a chat and a bite to eat. It was a small-ish event, only 60 or 70 people there.
An hour or so later, when the raffle came to be drawn, the ape man pulled his furry head off - and it was Jeremy Beadle, absolutely wet with sweat, having been boiling hot in his disguise.
There was a whoop of delight, he'd gone out of his way to entertain people for a good cause - I think it was all in aid of Children With Leukaemia, the charity he was heavily involved with. What a good sport!
We knew Jeremy was friends with our host, Kevin, but we weren't expecting a cameo appearance that night!
Stu and I had a chat with Jeremy later on and he was a really pleasant, interesting bloke and surprisingly serious, he wasn't larking around trying to raise laughs like you might expect.
The tributes have been talking about him as the "ultimate joker" and a consummate prankster, who never stopped thinking of new ideas and formats. He's also been described as a deeply caring man who worked tirelessly for charity.
I used to love Beadle's About and the pranks in my family went further back than that. My mum was always springing practical jokes and anyone who knows me will tell you I love winding my friends up.
Once, I phoned the builder who's just installed a balcony at my club, on the morning of April Fool's Day, to tell him that it had fallen down and smashed to pieces on the courtyard below.
He'd jumped in the car and was halfway there to investigate, filled with horror, before I confessed the truth. Recently, I've had fun putting on a rubbery old man mask, glasses, a trilby and a trenchcoat to spook my clubbers.
I told my club manager, Ash: "There's an older guy I know coming down later on, can you make sure he doesn't have to queue and usher him straight in?" He spotted me in my get-up and duly called me through the throng, guiding me safely to the VIP area despite my strange appearance.
I was enjoying the joke so much that I had a walk round the club, making girls recoil in horror, not knowing if I was real or not, and confusing the boys. When people started saying: "It'll be Terry George," I gave the costume to my assistant, Mark, who in turn dressed up and did his own walkabout - while I strode about meeting and greeting friends and associates, perplexing them further.
The best thing, I think, about Jeremy and his pranks were that they gentle and well-meaning. Today in these times of Jackass, you've got to hammer nails into your body parts to get people's attention. Beadle, you'll be missed.
Corrie's unlikely clubber
The death of Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street seemed to be a rare soap moment that united a nation.
The actress who played her, Liz Dawn, is a lovely woman with a great, local, down-to-earth charm about her.
I've met her a few times at functions and events but none so bizarre as seeing her at Leeds club night Speed Queen, the domain of outlandishly-dressed youngsters.
What she was doing there - other than 'avin it large with her mates - I never found out.
Freedom for Goths
What harm were the Dewsbury Goths actually doing when a bus driver told them they couldn't board?
Dani Graves was holding on to a chain around Tasha Maltby's neck but so what? You saw the photos of them. Did you feel threatened? No, course not.
I can't believe anyone should have the power to stop you from going about your business because they're offended by the way you are. If that's what makes them happy then good luck to them, it's no-one else's business.
What Beadle was really about