Studies show that people are more likely to start smoking if surrounded by smokers when they are children, and public health watchdogs are always wringing their hands about TV & movies making cigarettes look glamorous. The same goes for beards – I didn’t have my first beard until the age of thirty-three. Trying to work out why, I looked back at my childhood and realised that not only did my Dad and Santa Claus have beards, but beards proliferated TV too, surely having something to do with my late-developing urge to have facial hair.
1. Timothy Claypole (Michael Staniforth) in Rentaghost
One of my earliest TV memories was of Timothy the medieval jester cavorting around a suburban house in Rentaghost. The show was about a bunch of ghosts who worked for a supernatural agency, but grew increasingly surreal with the more characters added. Timothy eventually became almost the straight man when surrounded by a Scottish witch, a pantomime horse, and Miss Popov, who teleported every time she sneezed. Which was about twenty times an episode. I had absolutely no idea what was going on as a kid, and re-watching an episode before writing this, I still have no idea.