(Note: the "missing puppet" story that inspired our reporter Jeremy Briggs' research below was quickly revealed as a PR hoax, see follow up, but we have kept this item live for information purposes)
Gerry Anderson fans have a new game to play and it is called "Where's Clive?", although it has rather more to do with local newspapers than finding a real person.
Dick Spanner PI, Gerry Anderson's little known stop motion series from 1986 has been released on double DVD by One Media Publishing. Part of the publicity surrounding the release is a story that Gerry does not have an original Dick Spanner puppet in his personal collection and so is looking to track one down. At national level, in The Independent for instance, this was a general request to readers to look out for the puppet with the suggestion that it could be worth a lot of money.
However by the time the story time had filtered down to local paper level it had become much more specific, looking for a set assistant PA called "Clive" who might actually have the puppet. Indeed the Lancaster Evening Post put out the story suggesting that Clive might live in Preston.
However if you were reading the Western Daily Press in Bristol, you would see that they claim that Clive comes from the more general "West of England".
Now despite having the length of Wales between Preston and Bristol I can live with describing them both as the West of England. However I think that Cornwall is a bit of push, being in South West England or, more vaguely, the West Country as The Cornishman reports.
Those of you living on the south coast however should not feel left out as the Bournemouth Daily Echo puts him in Bournemouth while the Shropshire Star is a little more vague by just saying Shropshire.
Slightly less vague is the Coventry Telegraph which has Gerry "hunting all over Coventry and Warwickshire" for the puppet.My current favourite however has to be this one. While Preston, Bournemouth, Coventry and the rest may not be that close together, at least they are all in England. Over in Northern Ireland, the Derry Journal reckons that Clive may live in Londonderry and that the puppet may be in "the Creggan, Brandywell or the Bog". That would be the Bogside, for those of you now worried that Clive might have flushed the puppet down the toilet as the ring of investigative steel from the local paper closed in on his hiding place.
More local reports on the whereabouts of the elusive Clive as we get them!
Update, 13:01 24/10/07: Meanwhile, in a quick update on this post here's a copy of the letter being sent out to local newspapers by the PR company, as published in the South Shields Gazette... It seems the wording letter might itself be causing the confusion among local newspaper editors...
Missing: Dick Spanner PI
WORK for a company currently representing Gerry Anderson, the legendary 'string-pulling' producer and creator of Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and cult TV show Dick Spanner PI, which first aired in 1986, about a robot private detective.
Gerry, who is now 78, has an incredible collection at his home of all the original figures from his hugely popular shows, but his Dick Spanner marionette, which he had hoped eventually to pass on to his family, is missing.
We have already contacted Channel 4's storeroom and prop team, but this has been so far fruitless.
All that Gerry can remember about last seeing the figure is that it was entrusted to a set assistant PA from your area called Clive when the show's last episode was filmed in 1987, but as yet all our efforts to track him or the figure down have been unsuccessful.
It would mean so much to Gerry to have a complete collection of his lifetime's work.
He is a true television legend, and he is willing to offer a reward to anyone who can find Dick Spanner. Perhaps it's in someone's attic?
Quite Great Publicity