This story

THE CELEBRITY BUS

by Robert Williams

Mick, Clive, Mrs G, Dave and Wayne were in the cafe when they saw Des getting off the bus outside.

"That's funny, Des doesn't usually take the bus," said Mrs Greasy.

"Mike must still be servicing his car," said Mick.

"But the buses don't go down here!" said Clive. "You know, I wouldn't be surprised if..."

"I've bought a bus!" declared Des, walking into the cafe.

"Oh yes, I remember you mentioning something about that," said Mick. "But I didn't think even you could be daft enough to buy one!"

"Well I am!" exclaimed Des. "Umm..."

"Forgive me for asking," said Clive. "But why have you bought a bus?"

"Because Dave's painted my van pink," said Des. "For goodness sake, Dave, you were only borrowing it for a day!"

"Des, man, your van had no soul, man!" exclaimed Dave.

"In fact it didn't have any kind of fish," said Clive.

"Anyway, a bus is going to be much more fun!" said Des. "So come on everyone, have a look!"

He was met with silence. The others just carried on cooking (Mrs Greasy), gobbling a hamburger (Dave), reading a comic (Wayne) and picking at their food (Mick and Clive).

"Oh come on," said Des. "It'll be fun!"

"Oh all right then," sighed Mick. "Come on everyone."

Mrs Greasy stayed behind to run her highly successful cafe business. The others followed Des outside to see the bus. It was one of the classic red London double deckers, a 1962 Routemaster with an open platform at the back to hop onto.

"Here we are, on the verge of the 21st century," said Clive. "And Des buys yet another antique heap of junk."

Des climbed into the driver's compartment, separated by glass from the passenger section. Wayne and Dave rushed upstairs on the bus like small children, while Mick and Clive sat downstairs.

Des started the engine and they drove off down the road. As he was cut off from the others, Des rang up Mick on his mobile phone.

"How do you like it, Mick?" said Des loudly into the phone.

"It's quite good fun, surprisingly!" exclaimed Mick. "Much better than that old van."

"At least we all get a seat," said Clive.

"It's a bit like Cliff Richard in that film, 'Summer Holiday'!" said Mick.

"What are you talking about?" said Des. "You're going mad! It's not summer, we're not going on holiday, and none of us looks anything like Cliff Richard! Although having said that, you're getting quite wrinkly, Mick, there is a certain resemblance there..."

"So 'ow much did you pay for this old thing then?" asked Mick quickly.

"Quite cheap, really," said Des. "Only £13,000!"

"Good grief!" said Mick. "£13,000?! You could have had a new Ford Focus for that money!"

"Or 13,000 pound coins," said Clive, unhelpfully. "Ask him where we're going." Mick did so.

"Where do you fancy?!" said Des. "I was thinking of heading into London!"

No one had any serious objections to this, and Wayne and Dave were busy enjoying themselves pretending to drive the bus from upstairs, so they headed towards central London.

Some time later, the bus came to stop at some traffic lights, which just happened to be close to a bus stop. To Mick and Clive's surprise, someone got on the bus. But not just someone - but a huge showbiz celebrity.

"It's Dave Lee Travis!" exclaimed Clive, for it was him.

"I'd better tell Des," said Mick. He called him on his mobile phone.

"What is it?!" said Des, driving off again.

"Someone's just got on the bus!" said Mick.

"Well tell them to get off," said Des. "This is a private bus, we're not taking passengers!"

"No, you don't understand," said Mick. "It's a celebrity!"

Des looked in his rear view mirror.

"Oh my goodness!" he exclaimed. "It's him! It's Dave!!"

He stopped the bus again, got out and walked round to the back of the bus and hopped on. He donned his comedy beard, which he happened to have in his pocket, and went up to DLT.

"Wummaging frough the undergrowf!!!" exclaimed Des in a weird voice, making strange hand actions.

DLT looked at him strangely. Clive and Mick buried their heads in their hands in embarrassment.

"Wummaging frough the undergrowf?" repeated Des. "It is you, isn't it? David Bellamy?"

DLT shook his head, and Clive and Mick groaned.

"Oh! Sorry!" exclaimed Des. "I recognise you now! You're that other Dave!" DLT nodded. "Sorry about that! So how's Chas?"

Clive chose to get off at this point, and Mick went over to Des and whispered in his ear.

"He's not Dave from Chas and Dave, and he's not David Bellamy! He's the famous disc jockey, Dave Lee Travis!"

Des looked confused.

"You know!" whispered Mick. "DLT! The hairy cornflake!"

"Oh of course!" said Des. "Quack quack oops! Oh, he's gone..."

DLT had got off the bus and walked off.

"You've scared him off," said Mick.

"I have never been so embarrassed," said Clive, getting back on.

"This has given me an idea," said Des.

"Oh no!" exclaimed Clive and Mick in unison.

"We could make some money out of this bus thing," said Des.

"So you're going to set up your own bus service," said Clive. "Wow, how original."

"Ah, but not just any old bus service," said Des. "But a bus service for top showbiz celebrities only! Then we can charge them more money."

When they had returned home from their fun-packed bus journey, Des made a huge banner for the side of the bus saying: 'THE CELEBRITY BUS!! If you're not a celebrity, don't get on this bus!'

Des then dug out his sparkling silver suit, last seen in the days of DJ Rick Metal, and took it round to Mick.

"What's this for?" asked Mick.

"You're going to be the celebrity bus conductor!" said Des. "So you've got to look the part!"

"Oh great," said Mick.

The next day Des and Mick drove around central London, looking for any top celebs that might want a lift.

"Look at all those ordinary people waiting for a bus," said Mick, communicating by mobile phone again. "Can't we stop for them?"

"If they're not celebrities, they're not coming on," said Des firmly. "Seen any stars yet?"

"No, how many stars do you really think want to travel round on an ancient double decker?" said Mick.

"I reckonabout 34..." said Des.

"Oh look!" exclaimed Mick. "It's Rob Curling!" It was indeed the regional news presenter, walking past. "Does he count as a celebrity?"

"Yes, he'll do," said Des, stopping the bus. "Go and get him!"

"I feel a right idiot in this daft jacket," whinged Mick.

"Just do it!" exclaimed Des. So Mick jumped out and accosted Rob.

"Hello, you're Rob Curling, aren't you!" said Mick. "Would you like a ride in the celebrity bus? Very reasonable fares!"

"Uh, well, I was just off to London football club to film a sports report for 'Newsroom South East'," said Rob.

"We'll give you a lift!" said Mick.

Rob reluctantly got onto the bus with Mick, and sat down. Mick made an 'OK' sign at Des, who responded, and they drove off. They had travelled just a few hundred yards, when Mick was just about to take Rob's fare, when Rob rang the bell. Des stopped the bus.

"Sorry, this is where I get off. Thanks for the lift!"

"But...I haven't taken your fare yet...that'll be £25 please..." said Mick. But Rob had got off the bus and disappeared.

"Mick!" exclaimed Des. "What have you done? What did you say to him? I hope you didn't bring up the subject of 'Turnabout'!"

"I hardly had a chance!" said Mick. "We reached the football club and he got off!"

"Hmmm," said Des. "We need a plan to make our venture more successful."

The next morning in the cafe the entire gang, including Dickie, Files and Dave, were throwing ideas around.
"Ouch!" said Des, as an idea landed on his head.

"I know!" exclaimed Wayne. "Why don't we turn it into a rock bus!"

"That sounds fantastic!" said Mike. "We could have all the top bands playing live, like Guns 'n' Roses, Metallica and my own band Mike and the Mechanics!"

"Um, no," said Des.

"Why don't we try to attract the younger generation?" suggested Mrs Greasy. "Turn it into a fun-packed play area for kids! We could call it the playbus!"

"That one's been done already," said Des.

"I think you should turn it into a groovy prayer bus," said Dickie. "And help to spread the word."

"What word?" said Clive.

"Yes great, and then we'll turn the driver's compartment into the confessional box," said Des. "No, no, you're all going off track. Anyway, I've got an idea."

The others' hearts sank.

"Rob Curling probably felt like a sad loser sitting on his own on the celebrity bus," said Des. "I think celebs need other celebs to mingle with. So what we need to do, is all you lot need to dress up as famous people, and ride around on the bus. All the real celebrities will be much more likely to get on if it's already got some celebrities on it!"

"So that's your idea then," said Mick. "If you can't get genuine stars on your bus, just use fake ones instead."

"I think the idea stinks," said Clive. "Who can I dress up as?"

"Anyone you like," said Des. "Everyone except Mick - he's staying as my trusty bus conductor - needs to report at my house tomorrow morning, dressed as the celebrity of their choice."

"Fab!" said Dickie.

"Wonderful," sighed Mick.

And so the next morning Des answered his front door not to Mick, Clive, Wayne, Mrs G, Mike, Dave, Dickie and Farmer Files but to Mick, Barry Gibb, Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen, Noel Edmonds and some others which you will discover later.

This motley crew set aboard and went on their way, celebrity hunting again.

"Why are you participating in this hair-brained scheme?" asked the sparkling suited-Mick of Clive.

"Any excuse to dress up in my disco gear!" exclaimed Clive (Barry Gibb), who, in addition to his white suit and platforms, was wearing a huge wig and false sticking out teeth. "I'll do some jiving to make it seem more authentic!"

"Oh please no," said Mick. He turned to Dickie, who was playing Chris Tarrant, by donning a wig and a fake tan.

"How are you today, Mick?" asked Dickie.

"I'm fine, I suppose," said Mick.

"Are you sure? Are you sure? Would you like to change your mind? Would you like to phone a friend?"

Mick went upstairs to see if he could get any more sense out of the others (fat chance). Dave was busy hanging a pair of curtains over the rear window.

"Hi man, Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen here, man," said Dave, wearing a long black wig, and a long gown over his usual Elvis jumpsuit. "Welcome to 'Changing Buses'! Cor, man, this interior decor is so drab, I'm gonna have to work some of my magic in here, man!"

"Right, I see" said Mick, sceptically. He went over to Mike, who was wearing a white wig, sports jacket, medallion, cigar and tons of jewellery.

"Now then, now then, howzabout that then, guys ands gals," said Mike, jangling his bracelets. "And now it's time for shome shuper Jim'll Fix Its!"

"Good grief," said Mick.

"Ooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Farmer Files. "And you, Mick Woolley, be the star of this week's NTV!"

Yes, the already bearded Files had acquired a woolly jumper and a many-coloured wig to become Noel Edmonds. But Mrs Greasy seemed to have come dressed up as herself.

"Who are you supposed to be dressed as?" asked Mick.

"I'm a fat lady," said Mrs Greasy.

"Yes, I know that, but which celebrity are you dressed as?" said Mick.

"You misunderstand, I've come as one of those fat ladies from that cookery show," said Mrs G. "I'll be providing the catering for all the top celebrities. What would you like to eat, Mick?"

"Er, maybe later," said Mick. However, the worst was yet to come. Sitting right at the front was Wayne. He was wearing large black black ears, comedy nose, yellow shorts and huge shoes.

"Hullo Pluto!" said Mickey Mouse. "Where's Goofy?"

"Oh Wayne," groaned Mick. "You're supposed to come as a famous celebrity, not a cartoon character!"

"Whaddya mean?!" said Wayne. "Mickey Mouse is well famous!"

"But he's not real!" exclaimed Mick.

"Course he is!" exclaimed Wayne. "He's been on telly loads of times!"

Mick shook his head, and went back downstairs. As he sat down he was surprised to see a familiar face (attached to a body) with a long chin running towards the next bus stop.

"Des! Des!" he exclaimed, banging on the window of the driver's compartment. "It's Bruce Forsyth! Stop for him!"

"Yes!" said Des, victoriously. He slammed on the brakes, and Jimmy Savile's jewellery went all over the floor.

Bruce got on the bus, out of breath.

"Nice to see you, to see you..." gasped Bruce.

"NICE!!" shouted Mick, Clive and Mike.

"Didn't they do well!" said Bruce.

"Can I say, Bruce, what a pleasure it is to have you aboard the celebrity bus," said Mick. "Please, take a seat." He was about to rang the bell to tell Des to carry on, but Bruce stopped him.

"Wait!!" exclaimed Bruce. "Don't leave yet, some of my friends want to get on as well!"

"Are they celebrities as well?" asked Mick.

"Yes, of course!" said Bruce.

"Super!" said Mick.

They heard more pairs of footsteps running towards the bus - and on got Bruce Forsyth. Followed by Bruce Forsyth. And then Bruce Forsyth. Eight more Bruce Forsyths followed. All going "Nice to see you, to see you, nice!" and "Good game, good game!"

"I really ought to stop going down The Laughing Pig every night," sighed Mike. "Seeing double is bad enough, but twelve is ridiculous!"

"What's going on here?!" said Mick. He banged on the window. "Des, come here!"

"Eh??!!" exclaimed Des. "This is impossible! Bruce, have you been cloned?! Hands up the real Bruce Forsyth!"

None on them responded.

"Allow me to introduce myself," said the first Bruce who had got on. "My name is Bert Wiggins, I am the secretary of the Bruce Forsyth Lookalike Society. Good game, good game!"

"Oh no!" said Des. "Well I'm afraid I can't carry any of you on my bus. It is for genuine celebrities only!"

"Well what about him over there?" said Bert. "That obviously isn't the real Chris Tarrant!"

"Are you sure? Are you sure? Would you like to ask the audience?" said Dickie.

"And no way is that Barry Gibb!" said Bert.

"Ha, ha, ha, ha, staying alive, staying alive!" sang Clive.

"Well all right then, I'll let you all stay on," said Des. "Where are you heading for?"

"The Greater London Lookalike Convention 2000 at Earl's Court," said Bert. "It's the world's largest get-together of lookalikes!"

As they continued their journey to Earl's Court, they found themselves picking up more groups of lookalikes wanting a lift. They ended up carrying five Lionel Blairs, six Stan Boardmans, eight Alan Whickers, nine Tony Blackburns, eleven Des Wednesdays, nineteen Rolf Harrises, twenty-six Des Lynams, thirty-one Mr Blobbys and fifty-four Jimmy Saviles.

They arrived at Earl's Court with an extremely packed bus.

"Well I think you can call that a success," said Mick, as all the lookalikes piled off the bus.

"Success?!" exclaimed Des. "It was a complete failure! Not a single genuine celebrity!! Well, I have decided to officially close down the celebrity bus service! From now on, this bus will be used for private transport only! We'll go on summer holidays in it instead."

"Are you sure? Do you want to change your mind?" said Dickie as Chris Tarrant.

"Howzabout that then, guys and gals!" said Mike as Jimmy Savile, jangling his bracelets.


Copyright © Robert Williams
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