Jayne Dawson: David, don't do it

Oh my, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry – I'm lying, I know perfectly well that tears are in order.

I'm sobbing while I write this, maybe not on the outside but on the inside, let me tell you, it's a river of tears.

How can it be, how can it possibly be, that a heartbreakingly gorgeous man of my teenage years is now joining the cast of EastEnders as the white-haired old uncle of Alfie Moon?

I'm talking about David Essex who, we have learned this week, has been turned into some old geezer called Eddie Moon. And I'm sure he will be very successful, being the actual son of an actual East End docker and one of 13 actual children. Blimey, it will hardly be acting but, still, it's not right, is it? Where did David's gorgeousness go? Where did his life go? And let's not even get started on mine.

Truth to tell, when I was Seventies Girl I never rated David as a singer, because he was rubbish. Honestly, he was. Those records he made were a right load of old codswallop.

On the other hand, that didn't matter because he was also the prettiest pop star that ever there was. As Seventies Girl, I believed it ws my duty to cut out David's picture wherever I found it, not so much out of teenage longing as from a desire to be able to show my future children a picture of the most beautiful man who had ever lived.

With his angelic face and those dark gypsy curls and that naughty look in his eye, David was the cutest pin-up ever to feature inside a copy of Jackie magazine,

And that is where I want him to stay, his face stapled across two pages, looking cheeky and perfect fantasy boyfriend material.

I know that's a little bit selfish, I know David has pursued an acting career, and been in musicals, and generally earned the right to become a regular on our television screens. I know all that.

But I don't want to know that he is a father of four by two ex-wives and a grandfather of three, and I don't want to know that he has remarried a woman who seems a bit young for him at the age of 37. I want to keep my teenage dreams intact and I'm a little bit annoyed with David for forcing me to confront his and my mortality in this most brutal of ways.

And what next? David's debut opens up the possibility of all kinds of fresh horrors because his move could prompt pop star contemporaries to follow him into the cosy world of BBC prime time television.


I'm thinking David Bowie, whose signature look back then was a leotard and what can only be described as heavy make-up – though he followed the rules and only ever teamed a smoky eye with a pale lip, as I recall. (Never do a heavy eye and a red lip together, readers, it's totally against the Make-Up Rules. Always one or the other.)

Now, following Mr Essex's lead and having long since given up the girlie look, I can imagine him popping up on Casualty as one of those suave elder statesmen surgeon types.

You know, the one who has a dalliance with a young and lovely doctor/nurse/ambulance driver before having a heart attack and dying on the operating table while conducting his own bypass surgery and simultaneously leading a kidney transplant team saving the life a child in the theatre next door.

And why stop there? Elton John, once a wild child of pop and much admired by Seventies Girl, though never fancied on account of him being a bit podgy, short and balding even back then, would slot right into Sunday teatime television.

Elton, if this is the way we're going, would be perfect on Antiques Roadshow and I feel would be able to enth-use over a nicely turned leg or a lovely bit on inlay as if to the manner born.

But let's not stop there either. If we're going to totally ruin all Seventies Girl's dreams there must be a place for the formerly cool Rod Stewart on television too.

Once Rod was the gravel-voiced, spiky-haired epitome of 70s laddishness, always clutching a football, a whisky bottle or a girl.

And that's the way I prefer to remember him but if television is the natural home for rock stars now and since we have already had his wife on Strictly Come Dancing, then Rod should consider appearing on the other side on ice skates, which might be the one and only way to make him cool again.

Or how about bringing back Only Fools and Horses and casting Rod as grandad? I can see that working too, in a dream-shattering kind of a way.

I could go on – Bryan Ferry as the new lord of the manor in Lark Rise to Candleford, Paul Weller in a cosy jumper on Question of Sport – but I don't want to.

Rock stars of previous eras need to understand they have a responsibility to their former fans and that responsilbility takes the form of staying indoors, pottering around their gardens a bit, and avoid photographers.

If the situation is financially very pressing, then they can, if they must, go on tour.

What they must never do is pop up on telly in a soap while the nation is eating its tea. This is cruel. Their job is to make us feel still youthful, not very old indeed.

Collect of Daniel Long, 15, who commited suicide at his home in Leeds, South Yorkshire. See Ross Parry story RPYSTRESS; The heartbroken sister of a straight-A student who committed suicide due to exam stress has launched a national campaign to prevent it happening again. 'Brainy' Daniel Long, 15, hanged himself in February 2017 after he developed acute anxiety whilst revising for his GCSEs. He was discovered unresponsive by his heartbroken mum Emma Oliver, 43, who had rushed upstairs when she heard a loud bang coming from his bedroom. Emma desperately tried to save him with CPR while a neighbour called 999, but Daniel was rushed to hospital where he was put on life support.

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