A 22 year old man with “weird looking” eyes and “sewn on” hair claimed he is Britain’s first “Test Card Baby”, the result of a long standing on-screen relationship between Bubbles the clown and Marcia Jackson. The pair were famous for their appearances on the BBC test card from 1967-1998.
In his 1987 autobiography “Still Life with Blackboard”, Bubbles the clown recalls how, in the early days he and Marcia had to perform the Test Card live. They did twelve hour shifts in a makeshift studio in Lime Grove, previously used to broadcast “The Potter’s Wheel”, a popular 1950’s soap opera which revealed only the actors’ hands.
“People don’t realise, the Test Card wasn’t a still, it wasn’t a photograph,” recalled the Test Card Baby in his book. “Whenever there was a technical hitch or Stuart Hall was on screen we had to be totally ready, at the drop of a hat to stand in front of the camera for as long as an hour, without moving a muscle. Everyone remembers the day in 1970 when Marcia sneezed. It was Britain’s first live TV sneeze in colour. I remember the colour exactly – a kind of mucus grey with a hint of green.” Recently re-discovered, lo-fi video of the sneeze is now a YouStation Tube hit, with over three million hits.
“There were usually about fifteen or twenty of us on the Test Card Special production team and most of us knew them both quite well,” recalled the Test Card executive producer Mike Hall. “And yes, there was talk, in the later years. But the culture was different back then. Obviously they were close. I mean they had to work together for all those years. As Marcia grew into her 20’s there was a noticeable change in dynamic.”
Bubbles’ alleged love child, who will reveal his identity on the launch of his own autobiography “Don’t Laugh at me Because I am Half a Clown” says he is bitter about his background. “Back then, these BBC scandals were ten a penny. I was born into a television age where Cybermen roamed free in TV centre. And remember those first Cybermen were anatomically but not politically correct. Basil Brush seemed to have a different man hiding under his table every other week and Pinky and Perky were, alarmingly, still very much as described. It was the business with Roland Rat and the Pet Shop Boys that probably finished it all, putting paid to TVam before it began. But all that time, my parents were…well it doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Marcia Hill, allegedly the mother of the alleged Test Card Baby lives in Faversham, Kent, quite near the bus station, having just repainted her front door a fuscia colour, and cannot be named or identified for legal reasons. Bubbles himself was disposed of via a hospice charity shop in Eltham in 1988 and is now presumed “recycled” alongside 23 redundant gonks, destroying the Test Card Baby's hopes of substantiating his claim using DNA.
“We will investigate these historic claims very thoroughly,” a BBC spokesperson said. If they are true they would represent a temporary breakdown in our values. Until we can get that fixed, here is some music.”