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Watching a recent episode of Bargain Hunt at the Harrogate Fair with David chirruping tirelessly about ‘girondelles’ and with four men in fearsome frocks who managed to get nearly everything wrong, the only certain entertainment was the expressions of other visitors to the fair, some of whom managed to do disdain, hauteur, shock, sucked-lemon and the raised eyebrow all in one. Now, after the tiring video comes the autobiography of “the king of the catchphrase” and yet more of “the general manager greeted me personally” style and DD’s meetings with “remarkable people in a glamorous, exciting and occasional seedy world.“

And yet....when you cut out all this “get it bought, what a little darling” stuff, some of this book of reminiscence is rather gentle and loving and some of it is very revealing of the real DD. Of his working class Manchester background David tells the story of the bike he had always wanted and was given at Christmas. No ordinary bike this, as his caring father had made it from second-hand bits and pieces, had dipped them in the factory degreasing plant where he worked, and then had painted all of it black. But David was rather ashamed of his bits-and-bobs bike and felt like a second-class citizen as he saw all the other boys on their flash Raleighs.

The loves of David’s life are his wife Lorne and his late and his much adored Auntie Ethel, who visited regularly when he was in Strangeways Prison for four years for a mail-order scam. Her love and loyalty were unconditional. When David was 12 he discovered that he was adopted; he was an ex-Barnardo’s boy with a birth surname of Gulessarian and whose mother, Eugenie was Armenian-French. This part of his tale, of his Armenian grandfather who dealt in luxury silks, and of his feelings about Eugenie and the fact that he never met her because she did not wish it, is the real thing.

Throughout the book there are lines which speak volumes about DD’s motivation. Broke in Cannes and sleeping in the car outside the posh Carlton Hotel DD remembers “gazing up at the bright lights of the hotel, up at the rooms where rich people were sleeping in comfortable queen-sized beds, and I said to myself: ‘In your dreams, David. But some day...’” and “...We sauntered off to the Champs Elysées to watch the fashionable crowds go by and to look in the shops… some day, I vowed, I would be back, and shopping here with the best of them”.

DD says in his book: “I am David Dickinson, private persona; and I am also the Duke, that walking, talking, fashionably attired name and image who has a commercial value as a media personality.” I fervently hope that David makes loads of money from his media life so that when the media spit him out for the next DD, he can make more of the private and likeable person that I am sure he is.