Wilf Lunn is a British national treasure and creative genius. He appeared weekly on the British television show "Vision On" demonstrating his latest inventions with Tony Hart and Sylvester McCoy. From the Bicycle in a Bottle to the Halitosis High Breathing Hat, he's been making stupid stuff for years that puts most of us to shame.
BTW We've added a few more answers from Wilf that got lost in the post last week
BTW, BTW, Wilf's just published his autobiography that deals with his childhood being raised by two deaf mutes in a cellar. Go buy it!.
What's the most embarrassing thing you've done for money or sex?
Lead a parade of women Morris dancers through Holmfirth. Fire myself across the river Irk. The headline in the paper read 'Berk falls in the Irk'.
What's the funniest thing that's happened to you while using public
I was upstairs sitting on the next to the back seat on the 64 bus from Bradford to Huddersfield. Two young fellows on the back were laughing. One kept saying, "Go on, you got to do it." The other said, "Don't be stupid." "Yes, you got to, it says up there." He pointed to a sign, "Anything found on this bus must be handed to the conductor." I couldn't resist, so I leaned over to look. There in the middle of the seat was a raw egg, no shell, just an egg.
Is your moustache difficult to train?....do you use a special wax on it?
No it is not difficult to train. I no longer use wax because I use a lot of pyrotechnics and did occaisonally fire eat with paraffin - a waxed moustach can catch fire like a candle. So I use soap. On shows I have burnt one end completely off - makeup would then cut hair off the back of my head and stick it on my face.
Dog, Cat or Walrus?
Who is your favourite murderer?
Landru, (incidently I've actually got a letter written by Crippen).
Should it be legal to ride a bike on the motorway?
If it was legal it would certainly cull the cyclists.
What thrills you more: making things physically or thinking of them?
(marchant *tring tring*)
Thinking of them and talking about them - the finished object never matches up.
In the event of the end of the world, what would be the last thing you'd
do before death?
I'm constantly being told at the end I would turn to God. I always point out it was your God that made me an atheist. I have been teetotal for fifteen years, so I would turn to drink.
Were you often mistaken for Viv Stanshall?
Yes I have been mistaken for Viv. I once had a long conversation with a stranger on the Tube. I was quite chuffed he recognised me. When he got off at his station he said, "Cheerio Viv." Of course the minute I opened my mouth with my Yorkshire accent most people knew I wasn't Viv. Viv's natural voice was quite posh. I suppose the guy on the train thought I was faking a Yorkshire accent to amuse him.
I was invited to judge the Valentine Day kissing competion at the Hippodrome. I took along my Kissing Lady Robot. (She vibrated when kissed and when really aroused the top of her head exploded filling the place with confetti.) Cheryl Baker and Danny Baker were there to assist. The gents toilet was full of very young women putting white talcum powder down their rubber frocks (I think). I was shocked and felt terribly old and out of place in my 'John Collier' dinner jacket.
I returned to the dance floor. Looking around for some one vaguely in my age range, I spotted this older guy. I walked to wards him. When he saw me he said, "Doppleganger." It was Viv Stanshaw. We were both totally out of place. He asked me what I was doing there. He'd come along to watch. He was a friend of Danny Baker. What a shame he died - he was making a comeback and who knows what other brilliant things he would have done?
My father was deaf and could not talk. He thought I was an great success on TV. I later found out he was mistaking Mike Harding for me.
What is the most annoying thing you have ever invented?
(marchant *tring tring*)
The flatuence wind chimes.
Gadgets & Money or Special powers?
Definitely special powers - all the others, if needed, would come from it.
Who's the better inventor, you or B.A Baracus from the "A Team"?
Do you need to ask?
Do you know the inventor Bruce Lacey?
(FACT Bruce was the guy cutting the lawn with a pair of scissors in the Beatles film "Help" - @man)
I don't know Bruce Lacy but I do know of Bruce Lacy. He was at the Royal College of Art with a friend of mine. He amazed people at a dance in 1952 when he turned up with a dummy dance partner, with her feet attached to his shoes. Then he did a trapeze act with another puppet. He was the one of the great originators of what is now respectably called performance art.
You worked with Janet Ellis on Jigsaw - did you fancy her?
You worked with Jeremy Beadle on Eureka - what is he like?
I worked with Jeremy on a few shows. I think one of the first was "The Ideal Home Exhibition". He was on LBC and he had a robot on the radio show called 'Kurt Knobbler'. It didn't talk - it made noises that Jeremy did with a ray gun he'd bought at Hamleys. The robot did not exist, so he asked me to design and build it. I found him great to work with - full of ideas and his general knowledge is incredible. Get his book "Today's the Day". DJs use it when they're stuck for something to say.
Which is better, Hobnobs or those pink wafer things?
Pink wafers, but only eaten in secret.
Where do you stand on the Jaffa Cakes: biscuit or cake issue?
Jaffa Cakes are too exotic to be a biscuit. They are definitely small cakes.
Is there a history of facial hair idiosyncracity in your family?
I don't know what you mean by 'idiosyncracity' - I come from a working class family and we never had any thing that was difficult to spell.
Does your mother play golf?
Which colour do you find most offensive when applied to a:-
I once did a thesis on colour in which I stated, ' England will not tolerate lime green.' Pompous or what? Friends will not let me forget it. I think they might put it on my tombstone as a final joke. I would prefer "END OF PART ONE?" I think it sums up everthing.
Kebabs. Donner or Shish?
Never had one - don't know what you mean.
Do you find it odd that you can purchase a beef madras, when madras is a
region in a Hindu country, and thus making a curry, no matter how tasty,
from a sacred creature, would be a mild breach of etiquette?
These things can offend. I wasn't too happy when I weighed 16 stone and was refered to as 'The Yorkshire pudding.'
Style or Content?
Unfortunately it all appears to be style nowadays.
Who would win a fight between Batman and Spiderman?
Have you seen www.hatsofmeat.com?
Are they more or less practical than your wonderful creations?
Yes I have seen it and I do not understand.
Is it just me or does your website description of how you ended up on
television read like a Chris Morris script?
That's as maybe. You may be interested to know my son Richard Daniel Winkle Lunn was art director on Chris Morris's 'JAM' etc.
Why was Mooncat green?
The fur fabric was on special offer because they couldn't sell it. The cloth was originally for toy three toed sloths, the only known green mammal. It didn't sell.
Rocky mountains, Rocky the movie series or Rocky chocolate bars?
Rocky Mountains. Land of mystery and of course the deadly 'Rocky Moutain Fever'
How much wood would a wood-chuck chuck if a wood-chuck could chuck wood?
Have you ever considered going on Scrapheap Challenge with Heinz Wolf on
the opposing team? Personally, I'd love to see that episode!
I was approached about judging a Celebrity Scrapheap Challenge. I don't know if they did the show but I heard nothing more about it. I have worked with Heinz Wolf on a breakfast show where he made a useful comment about my contact lens catcher. Unfortunately one of the guests on the show suffered from an eating disorder called something like Praedowillis. I misheard this and said to the PR next to me, "Did he say he had Playdough Willies?". The PR started giggling hysterically and had to leave the studio. I was not asked back.
What is the most elaborate prank you have ever played on someone?
Can't tell you - I haven't been found out yet.
Can you do a convincing impersonation of James Mason?
I can't do an impersonation of him. When I was in his company he affected a slight Yorkshire accent. I don't know if he was taking the piss but just one 'E by gum' and that would have been it.
What animal or object would you most like to give a voice to, which you
could then have a conversation with? What do you think it would say?
A cat would obviously be too critical and demanding. It would have to be a dog which would bolster up my ego with unconditional love.
What if the moon was a balloon?
(If anyone asks Ijon Tichy isn't here)
Lunatics would be Balloonatics.
Are you a Benny tied to a tree? (That's as much as I want to know about
When I last checked I wasn't.
What's the strangest place you've ever found something you lost?
I found the telly zapper in the rubbish bin. I think it was a message.
What do you want to be best known as?
What's on your drawing board at the moment?
A mechanical target Chistmas Tree. All the turkeys, chickens etc., when shot turn into the cooked version.
If planets were cube shaped instead of circular, how do you think it would
effect our daily life?
This is news to me I didn't know the planets were circular.
Isn't kid's tv these days shit?
It is for kids.
What is the the last record you bought?
The last 45 I bought was 'Deck of cards'.
What PR stuff have you turned down?
Wet Tee Shirt competion. Stand in for the Honley Show camel race.
What on earth did you do for FHM?
I think it was a review on new electronic gadgets.
Your first book "Mad things to make from Vision On" has a word
blanked out on the back cover - it says "Wilf Lunn was one of the
______ behind Vision On". What got blanked out?
The word blanked out was "Brains". The publisher or my agent wrote the blurb and Patrick Dowling quite rightly objected to it. I was just a contributor, not one of the brains behind "Vision On". Incidently it wasn't until I got a copy of the book that I found someone had dedicated it to Patrick Dowling. I never found out who did it. He later sacked me. Happy days.
Is your entire house like something out of a Wallace and Gromit film,
where contraptions make the toast, put on your trousers etc?
No, but it is full of strange objects. Reusable wooden suppositories, cucumber straightners, cannibal forks etc.
Was the moustache worn first by Charles Bronson (the loony armed-robber,
not the film actor) or your good self?
Who knows, but incidently I do know the guy he held hostage, Phil Dan.
Why do you not feature enough on telly anymore?
I am no longer Polically Correct.
What's the best thing you ever made, and what's the best thing you never
'The Good Bye machine' was the best television machine. I'm hoping to get them all made eventually.
Do you still live in Gods own County of Yorkshire? And if so, how good is
Yes I do still live in Yorkshire and what evidence there is of God is usually in the shape of god-botherers shouting in the streets. Which I could do without.
What could you make out of cheese? A hard cheese like cheddar, for
I was never allowed anything sharp like hard cheese. Although it was pointed, as a treat, we sometimes had Dairylea Triangles, with the points cut off, just in case.
Have any of your inventions seriously injured you?
(mookid gets the keys for his new cow-shed tomorrow)
Kurt Knobbler on 'Fun Factory' blew all the skin off my right hand.
Do you think it would be possible to teach a monkey to swim?
I didn't know they couldn't swim.
Where do you go for your holidays?
What is the most socks you have ever worn at the same time?
What is your favourite word? (mine is pavement)
Who would win a fight out of Ganesh and Hanuman?
I predict a draw. It must go on.
What sort of animal would you make if you were god?
(marchant *tring tring*)
The self shearing sheep exists, so it will have to be the kangerafacow.
How long was the longest wheelie you ever did on a minature bike? and can you do an endo as well?
The nearest I've been to riding on a minature bike was on a show where I had to wear a pair of early roller skates that looked like small three wheeler tricycles. I couldn't even stand up in them. I fell hard on the studio floor shouting, "Strewth." I thought this was quite mild in front of an audience of children. I was given a severe bollocking by the BBC for swearing. Apparently it's a euphamism for "God's Truth". Who knows that apart from Clive Doig?
Why are elephants grey?
God ran out of time. It's just the undercoat.
If you found out you were the son of god, what would you do?
I'd look on my mother in a totally different light. Then I'd sue for unpaid child maintainence.
How many words can you think of that rhyme with orange?
Nothing rhymes with orange but some think door hinge.
Do you still visit Huddersfield's Outdoor Market and don't you get annoyed
at all the locals pointing and saying "Aye up, that there's Wilf Lunn tha
I've never heard anyone say that. I'm very rarely recognised - remember I was on TV thirty years ago.
What's the best bargain you picked up at the aforementioned market?
(armaitus - by the way, I promise to stop pointing and saying "Aye up, that there's Wilf Lunn tha nose!" to my girlfriend. As long as the council agree to replace the tired old statue (outside the train station) of Harold Wilson with one of the great Mr. Lunn.)
Three cannibal forks and an early pewter baby feeding bottle.
What's your favourite place in Huddersfield?
Where do you get your specs?
Various opticians. I used to have them made but I can't find anyone to do it now.
Before you grew a moustache did you imagine what it would be like to have
one and, if so, does your real life moustache live up to your imagination of
it or not?
You know, I always wanted a moustache. When I was a kid I'd send off to Ellisdons for fake 'taches. At the time, I favoured a goatee.
How tall is red?
I can't do the decimal conversion but it's getting taller, although, interestingly, the width is the same.
Do you still have the bike with balls on the wheels for attracting worms
to the surface, enabling worm capture?
(That was cool.)
Yes, I still have the full size version. The balls have since been removed so it could be used for other projects.
Do you have a favourite flavour jam?
I no longer eat jam, but, when I did, I loved marmalade.
What colour is your house?
Have you ever thought about making a machine to stroke kittens and keep
No, but I did make a back scratching machine for a lad on 'Jim'll Fix It'.
Since you're a man who knows about patents, do you think the introduction
of early publication of US patent applications will - in the interest of legal
certainty and fairness to the general public - in time require the US Patent
and Trade Mark Office to adopt a stricter approach on added subject matter,
corresponding, say, to the European Patent Office's almost literal basis-only
application of Article 123(2) of the European Patent Convention?
Well yes and no, but has any consideration been given in the light of what is already known about the past flaws? And let's not forget the successes.
Also, what is your favourite nob gag?
My second favourite nob gag is: A man goes to the doctor and shows him his willy. The doctor looks at it and sees it's full of holes. The man says, "It's terrible - when I pee it's like a watering can. It goes everywhere." The doctor says, "I think you ought to see Mr Croft." "Is he a specialist willy doctor?", the man asks. "No he's a flute player - he'll show you how to hold it."
What should we have asked you and what would you have answered if you'd
Where did you go wrong? I'm still thinking about it.
Dear Wilf, Why are you so fantastic?
I looked Fantastic up in the dictionary, it says: Bizarre in form, conception or appearance, strange etc., I read no further - I intend to only leave the house wearing a hood.
When did you last fall over?
If you were asked to build a machine that could answer once and for all
the eternal question "Daddy or Chips", how would you do it and how would
Since it's quite plain that a plate of chips could not fullfill the role of a father.[Is it?] The device would have to be a chemical-digestive one to ascertain the food values of a Daddy or chips.
When was the last time you were excited?
When I thought of my satirical twist to my 'Last Supper' sculpture. Sad or what?
What's in your pockets right now?
If you had to have one world famous landmark surgically attached to you,
what would it be and why?
Parts of Michaelangelo's David. Need I say more?
What do you have planned for today?
Answering bloody questions
Find out more from Wilf's website,
where you'll find knitting instructions for making a Motorway Moses Hat, more of
the story behind Kurt Knobbler and loads of bicycles.
Thanks to Wilf for struggling with his email and being such a charmer, Mike Trinder for convincing him it would be a good idea (and getting it onto the interweb), Rob, Pe©ker, Reverend Dan, LP, Tyrone, Iaini, MattyBoy, Witchy, Wayward and Ellis for the pictures, and the B3ta board members for the questions.