Specious Diatribe shot back into fame in the UK when he played the cheeky jack-the-lad third bollard from the left in ITV’s long running reality drama Traffic Calming Measures. A programme described as the everyday story of street furniture and their escapades and dramas.
Traffic Calming Measures was, of course, the commercial channel’s response to the BBC’s surprise ratings hit of the summer Lamppost. This was an in-depth look at the dramatic life of a lamp post on one of London’ most famous streets.
A poll named the star of Lamppost, Hetty Gusset, as one of the most familiar faces on British TV last summer. Hollywood soon signed her up to play streetlights in several new films. One leading Hollywood director said she amazed him with her ability to hold a light bulb high above the traffic, and yet still display all the acting ability that he believed ‘made her be the lamppost’.
However, Diatribe has not had the film offers that have inundated his fellow actors in this new genre of TV show. Many say that it is his perfectionism and willingness to ‘become the bollard’ that has led to him being overlooked for other roles. Perhaps because so many agents, talent scouts, directors and producers all walking right past him, such is his dedication to the role he plays.
Diatribe started out, as we now all know, as a child actor. He had several roles in long-running TV shows where he usually played traffic cones. Such was his influence that soon many youngsters were dyeing themselves orange, with the telltale white reflective strip worn by their hero, in recognition of Diatribe’s roles. It soon meant that several schools made rules specifically banning their pupils from dressing up as traffic cones. Mainly because it broke school uniform regulations, but also because of the problems it causes staff and parents when trying to park their cars outside the schools.
After that, Diatribe moved on to pay a few Men at Work signs. Later, he had a long-running part in the ITV’s remake of their famous old soap Crossroads. There, Diatribe played a set of traffic lights, famously turning bright red when he unwittingly appeared in the show’s most notorious scene. This scene showed the then obligatory soap-opera lesbian on-screen kiss. The kiss took place between the show’s star, Panegyric Umlaut, and an Austin Allegro waiting for the light to turn green at the eponymous crossroads itself.
For a long time afterwards, the remake of Crossroads lost audience ratings. Especially after it introduced a cycle lane, that many in the audience felt was just a sop towards fulfilling some diversity criteria mandate. When the programme ended, Diatribe was lost to British TV; apart from one commercial. There he played the instructions on the back of a bottle of household detergent in what was once voted as the most annoying advert in the history of British TV.
So, for a long time it looked as though Diatribe would be one of those faces only occasionally glimpsed in the background of a murder mystery. However, Diatribe did have one role in Midsomer Murders where he played a hedge, but many critics described his role there, as ‘far too wooden’ and he never played any kind of shrubbery again.
That is how it went until he got the role in Traffic Calming Measures as the bollard. Then, once again, Specious Diatribe was back on our TV screens. It is as if he’d never been away, and long may he remain there… much like a bollard, in fact.