Motoring: My Worst Car - I hated my Granny

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The Independent Online
THERE REALLY is only one truly bad car and that is the Ford Granada. It is as low as a Second World War bunker and as creaky as an old museum. It is ugly and makes you feel sick. I should know because my mum and dad had one and the interior was sticky Dralon, like a naff old sofa. Our upholstery was extra sticky because I was often sick in the back. I get seasick in the bath, and the way that Granada would wallow and float about on its soft suspension made me feel really dreadful.

Since then, I have made a point of avoiding old Ford Grannies. Until, that is, I did some work for The Really Useful Show on BBC1, which brought together the two things I probably hate the most in the whole world - a Ford Granada and a caravan.

I don't really see the point of strapping a small house to the back of your car. However, the idea of the programme was to sort out people's problems and this problem involved reversing a caravan into a viewer's drive.

I turned up for filming that day, there was a parking expert on hand and then the producer dropped the bombshell. "Paul," he asked gently, "would you mind reversing the caravan?"

Well, I'm a professional and said yes straight away, despite there being a small technical difficulty: I can't drive.

The truth is that I prefer to be driven and have never got around to actually learning. I reasoned that, as I'm an actor, surely I could pretend to drive.

The only problem was that the car involved was a nasty old Granada. It had that same soft sticky Dralon seating, and someone had to find a cushion so that I could see out. I think some of the crew suspected that I was a novice at this driving game, especially after I had stalled a couple of times, then confused my left and right.

It was all very dicey, because this drive was on a slope with a six-foot drop on one side into a neighbour's garden and a rockery on the other. I was actually quite cool about the whole thing and reckoned that all I would damage would be a crummy old caravan and possibly a crummy old car.

That probably explains why I did the whole manoeuvre in one take. It was a complete fluke, of course, and proves that you don't need to pass your test, but it might just help to have a film crew on hand and to be driving a car that you really hate.

Actor and presenter Paul Roseby currently presents `Style Street' on the TV channel UK Style, weekdays at 2pm and 8.30pm. He was speaking to James Ruppert

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