Rebecca Tyrrel: 'Fred Dinenage occasionally wore a Hiawatha headdress while presenting How'

Share
Related Topics

Who knew that Fred Dinenage, the heavily-bespectacled TV presenter best remembered for his part in the long-running children's show, How, has a daughter in the House of Commons? Caroline Dinenage is the Tory MP for Gosport. And who knew, other than the Dinenage family and their friends, that I am spelling Dinenage correctly? You can make good money betting people that there is a silent second 'n' in Fred's surname.

Readers not of an age to know his television oeuvre cannot have any idea how odd Caroline's political career seems. Imagine the fruit of Vernon Kay's loins rising one Wednesday lunchtime to say, "Mr Speaker, would the Prime Minister agree with me that All Star Family Fortunes is the finest expression of traditional values known to Britain today?" – and you're getting close. But not that close.

How, which was launched in 1966, was a show in which a team of not-especially-expert presenters answered questions on pretty much anything young viewers cared to ask. The Queen watched it, as she told Fred when he collected his MBE last year.

It would appear peculiar to today's young. They would be startled to see Fred and his co-presenters in the opening sequence, raising their right hands and booming the word "How" in basso profundo voices, presumably meant to evoke tribal chieftains smoking peace pipes in a wigwam in a Hollywood western.

I am fairly sure that Fred occasionally wore a Hiawatha headdress, but I can find no verifying footage on YouTube. Headdress or not however, Caroline's opposition colleagues might regard the opening credits of How as casually racist, though it seemed innocent enough in the Seventies when Caroline was a nipper and the Sioux and Apache were 'Red Indians'.

Fred's other achievements include writing a biography of the Kray twins, whom he came to know well from visiting days and, of course, producing Caroline. Now 40, she was a Tory councillor in Hampshire before going to Westminster. How did she get there? The ultra-safe Tory seat of Gosport become vacant in 2010, How? Because a certain Peter Viggers claimed £1,645 for a floating duck island. That's how.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron's 'compassionate conservatism' is now lying on its back  

Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron

Michael Dugher
Russian President Vladimir Putin 'hits his foes where it hurts'  

Dominic Raab: If Western politicians’ vested interests protect Putin, take punishment out of their hands

Dominic Raab
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform