TV Cream

Photo clippage

Photo clippage special: so long, Digit Al

THE GREAT DIGITAL SWITCHOVER (and that really should have been its official name) is almost over.

Only south-east England, north-east England and Northern Ireland are still to make the change.

By the autumn of 2012, we’ll have said goodbye to analogue – or, if you’d rather, Anna Logue – for good. But we’ll also have said so long to Digit Al: mascot, icon and safely asexual children’s entertainer.

This approachable android with a penchant for transmitter frequencies and gigantism has only a few months of service remaining.

How he will be missed, from billboards and full-page advertisements to school assemblies and citizen’s advice bureaus across the land.

He even had his own favourite words, including doobiwotsit, spagcable (“delightfully un-PC”, as Radio Times’s Alison Graham would say) and anazapper.

We’re not entirely sure if the Digit Al toys on eBay are legitimate. We’ve just been on the phone to Nick Ross, who tells us that if you’re thinking of snapping one up, remember to look for the government’s official “digital tick”. Failing that, a John Major Citizen’s Charter “Charter Mark” will do. (In fact, if it has one of those, it could be worth double!)

Anyway, by way of a salute to Al and to mascots of national consciousness-raising campaigns down the decades, we present a few snapshots from his tireless travels.

SPOILER: Contains one of ITV’s Daybreak presenter-failures.

1) Here’s our man on the very first of his roadshows. If you want come down, the local bus routes are 19, 35 or 46:

If you want to come down, it's bus routes 19, 35 or 46


2) That Albert Square sign doesn’t look canon. Then again neither does Dot’s outfit. Who knew Al was so tall?

"I've heard of getting square eyes, but this is ridiculous!"


3) If only our assemblies had been like this. The best we could hope for was a visit from the local lollipop lady:

"I'm a mystic. And here's me stick!"


4) Al’s mission has taken him across the nations and regions, those all-important props always by his side:

When Al's said and done...


5) Every transmitter tower should have one:

Walk out to Winter


6) Oh dear, this is no good at all. Perhaps our man was suffering from Al-titude sickness. At least there’s no sign of the Midlands miserablist:

Midlands miserablist not pictured


7) Boris Johnson promised to send one of these over-sized calculators to every home in Greater London*:

The best for last


8) A man and his people. We’ll miss you, Digit Al!

A hero meets his people

*This might not be true.

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