The celebrity couple from the BBC test card are to split after working together for more than 40 years. The couple’s publicists made the announcement after recent speculation concerning strains in the relationship. It had become a known industry secret that the couple were not getting along privately, each blaming the other for their declining popularity, but they continued to put on a professional face for their many appearances on television.
The first strains appeared early in the relationship when Carole Hersee felt that ‘Bubbles’, the clown doll she sat opposite was getting much more attention and this feeling was exacerbated when Bubbles got an agent and threatened to go solo in the early 70s.
The pair originally started out as a speciality cabaret act in which Carole would unicycle whilst Bubbles would tell jokes in Latin. But it was the legendary BBC Testcard producer Dave Tyler who spotted them, and shot them to stardom with the iconic ‘unfinished noughts and crosses game’. But increasingly public arguments damaged their family-friendly image and the couple nearly split in the late eighties when Bubbles fell into heavy drug use which was only stopped by checking himself into rehab and stopping to reassess his life.
All-day programming gradually reduced their TV appearances, but they continued working and were regulars on the nostalgia circuit making appearances at ‘School Disco’ and ‘I Love the 1970s’, but the longest surviving double act in TV history seemed to have reached the end of the road this week. ‘Carole is a fucking amateur’ said an angry Bubbles to reporters outside TV Centre. ‘I’ve carried her all this time. She’d be nothing without me.’ He was later found sleeping in a Soho doorway clutching an empty bottle of Malibu.
Toast not Ghosts