Dreamboat's big moment

11th March 2005 at 00:00
The scene to be enacted across the computer screens of staff at the Department for Education and Skills smacks of the 1980s holiday-camp sitcom Hi-de-Hi. Just picture David "Dreamboat" Normington, chief mandarin in the department, as the perpetually-embarrassed camp director Jeffrey Fairbrother and Rani King, the editor of the department's wonderfully obsequious in-house magazine, as chief yellowcoat Gladys Pugh.

It seems "Dreamboat" - so-named in a gushing King interview a few years ago - thought he would escape the DfES's Comic Relief embarrassathon because he was touring schools in the North-east. But he had reckoned without Ms King.

"She is a sort of unofficial cheerleader to us all," Normington told a Diary snout.

King told her boss that there was no need to perform live and talked him into recording the video to be played on the DfES staff's computer screens today. It features the permanent secretary and a couple of musical minions belting out an unorthodox version of Elvis Presley's Wooden Heart ("Treat me niceTreat me goodTreat me like you really should 'cause I'm not made of wood").

Normington admits: "The video was made in my office. I insisted on the blinds being down because I didn't want anyone to see."

They will see it today, David!

Anyone on his North-east tour wishing to share the moment might like to ask the great man to lead a singalong. He's got a red nose in his pocket.

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