Biffo and the pig that couldn’t fly



peter wilcock.jpg


 former Daily Star Staff

 Photographer in Manchester

Back in the halcyon days when it was oh so much fun, reporter Allan 'Hercule' Hall and I, fresh back from a Daily Star World Exclusive interview with Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal in Vienna, were summoned to Editor Lloyd Turner's office in Manchester where we were both on the staff.

Turner informed us that he wanted to 'bring to life' the paper's back-page cartoon featuring the porcine adventures of one Orson the Pig, penned by Jim Davis.

We were duly dispatched to a local pig breeder near Wigan with instructions to purchase a piglet (receipt required for expenses, naturally) and over the ensuing weeks the real life adventures of our snuffling piglet would be chronicled by Hall and photographed by me.

orson pig

The pig breeder, sensing a killing, informed us that piglets grow at such a rapid rate, that we would have to utilise an identical piglet on a rotational basis.

I was marginally concerned that the logistics of transporting a full grown pig to various civic and celebrity functions would be beyond the load capacity of my Express Newspapers Cavalier, now festooned with air fresheners. (Hall was given to wearing a particularly pungent aftershave, the one with the ship on the bottle.)

The ensuing weeks were hilarious with Hally and myself transporting Orson and a succession of his clones to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and a trip down Coronation Street. The most memorable was a day out at Chester Races where Orson, flush with Express Newspapers moolah, pulled off a remarkable Yankee in the last race.

Adrenalin flowing, expenses burgeoning, we now got beyond ourselves and suggested a 10-day R&R for Orson at Disneyworld Florida.

Alas we were rumbled, Deputy Editor Ray 'Biffo’ Mills, also known as the Docker, took us for a long and liquid lunch in  the 'Hammer' at which he stood a respectable distance upwind and informed us that it was, of course, only the strict US quarantine laws that had put the mockers on the jaunt. 

‘And boys, yes mine’s a pint,' sayeth Biffo, ‘let's not forget that pigs can't fly.'

© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre