The grown-up toy collectors who are just little kids at heart

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: The grown-up toy collectors who are just little kids at heart

Scouting for Toys




None of us ever grows up really. We get married, we get mortgages, we get old, but the child lives on inside us.

And like all children, it can be very expensive.

In his smart, new-build, detached house on a quiet estate in Middlesbrough, NHS anaesthetist Faisal indulges a hobby with a gleefully childish streak.

He invited the cameras on Scouting For Toys (Yesterday) into his kitchen diner where the shelves are laden with elaborate tableaux, recreating scenes from movies.

Every diorama features a classic car. There’s James Bond with his Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall, Dustin Hoffman in a red Alfa Romeo from The Graduate, Marty McFly’s DeLorean in Back To The Future and several set-ups from The Fast And The Furious street racing series.

Scouting For Toys features enthusiasts showing off their miniature collections going to auction

These lovingly recreated scenes come at a price. That Alfa alone was a couple of hundred quid.

Faisal happily justifies the expense, explaining that he has a highly stressful job and the model-making helps him to relax.

When he’s crafting a detail from a movie with a multi-million dollar budget, his mind is fully absorbed, with no room for other worries.

But that’s just the rationale, the excuse supplied by a conscious mind for a passion more primal than words.

The truth is that Faisal has never grown out of playing with toy cars — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

As this charming show proves, our favourite toys can connect us to a less complicated time when we felt safe and loved . . . our childhoods.

Tasmin in Swansea collects Superman memorabilia. She has more than 1,400 action figures, games and all manner of merchandise, not counting her comics.

If she can get another couple of hundred items, she reckons she might hold the world’s most comprehensive Man Of Steel archive.

A Teesside auction house serves as the base for the series. Dave, who works in the auction house, recalled sadly that his mum sold his toybox when he was a teenager

The interviewer teased her that she might have a crush on Superman. ‘Do you fancy him?’ Tasmin just blushed.

But she revealed the real secret when she mentioned how her obsession began — watching Superman adventures on the sofa with her adored grandfather.

I’ll bet any money that this is the emotion she’s chasing when she logs on to eBay or drives across the country to another toy auction.

One avid collector, Dave, who works in the Teesside auction house that is the base for the series, recalled sadly that his mum sold his toybox when he was a teenager.

He came home from school one day to find the treasure trove under his bed was gone.

The toys were irreplaceable, but that hasn’t stopped him from devoting his life to trying to fill that gap.

Presenters Greg Davies and Alex Horne head Channel 4’s taskmaster with a cast including including Ardal O’Hanlon from Death In Paradise and Loose Women’s Judi Love

The overgrown adolescents on Taskmaster (C4) are also recreating childhood, which is what makes this show such gloriously innocent fun.

Presenters Greg Davies and Alex Horne behave like the playground bully and his eager sycophant.

Alex doesn’t mind how much his best friend humiliates him, as long as he’s protected from the other children.

The cast of contestants, as ever, includes some very funny faces, including Ardal O’Hanlon from Death In Paradise and Loose Women’s raucous Judi Love.

Their challenges included hunting for plastic ducks and fighting duels. Oxford-educated comic Sophie Duker faced Alex in a rap battle, both of them so embarrassed they looked like they wanted to spend the rest of their lives in hiding.

The best task had them painting a portrait of Greg with lipstick, using their lips as brushes. Comedian Chris Ramsey (you’ll recognise him from Strictly) displayed an unexpected talent.

His drawing made from kisses really looked like Greg . . . worthy of a primary school art gallery.

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