Thursday 7th June – Yesterday, as my spouse and me sauntered aimlessly around Ilkley’s inclines, something struck me. Mercifully, that something wasn’t the bus I almost stepped in front of on Leeds Road in the centre of the Yorkshire spa town.

Ironically, the thought causing my concentration to wander while crossing the road was the random realisation an anagram of Ilkley was ‘kill ye’. Becoming aware of this worthless fact distracting me to such an extent I was nearly knocked over by the Skipton bound omnibus.

A wantonly reckless act on my part, forgetting the ‘look both ways’ element of the Green Cross Code advocated by actor Dave Prowse on 1970’s TV adverts. When I was a nipper, this towering (6ft 6 inches tall) man wandered the streets and avenues of suburbia as the Green Cross Man. His remit to preach road safety awareness, while looking to avoid banging his head on door frames and low flying aircraft. His lack of success at the latter regularly morphing him from the Green Cross Man into the Real Cross Man.

The Green Cross Code was introduced in 1970, after the National Road Safe Committee deemed the previous campaign’s advice of ‘Watch where you’re walking, you daft sod!’ as unfit for purpose.

green cross code man

Still used to teach road safety awareness now, the code originally taught the following:-

  1. THINK! Find the safest place to cross, then stop.
  2. STOP! Stand on the pavement near the kerb.
  3. USE YOUR EYES AND EARS! Look all around for traffic, and listen.
  4. WAIT UNTIL IT’S SAFE TO CROSS! If traffic is coming, let it pass.
  5. LOOK AND LISTEN! When it’s safe, walk straight across the road.
  6. ARRIVE ALIVE! Keep looking and listening.

Recently the Green Cross Code was updated to make it more relevant for the Haribo fuelled generation of 2018. This is contemporary road safety advice for the ever more defiant child, loudly delivered to an itinerant young child by his overrun mother:-

  1. “Jimmy, stay away from the pavement edge!”
  2. “Jimmy, I mean it… Come back here now!”
  3. “Jimmy, woe betide you if you continue to defy me!”
  4. “Woe betide is a polite way of saying they’ll be severe consequences if you try to cross the road without me, Jimmy!”
  5. “Stop walking the kerb like you’re a tightrope walker, Jimmy!”
  6. “Jimmy, for god’s sake stop trying to push your little brother into oncoming traffic!”
  7. “Right that’s it. You’re banned from using your X-Box for a month!”
  8. “Yes, I know you haven’t got an X-Box, but if I even buy you one I’m not going to let you use it!”
  9. “What do you mean there’s no point buying you one, then?…… I’ll buy you an X-Box just to ban you from using it if I want, young man!”
  10. “Blimey, Jimmy….. Did you just see that man walk into the road without looking?…… He’s really lucky not to have been run over by the Skipton bus!”

In addition to his portrayal of the Green Cross Man, Prowse went on to play Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. The physical character of Vader anyway. James Earl Jones supplied the voice after director George Lucas decided against casting Luke Skywalker’s dad with a west country accent.

Personally, I’d have loved Slade’s Noddy Holder to have got the gig of dubbing Darth Vader’s words of spite. Particularly if the script had been adapted to allow his endearing West Midlands lilt to coax those on the Force’s dark side to utilise terms such as bostin, scrage and buzz.

Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that an anagram of Skipton is ‘not skip’?…… That’s another thing the Green Cross Man recommended not to undertake when crossing the road.