TOPICS: Roald Dahl's giants in friendly visit

THE Bloodbottler, the Childchewer and the Fleshlumpeater: Roald Dahl set loose a nightmarish cast in his 1982 book The BFG.

Some of them bellowed their way into the Starlight Express Room at John Hunter Hospital yesterday, which would normally be cause for alarm. Giants (the BFG excluded) eat children.

But these ones were props for the Hunter Region Drama School's production of The BFG, which starts later this month at the Civic Playhouse. And besides, these kids are pretty brave. You can book tickets to the show on 4929 1977.

While we're on the subject of the BFG, which stands for Big Friendly Giant, what was your favourite Roald Dahl book when you were young and why?

Some of us were partial to The Witches, followed by Fantastic Mr Fox.

Bachelor battle a blast from the past

TOPICS is outraged, and demands a recount.

Tim Robards, the not-so-ugly-we-suppose lad from Elermore Vale who's breaking hearts and handing out roses on Channel Ten's The Bachelor, isn't even the most eligible from the Hunter.

That title belongs to Bryce Lake, formerly of Valentine, if you go by the results of a contest held at Fanny's nightclub in 2001.

Nineteen-year-old Lake was named Fanny's Bachelor of the Year in the wee hours of a winter morning, cheered on by workmates from Hexham's K&R Hydraulics.

His prize was an 80cm TV.

Fast forward a dozen years and he's now based on the Gold Coast and part of a troupe called Bad Boys Afloat. Their Facebook page has recommendations like "Awesome girls night out" and "Check it out ladies". We got some looks in the office as we browsed that one.

Topics made a few calls and spoke to one of Lake's fellow, erm, dancers. Lake was out training.

We weren't able to get in touch with him by the time of writing which is a shame, because we want to know what it's like being more eligible than The Bachelor.

Despite his 2001 defeat at the hands of Lake, Robards's well-gelled mug now graces billboards and TV promotions.

At the time of the Fanny's contest he was 18, a self-described "part-time model" and said the animal that best described him was a panther: "silky smooth".

Of footy and fists

WITH Nathan Tinkler anointed the "backbone" of the Knights and Danny Buderus the "heart and soul", we wondered who the other bits could be. John Buck, of Ashtonfield, has a thought.

"The great Joey has got to be the conscience," says John.

"Might not always win, but they'd have fun."

One mischievous reader nominates David Fa'alogo as "the fists", a wink to the New Zealander's pugilistic past.

Tennis tip pays off

READER Action Directe, maaate. You were so right.

Action told us the tennis club at Broadmeadow was worth a look on the way to Hunter Stadium, with its "schooners of black at 1990s prices, an old bloke doing a country and western singalong on a Sunday afternoon, then karaoke post-match out in the front bar, in conjunction with heavy metal out the back on Fridays".

Topics popped in en route to the Knights-Eels game on Sunday and, for an outlay of $2, won the raffle. The prize was a kilo of prawns.

We'll be back.

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