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   Inside Out - North East: Monday 17th February, 2003

STREAKERS

Streaker at Wimbledon
STREAKERS | Streakers are often exhibitionists
STREAKER BRYNN REED TALKS
  REALPLAYER REQUIRED

It's pure bare-faced cheek. Imagine streaking stark naked in front of a crowd of strangers. But why do streakers get such a thrill from stripping off in public?

Everyone loves a streaker - they're a bit of fun, and they brighten up occasions like big sporting events.

Streaking is illegal in this country, but that doesn't stop dozens of naked exhibitionists from stripping off every year.

Most of us would probably love to streak but we haven't got the guts to do it. So what motivates the streakers who dare to go bare?

Naked Ambition

Streaking is a relatively new phenomena, dating back to the the 1970s when students in the USA used it during protests and demonstrations.

A sticky wicket - cricket internationals are popular with streakers

It wasn't long before the trend caught on in Britain with streakers graduating to the 'fun streak' at sporting events and student parties.

The first major public streak came at Lords in 1975 when Michael Angelow, a navy cook, leapfrogged over a set of stumps during the Ashes, wearing just his plimsolls and a smile.

It set a trend for dozens of other wannabe streakers nationwide.

So why do streakers do it? Some claim it's just for a bit of a laugh. Others say that they had a specific message to get across.

The Queen's Streaker

Geordie Brynn Reed streaked in front of the Queen's Rolls Royce on her Jubilee visit to Newcastle in May 2002.

Brynn says, "I just wondered what it felt like really... It's also something to tell the grandchildren, and that appealed to me."

Brynn Reed
"We are not amused" - the Queen's streaker Brynn Reed didn't intend to upset Her Majesty

"I was planning to run alongside the Queen's car for the entire journey until I got arrested, but unfortunately I misjudged the timing."

"I knew I was going to get caught but it's just a practical joke at the end of the day. I was pretty sure that was the way it would be taken."

"I certainly wasn't out to upset the Queen. I thought I might have got a smirk or reaction out of her, but she was very professional and kept a straight face."

Sadly, Brynn's employers didn't think it was quite so funny, and he was fired from his five week-old job. "I don't think they liked the headline 'the naked civil servant'."

Streaking for a cause

Teesside comedian Chris McGlade streaked for a cause when he stripped off at the Coca Cola Cup final in 1997.

Chris streaked to save Redcar Baths, and he also wanted to apologise to a girl he'd upset. A streak seemed the ideal plan.

Chris McGlade
Chris McGlade streaked to save his local swimming baths in Redcar

"It was just like running on adrenaline. You do it for your 15 minutes of fame," says Chris.

Sadly Chris failed to save Redcar Baths but he did make a public apology to his female friend, and he did send a woman with a disability on the holiday of a lifetime, thanks to a TV appearance.

"It was quite exhilarating - quite a high really... it was a liberating feeling being stark naked in front of a crowd of people," says Chris.

Famous streakers

Famous Streakers
Lady Godiva
Earliest of 'streakers'. Lady Godiva rode naked through Coventry on
horseback.
Billy Connolly
The Big Yin stripped off for a charity stunt on Red Nose Day when he ran around London's Piccadilly.
Michael Angelow
Angelow stumped the Ashes teams at Lords when he became the first famous streaker.
Mark Roberts
Britain's most famous 'serial streaker' plans his streaks with military precision.
Erica Roe
Erica is the queen of streakers. She bared her 40" chest at Twickenham in 1982, and became an overnight celebrity.

 

Perhaps the best known streaker of all time is Erica Roe who ran half-naked onto the pitch at Twickenham in 1982 when England were playing Australia.

Erica later made £8,000 from TV and modelling appearances. She says that she did it as "a dare", and enjoyed the buzz of the moment.

It's a feeling echoed by fellow streakers, many of whom streak once only, and never again.

"It was the biggest buzz I've had in my entire life, it certainly beats a pint," says Billingham streaker Vanessa Richards who streaked at a Middlesbrough football match in front of her hero Paul Gascoigne.

A new breed of streakers

Mark Roberts is well-known as a 'serial streaker', having exposed himself 150 times including streaks at Sunderland's Stadium of Light, the FA Cup Final, and the Grand National.

He plans his streaks with meticulous care and attention to detail. His most memorable streak was jumping naked onto the floating weather map on TV's "This Morning" in 1995.

Today it's even possible to buy streakers for Subbuteo, the football game, to go alongside your football strikers.

It's a sign of the times that streaking has finally become almost respectable!

See also ...

On bbc.co.uk
Lady Godiva (Coventry and Warkwickshire)

On the rest of the web
Streaking
Mark Roberts' official web site
Streaking.org

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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