Bin Laden "nuts for Bargain Hunt"
Posted by Ed Williamson at 09:10 on 11 May 2011
Unable to leave his compound for long periods for fear he would be discovered by the Pakistani authorities or caught on satellite images, bin Laden would reportedly spend hours trying to buy items on Bid TV. Among his most coveted were an imitation mahogany garden recliner, for which he unsuccessfully bid £36.20, a George Foreman grill, and a limited edition Royal Worcester fine bone china figurine of a Yorkshire terrier.
Video footage shows his dislike for the channel's adverts, however, as he describes David Dickinson as "an enemy we must crush ... small like the ant".
Seeing Top Cat and his loyal cadre of followers as an allegory for his own responsibilities as an ideological figurehead, bin Laden would often refer to his right-hand man Ayman al-Zawahiri as 'Benny the Ball', to other trusted lieutenants as 'Choo-Choo', 'Brain' and 'Spook', and to President Bush as 'Officer Dibble'.
Close friends got to call him 'OBL'.
bin Laden was known to enjoy Dad's Army as a younger man, likening the military struggle of a seemingly powerless group of pensioners to the adversity faced by the Mujahideen in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. A search of his living quarters after his death revealed him to have been a collector of the show's memorabilia, turning up a copy of the Dad's Army Annual 1983, autographed by John Le Mesurier, in which the al-Qaeda founder had almost completed the wordsearch.
An outtake from one propaganda video shows him breaking off from a speech decrying American occupation of Muslim nations to laugh as the camera falls off its tripod and say, "Don't panic, Mr Mainwaring!"
In his firm belief that the machines' technology could be adapted to wage war on the West, bin Laden would watch Robot Wars obsessively, and kept the episodes on video cassettes, catalogued by an indexing system based on the robots' firepower and endurance. At number one was the 1994 final in which Pulverizer defeated Tornado.
An attempt to recruit Craig Charles as a motivational speaker for trainee Jihadists was rejected by the actor's agent.