BRUCE and Sally Davis have got use to the expression now: a frozen smile hiding, one suspects, just a hint of terror.
They’ve seen it on the face of everyone from Graham Norton to James Corden, Jessica Ennis to Brian Blessed.
No matter how at ease they try to put the hundreds of celebrities they tracks down and introduce themselves to, it tends to be the one look which greets them. Especially when, seconds after shaking hands, they produce a recorder and ask for a message for their stalker file.
But, really, those stars need not fear. That ‘stalker file’ is all in the name of regional radio. And this unusual hobby - “anorak star spotting,” as Bruce calls it - has seen them become something of a celebrity pair themselves.
For the couple of Todwick Road, Woodseats, have not only been name checked in Radio 1 DJ Comedy Dave’s autobiography and been the subject of a documentary about obsessions set to air on cable’s DMAX channel in Spring; Bruce is also, next month, set to celebrate three years since he was asked to launch his own ‘stalker quiz’ on Yorkshire’s Real Radio.
“We just love meeting celebrities,” the 41-year-old sweet factory worker shrugs. “We did it individually before we got married, and now we do it together.”
That quiz, then, you may have heard. Each weekend Bruce appears on Guy Harris’s show listing four clues with listeners then challenged to work out which two celebrities he and Sally have met that week. Afterwards, he plays those voice recordings.
He got the gig in 2009 after phoning the station, telling producers they needed a fresh feature and suggesting they guess whose autographs he had collected earlier.
“They loved it,” he says. “And we’ve done it since. It’s great, gives me an excuse to meet more celebrities.”
So far among the 132 victims, sorry guests, have been TV heavyweights such as Dermot O’Leary, comedians like Stephen Merchant and politicians including Nick Clegg. They’ve travelled to Leeds to bag Phill Jupitus, London to collar Chris Moyles and stumbled on Chico here in Sheffield - “although,” notes Sally, 38, who works for Avon, “I’m not sure you can class Chico as a celebrity.”
Not that it always runs smoothly.
“John Barrowman said he didn’t speak to anyone but the BBC,” says Bruce. “And Rhydian from The X Factor’s tour manager told me to go away. I did. It was only Rhydian.”
But their obsession with celebrity started long before Real Radio gave the pair an excuse to stalk.
This is a couple who actually met while they both waited outside Broadcasting House to meet Radio 1 DJ Clive Warren.
“She didn’t want me there because she wanted to meet him alone,” says Bruce, recalling that day in 1998. “But I wasn’t going anywhere. I bought her a McDonald’s and we swapped numbers. I ended up proposing at a Clive Warren gig a year later.”
It was a match made in celebrity-spotting heaven.
“Now we work Monday to Thursday and then we spend three days hunting celebrities,” says Bruce. “We were mentioned in Comedy Dave’s book after meeting him a couple of times, which is nice. We just learn what hotels the celebs stay at and wait around venues. We make a day of it. It’s something we enjoy. My friends say we’re mad. But we’re not. Honest.”