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Alexei reveals Extra’s role in missing cat tale

Touching story of 'Wilf Mbanga' is told on Bloomsbury comedian's Radio 4 show

02 December, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Alexei Sayle with his cat, Wilf Mbanga

ALEXEI Sayle talked about the Extra’s role in reuniting him with his lost cat, Wilf Mbanga, on his popular BBC 4 radio show last night (Thursday).

Named after a political exile from Zimbabwe, the massive Maine Coone was given to Alexei by the Today programme’s John Humphrys after it turned up in the garden and would not leave.

He was lost for three weeks in 2013 and was found, after an appeal by the Extra and our stablemate, the Camden New Journal, in Regent’s Park, having somehow crossed Euston Road.

Mr Sayle, who lives in Bloomsbury, said: “It’s my last show and I’m going to talk about Wilf Mbanga, and your part in the whole thing. I mean it was very funny. You had two photos, one of Wilf and one of the real Wilf Mbanga. You found out the real Wilf was living in London and got in touch with him about it.”

The real Wilf Mbanga

At the time, the real Mr Mbanga said he was “tickled pink” to know that Mr Sayle had named his cat after him but would not join the hunt because he was allergic to cat hair.

He has featured in the press this week following the collapse of the Robert Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. He has written about how he plans to return to his homeland and visit his mother’s grave for the first time.

Mr Sayle said: “That part of things is a coincidence really. But I do feel a sense of parental pride when I see an article by Wilf. I feel like my Wilf wrote it.” Wilf is no longer allowed outside because “he really doesn’t know where he is”, said Mr Sayle.

Mr Sayle’s Imaginary Sandwich Bar show is available on iPlayer.

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