Sportsbeat reporter rubs shoulders with the star of the show in Manchester
LOVE him or loathe him, it's hard not to be impressed with Tom Cruise's commitment to meeting his fans at premieres.
TAXI: London 2012 Paralympics mascot Mandeville certainly knows how to make an entrance, as he showed at the BT Paralympic World Cup (Action Images)
The pint-sized scientology-worshipping actor consistently spends hours signing autographs, posing for pictures and, if you believe a certain public transport-based newspaper, calling fans' old dears.
But on the middle day - labelled ‘super' Friday reportedly because of my colleague Nick Clowes' performance in a media and celebrities football game - of the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, I witnessed a feat to trump even the efforts of the mercurial Cruise.
Enter Mandeville - much derided, harmless, one-eyed mascot and half of the dastardly London 2012 duo designed and created to earn £15 million of London 2012's £70 million merchandising budget.
You may think that's a fair bit of pressure on two humble steel blobs from Bolton who appear to be the love-children of the Terminator and Mr Blobby.
But on his first public appearance since being unveiled, Mandeville stuck to his duties admirably, entertaining flocks of excitable children at the Manchester Regional Arena with the effortless charm of fellow Bolton cuddly-man Peter Kay.
And if kids having fun happens to be high on Locog's list of priorities, they could do with taking notes from this year's Paralympic World Cup which had it in spades.
There can't have been a primary schoolchild in Greater Manchester who wasn't bussed in for at least one day and what an atmosphere it created.
The stats don't lie after all and the 5,500 who flooded in to watch the athletics on day were the largest ever audience for a disability athletics event in the UK.