THIS week in 1975 the Adver interviewed a 24-year-old actor called Simon Jones, whose parents lived near Wootton Bassett.

At the time he was appearing as a 14ft alien called the Master of Karn at London’s Adelphi Theatre, in a play called Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday.

It was his first brush with a science fiction classic - but definitely not his last.

In 1978 the actor would star as put-upon everyman Arthur Dent in an acclaimed radio adaptation of Douglas Adams’ the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Three years later he would reprise the role in the TV version, guaranteeing himself a prominent place in the history of small screen cult classics.

Later would come roles in high-profile film productions as diverse as Brazil and 12 Monkeys, together with distinguished stage career on both sides of the Atlantic.

With all of that still ahead of him, the young actor told us he’d auditioned for his role in the Doctor Who stage show while wearing a dinner jacket, having come directly from a stint as an extra in another play.

He said: “The director, Mick Hughes, seemed to choose cast according to whether they were friendly and suitably insane.

“He obviously decided that because of my dinner jacket I was insane enough.”

The Doctor Who part, we added, involved emitting high-pitched screeches for two performances per day throughout the play’s four-week run.

Simon Jones’ latest project is a part in the forthcoming Downton Abbey film.

Another person with something big in his future that week 44 years ago was Ken Messenger, who lived in Mildenhall near Marlborough.

Ever since his childhood, when he rode motorbikes at his father’s nursery in Chiseldon, Ken had had an adventurous spirit.

A completely different form of transport brought him to national attention.

In 1977 he would become the first person to cross the English Channel by hang glider, but when we spoke to him in early 1975 the 37-year-old was already the holder of the British hang gliding altitude record.

His glider had been lifted 12,700 feet into the sky above the Isle of Wight before being released.

Ken acknowledged that there was danger involved in what he did, but it was a danger he managed carefully.

“I don’t think anyone in their right mind takes risks that aren’t carefully calculated,” he said.

“I am a cautious person. You must take a certain amount of risk - that’s inevitable. The thing is to eliminate the risk as much as possible, so you take just a very carefully calculated risk.

“From all the things that I have done it’s by far the most exciting and the most rewarding. It also happens to be the cheapest.

“It’s very difficult to describe its particular appeal. When you have had a good flight - or this last balloon drop, for instance - you’ve been on to an edge, to a limit, and it’s tested your judgement.”

Thamesdown Borough Council was in the news for having a commendably sensible approach to graffiti. It announced that young people were welcome to paint their designs on suitable walls owned by the council, provided they sought permission first.

One of earliest and most striking designs was a multicoloured rendering of mythical beast the Wyvern, which appeared on the wall of the former Methodist Central Hall in the town centre. The artists were a team of youngsters under the guidance of pioneering and visionary arts officer Terry Court, who revitalised the Swindon arts scene.

The response of local people was positive. Even those who didn’t regard the design as a masterpiece thought the livening of dreary spaces could only be a good thing.

Most of those we spoke to thought the beast was a winner, though.

Sandra Maisey, of Cross Street, was typical: “I think it brightens up the place. It’s not doing any harm, is it? The dragon’s very good - I like it.”

Another art-related story allowed us to obey what appears to have been an official editorial policy at the time, to the effect that no edition of the Adver should be permitted to hit the streets unless it contained at least one mention of singer-songwriter and local boy made good Gilbert O’Sullivan.

Our story, however, wasn’t about the hit music which had made him a household name on both sides of the Atlantic.

The former Swindon College student was - and is - an accomplished painter, and he was among 13 exhibitors in a show at the Museum and Art Gallery in Bath Road. We photographed one of his pieces being inspected by the Mayor of Thamesdown, Coun Ray Smith.

The exhibition also included a painting of the star by friend and former roommate Ken White, who was already well on the road to becoming the town’s best known and most acclaimed painter.

Many years later the Adver would photograph Gilbert’s painting again, this time being viewed by the man himself.