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If "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" has suffered acutely from Politically Correct retro-censorship, being rarely repeated (and then only the odd episode that gets past the new puritans), "Get Some In!" has been officially airbrushed out of late 70s British sitcom history. The total ban on repeats of this series means that I have not seen it since it was originally aired. Set in the 1950s, when young British men were still obliged to undergo compulsory National Service in one of the armed forces, my recollections of this series take me back, nevertheless, to the late 1970s, when such National Service seemed a dim and remote memory (to teenagers like myself, smugly ineligible). It aired in that bizarre cusp or hinge of time between decadent hippie-dom (concept albums, and rock stars in mansions) and early punk, and sought to demythologise the wizard-prang, pipe-between-the-teeth image of the RAF by showing the lowly, earthbound National Service recruits to the air force ("Though you're in the RAF, you'll never see a plane" went one line of the theme song). The recruits ("erks", if memory serves) were the standard-issue collection of heterogeneous types, running the gamut of the English class system and its miscellaneous sub-categories, most notably including the brilliant David Janson, subsequently much under-used, and the no less brilliant Robert Lindsay, in his first starring role (pre-"Citizen Smith"). Presiding over these raw recruits was the fearsome NCO, Tony Selby, a superb utility actor who had graced "The Avengers", "Ace Of Wands" and many another must-see British series of the late 60s and early 70s. With a strong cast, and what seemed at the time to be funny scripts, it is puzzling that this series has never re-aired, but perhaps it reflected too closely the PC insensitivities of the 50s. Our loss!
The nation should be re-exposed to the world of Corporal Marsh. I cannot believe some of the so rubbish that can be bought today masquerading as comedy. This is a genuine comedy from the days when comedy was funny. The marching chant of 'Corporal Marsh is very nice' in series 1 is a TV small classic moment and this programme has a number of classic moments. Please release this on DVD or re-run it again on TV so that we all can enjoy such a moment. There is not a weak episode or series and the characters are strong throughout. The relationship between Percy and Alice was worthy of a spin off series. This is possibly the writers best work although I am sure that others will argue otherwise.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
John Esmonde and Bob Larbey's 'Get Some In' was one of several
military-themed sitcoms inspired by the success of 'Dad's Army'. The
main difference being that while the latter was about old men training
for combat, the former concerned young men ( teddy boy Jakey, vicar's
son Lilley, academic Ken, and Scot Leckie ) conscripted into the R.A.F.
in '50's Britain.
As someone too young to have experienced National Service, I shuddered at the horrors the conscripts were forced to endure, such as having their boots nailed to the floor ( whilst in them ), cleaning the latrines and made to go on exhausting, cross-country hikes. As well as being verbally abused by Corporal Marsh, one of the most frightening characters to ever appear in a sitcom.
'Get Some In' had the ring of truth about it. I expect the reason why it has never been repeated is because of Marsh's homophobic and bigoted attitudes. Ken isn't gay, but Marsh treats him as though he is, while Leckie is so fed up of the Corporal's constant derogatory references to his nationality he even contemplates suicide. Impossible to imagine these things happening in a modern sitcom.
But the lads occasionally got their own back. In one episode, Marsh has been stealing coal from the barracks, leaving the conscripts to freeze in the middle of winter, so Leckie coats the anthracite with oil from the armoury. When Marsh next tries to make a fire, the grate blows up in his face. In another, Jakey sabotages one of the supports on Marsh's caravan, causing it to collapse when Marsh climbs into bed with his wife.
So popular was the show that when Thames Television announced its cancellation, 'The News Of The World' started a campaign for its return. It was successful; unfortunately, it came back without Robert Lindsay, who had left to take up the role of 'Wolfie' in the B.B.C.'s brilliant 'Citizen Smith'. Future 'Brush Strokes' star Karl Howman replaced him. Talented though he is, Karl just wasn't 'Jakey', and the show suffered as a result.
Even so, 'Get Some In!' remains one of I.T.V.'s best '70's sitcoms, and a D.V.D. release is long overdue.
Hi, I have most of the series dotted around on various videos. It is a shame a lot of you haven't seen it again, for I'd like to know what the favourite lines/episodes would be your choice. I like the ones Marsh delivered to Leckie, of course with racist overtones (a big reason why it probably hasn't been repeated) "You're a Scottish spy, sent to infiltrate Her Majesty's 'English' Royal Air Force, and when our backs are turned, you're gonna lead a bunch of rebellious fairies over Hadrian's Wall!" Perhaps another good one is where Marsh 'nails' Lilley's boots - with him inside them still of course, to the floor! (For not swearing by saying 'blimey'!) Perhaps the best sadistic streak was when he 'defused' Lilley by mentioning he was a walking time-bomb. He got the latter to cross his legs, pull his beret down to his nose, put his hands in his pockets, then proclaims "You are now defused!" Of course '3' - F smith always got one over on him and poor Ken was the butt of his 'poofhouse' jokes. It got a little sentimental as it wore on, Leckie getting married to Corporal Wendy (Who also managed not to give in to Marsh). Marsh's megalomania showed through in having his stripes even sewn on to his pyjamas! Well done to the scriptwriters and the five actors. I actually went out with Robert Lindsay's nanny in the late 80's, she said then that Robert still had Mike Grady (Who played Ken in Citizen smith with him) and David Janson (Ken 'poofhouse' Richardson) round from time to time. This hopefully will be out on DVD. Update, as many of you know from 2011, the series made it on DVD, thankfully!
Welcome to the world, post war Britain and the subject is National Service in the RAF Regiment, as the theme music goes "now you're in the RAF you'll never see a plane". Fabulous cast, all of whom are covered elsewhere on this site but the episodes have to be seen to be believed. This program bears all the hallmarks of an illustrious age before any thoughts of a nanny state, no political correctness, no punches pulled, they just told it as it is. This series was pure entertainment and it is a complete shame that only people of my generation got to enjoy it. Previous reviewers on this site have nailed it on the head and I can only back it up. If you have seen "Bad Lads Army", supposed reality TV, this knocks it into a cocked hat, and this is "drama". Please, BBC, put this out on DVD and put me down for the first copies.
This is probably one of the more under-rated comedies of the seventies.
Whilst a number of it's contempories have gone on to cult status, this
to have been forgotten.
I don't know whether it has dated, but they should try showing it again as it would make a refreshing change from the endless repeats of Dad's Army!
When this was first broadcast in the mid-1970's it quickly became one
of my Dad's favourites. He had completed his own National Service with
the RAF at exactly this time so he could sympathise with the 'erks' and
what they endured under Corporal Marsh. He said his introduction to
service life was arriving at an RAF station in the pouring rain after
travelling from one end of England to the other (taking him at the base
nearest to his home would, of course, defy service logic). He was given
two damp blankets, and shown to an empty hut - and I mean empty, not
even a bed. He lay on the floor in his wet clothes and didn't close an
eye all night.
Eventually, after training, he was posted overseas and it is fascinating to look in his photo album and realise these were the dying days of the British Empire: Palestine, South Africa, RAF Khartoum, even Iraq ("Saddam knew my father, father knew Saddam..."). On one occasion he was with a small patrol in the desert. They camped for the night and woke the next morning to find themselves lying on the open sand. Tents, equipment, anything they weren't actually wearing had gone and they never knew a thing. He said they could steal your socks without taking your boots off.
None of this has anything to do with reviewing the programme, but it does show it was grounded in real life. In its day it seemed very funny but nowadays it would be frowned on to call someone 'poofhouse' week after week on prime-time. I don't know why people can't see this as reflecting the ignorance of the person who uses this type of abuse - they insist it makes the show itself 'homophobic'. It was well-written and acted and there are far worse quality programmes around today.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This, as was noted in the previous comment was a great show, and may
well have been Tony Selbys greatest character (barring the worst
cockney rhyming slanging rag and bone man from the Good life)
However this actually was repeated on UK Gold in the late 80's early 90's from the pilot episode through to its final season. Although like most comedies from this time the later seasons output was of a poorer quality.
I think it should be noted that Robert Lindseys portrayal of the teddy boy was pure genius and deserves to be shown again.
This show also introduced Karl Howman (of Brush Strokes fame) in the later series as a replacement for Lindsey.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember this show well.
The phrase I recall was "fag for the corporal".
Marsh called the Grammar school boy "puffhouse" (not very politically correct"!).
In an early episode the teddy boy and another recruit were on guard duty. Confronted with a senior officer who refused to show his pass, threatening them with rank, the teddy boy threatened him back with a weapon, which of course earned the praise of the officer for the recruits and for Corporal Marsh.
In one memorable later episode, Paul Eddington starred as an RAF officer at a careers session. The Grammar school boy wanting to be an officer, frustrated by the officer's class-ridden questions about his father and background, exclaimed that today's RAF was surely beyond these attitudes.
"Good man" says the officer. "You know what you think and you're not afraid to say and not afraid to say it!". (pause). "Quite wrong of course" and dismisses his application anyway.
--- Some of the cast have gone on to great things of course, including Lindsay, Brian Pettifer and Tony Selby. Please release a DVD or show it on UK Gold.
Forget your 'Dad's Armys', and 'Aint 'Alf Hot Mum's, this was the
I fortunately was able to recapture it when the complete series was aired
satellite in the UK. While watching them, I actually found myself utterly
embarrassed...Because I was laughing aloud at the Television like an
unhinged school boy.
I guess that's because it was made in the care free days of the 1970s, when sitcoms were actually funny.
NCO: 'Smiff? Is that spelt wiv one F or two.'
SMITH: 'No. Three.'
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