In 1980, Noel Edmonds stunned the world by declaring that he was in love with a television programme. It was, of course, 'Pig In The Middle', scripted by the talented husband-and-wife writing team of Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham, also responsible for the wonderful 'No-Honestly'.
The premise was this; a bespectacled, middle-aged bore by the name of Barty Wade falls in love with the attractive and flighty Nellie ( Penelope ) Bligh. Thing is, he can't marry her because he's happily married to the equally attractive Susan. For three seasons Barty dithered and dallied from woman to woman, refusing to make up his mind one way or the other, until finally the viewers gave up caring. I couldn't believe in this set-up at all. Middle-aged bores such as Barty don't marry women like Susan, much less carry on with girls like Nellie. In true Carla Lane fashion, sex didn't enter the equation. With Liza Goddard involved? Oh come on!
What about the Noel connection, I hear you ask? Well, The Bearded Wonder was recruited by that bastion of journalistic integrity - 'The Sun' newspaper - to fill in for its resident television critic, Margaret Forwood. Noel had the unenviable task of reviewing two Liza Goddard sitcoms that week; this one and a long-forgotten Ronald Wolfe/Ronald Chesney B.B.C. series set in the world of advertising. "'Watch This Space" is so chronic it taints the brilliance of "Pig In The Middle".", gushed Noel, "I am actually love with the programme. Its script is intoxicating.". One can only give thanks pocket tellies weren't around then, as Noel driving his Jag whilst under the influence of this show could conceivably have resulted in a most nasty accident. 'Pig In The Middle' saw a major cast change when, after one season, Dinsdale Landen left, and the role of Barty went to none other than Terence Brady himself! It would be nice to report that the show picked up at this point, but alas no. The funniest moments were when Barty, in a posh voice, spluttered "Hell's tits!" in moments of crisis. Sooner or later, someone is bound to make a game show with that title - and I bet you a fiver Noel will be the one to host it.
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