Some programmes can be summed up in one word, and the word that best describes 'Must Wear Tights' is YUCK! I've seen some nauseating things on the box in my time, from Keith Chegwin's full-frontal nudity in 'Naked Jungle' to Carol McGiffen ( whose only claim to fame seems to be she was once married to Chris Evans. I don't know whom to feel sorrier for - him or her ) spouting off on subjects she plainly knows zilch about on 'Loose Women', but this just about takes the biscuit.
The success of the Travolta/Newton-John film 'Grease' ( 1978 ) led television companies to believe a major revival of the musical was imminent. Quick to cash-in was good old Thames Television, who hastily cobbled together this sickly mish-mash of songs, half-baked comedy and dance. The story - such as it is - has 'Professionals' hard-man Lewis Collins playing an established television star called ( wait for it ) 'Lewis Collins' who decides to change his image by signing up for a new stage musical. But who is to play his leading lady? Enter the lovely, talented Gemma Craven as 'Gemma Craven'. Against all odds, she gets the role and - guess what - falls in love with the leading man. Ahhhhhh! Pass me a sick bag someone.
I haven't seen this since it went out but even now can recall cringing with embarrassment at the spectacle of Collins trying to pass himself off as a musical comedy star. Singing and comedy were not his forte ( and some would add acting to the list ). He looks totally lost without an El Fatah terrorist to shoot at.
Gemma, bless her, tries hard ( having done 'The Slipper & The Rose' she at least had some experience of the genre ) but is defeated by the witless script ( by Eric Merriman, surprisingly ). She first appeared on our screens in 'Hey Brian!', a vehicle for her then-boyfriend Brian Marshall ( a comic once tipped to be the new Ted Ray but who turned out instead to be marginally less funny than Ted Heath ), and then - famously - sported rouge nipples in Dennis Potter's 'Pennies From Heaven'. Her nipples would have gone some way to injecting some fun into this nightmare.
Another problem was an acute shortage of original songs ( the one at the start explaining the function of an orchestra conductor has to be heard to be believed ), so the producers got round this by pinching them from other sources. For instance, when Robert Dorning ( who plays Lewis' showbiz agent ) is chatting to his client, for no apparent reason he bursts into 'Pure Imagination' from 'Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory' ( 1971 ). You half expect the Oompa-Lumpas to come waddling into shot.
Eamonn Andrews, Lionel Blair and dear Tommy Cooper flutter around but to no avail. 'Must Wear Tights' occupied an eight o'clock slot on a Wednesday night, normally reserved for 'The Benny Hill Show' but really Thames should have not bothered. These tights had far too many holes.
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