Shameful Confession Time: I used to find Little & Large hilarious. Already I can hear the sound of jaws dropping in amazement. That time, dear friends, was in 1970 when I was eight years old, and Syd and Eddie were to be found each week on the long-running kids' variety show 'Crackerjack!'. Michael Aspel did the quiz show section, but Little & Large ( supported by Stuart Sherwin ) got to do the funny stuff, as successors to the golden team of Leslie Crowther and Peter Glaze ( I recall them in a 'Star Trek' spoof with Eddie as 'Mr.Spock' ).
For the uninitiated, Little & Large were a comedy double-act who came to public prominence on 'Opportunity Knocks!' and who basically consisted of Eddie Large and...Eddie Large. There was another guy in glasses and white hair, but I forget his name. Oh yes! I remember now! John Major!
Had John ( sorry, Syd ) and Eddie stuck to amusing us tots, all would have been well. But in 1976, Thames unwisely gave them a peak-time extravaganza, wittily entitled 'The Little & Large Telly Show'. Frankly, it stunk.
As Clive James pointed out at the time, the boys had one act between them which they flogged to death, namely 'Supersonic' Syd attempting to sing a song while Eddie interrupted him with ( admittedly good ) impersonations of Cliff Richard, Deputy Dawg, Benny from 'Crossroads', Hylda Baker, Oliver Hardy, and others. They were still using this basic routine in 1991 when they got fired from the B.B.C.
Tony Hatch conducted the orchestra and occasionally was the butt of the lads' jokes. He later commented: "When I watch, I think 'oh God, how can I go on 'New Faces' again after this?'. He was right to be embarrassed. The show only had one basic set. In addition to Syd, Eddie, and Tony, there was also a gaggle of female backing singers, who trilled the names of the stars by way of a theme tune.
If 'Telly Show' deserves to be remembered at all, its for putting the horrendous novelty single 'Ma-Na-Ma-Na' back in the pop charts. That should tell you how bad it was.
Thankfully, only one season was made, but Syd and Eddie did not need to worry as they were snapped up by the B.B.C. where their show became a Saturday night fixture for years, along with 'All Creatures & Small' and 'Jim'll Fix It'.
I am not averse to childish comedy ( I rather like Norman Wisdom, The Grumbleweeds, and Don Knotts ) but Syd and Eddie's seeming inability to develop their comedy made them for me about as amusing as having teeth drilled. I also hate double-acts where one man does all the work.
Interviewed some years back on 'Who Killed Saturday Night T.V.?', Eddie Large made the following interesting observation: "You put two men hitting each other with frying pans on B.B.C.-1 on a Saturday night, and people think its stupid. Show the same thing on Channel 4 at 11 P.M. and people think its cutting-edge comedy.". He never said a truer word in his life.
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