In the 'One Foot In The Grave' episode 'Timeless Time', Victor ( Richard Wilson ) and Margaret ( Annette Crosby ) drink cocoa in bed as they are unable to sleep. Victor muses on the mysteries of the universe: "Mike Hope and Albie Keen! Never did hear about those two again!". He had a point. Fast-talking Scottish comics Hope and Keen landed their own I.T.V. series in 1966 - written by Sid Hills and Dick Green - and were tipped at the time to inherit Morecambe and Wise's crown ( mind you, the same prediction was made of Mike & Bernie Winters ), but it never happened, and the duo's remaining series were on the B.B.C. and aimed at children.
'Hope & Keen's Crazy House' was the first, set in a house where anything could - and did happen. Supporting Mike and Albie were the talented impressionist Peter Goodwright as 'Crumble' the doddering butler, and Ruth Kettlewell as the fearsome cook 'Mrs.Grapple'. One of the rooms usually had a musical guest. There was a strong 'Crackerjack' feel to the whole thing. The following season reformatted the show as 'Hope & Keen's Crazy Bus' in which the fresh-faced punster's took to the road in an effort to hunt for Uncle Ebenezer's missing treasure. Crumble and Mrs.Grapple went along, augmented by Scottish singer Una McLean. They were stalked by a mysterious villain in black known only as 'the Shadow' ( David Hatton ). Each episode saw them in a different part of the British Isles.
The duo's final series was 'The Hope & Keen Scene' in 1975, which dispensed with the butler and the cook and allowed the fellers to make fun at various themes such as Christmas and summer holidays. There was also a silent movie-type segment ( similar to those in 'Crackerjack' featuring Peter Glaze and Don McLean ) entitled 'The Amazing Adventures Of Michael & Albert'. Apart from a handful of guest appearances on other shows, they then disappeared from the small screen, hence Victor's nocturnal query. They were not particularly bad, its just that Eric and Ernie were miles better. How they must have seethed when in the '80's Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball achieved the level of success they had striven to attain.
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