The Worker (1965–1970)
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The Saucerer's Apprentice 

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
The Worker
Henry McGee ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edwin Brown ...
Man In Queue
Celestine Burden ...
Snooty Girl
Jean Challis ...
1st Woman In Queue
Cyril Cross ...
Policeman
Kay Frazer ...
Extra Terrestial Being
Fred Hugh ...
Shop Manager
Matthew Robertson ...
Man in Crowd (as Matthew Roberton)
Marcia Warren ...
2nd Woman In Queue
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Comedy

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Release Date:

27 August 1970 (UK)  »

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Charlie Meets E.T.!
19 January 2008 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Finding an extra-terrestrial being in his back garden one morning, Charlie does what any right-thinking person in the same situation would do - he takes it to the Employment Exchange. Mr.Pugh thinks Charlie is playing some bizarre practical joke, but when the E.T. begins melting plastic objects such as pens and a phone, he is reduced to a gibbering, thumb-sucking wreck.

Charlie and the E.T. head for the nearest park, where their attempts at communication are mistaken for busking. His hat full of coins, Charlie realises he is on to something. At the London Palladium, crowds of people queue to see a show, and are unexpectedly entertained by Charlie and the E.T. doing their plastic melting act...

The late Charlie Drake belongs firmly in that category of British comedians whom you either love or hate. The naysayers bracket him in with Norman Wisdom as a typical example of a smug comic who played safe and never took risks with comedy, while his admirers hold him up as a fine example of a knockabout comic who could entertain millions without feeling the need to use profanity or expose parts of his anatomy. Personally, I belong in the latter camp, when Charlie was on the box you could not drag me away from it. Though he was no Chaplin, his slapstick comedy was consistently inventive and amusing.

This was one of the last 'Worker' episodes made, and though until recently I hadn't seen it for nearly forty years I was surprised at how much I remembered. The E.T. looks like what it was - a woman writhing around inside a white sack - but as this is a comedy I did not feel remotely insulted by the cheapness of the S.F.X.

Possibly the plastic eating aspect was inspired by the opening episode of the B.B.C.'s sci-fi drama 'Doomwatch', broadcast in January of that year.

The ending - in which the E.T. falls in love with a pillow case on a washing line and changes itself into one - is curiously touching as well as absurd.

Amongst the people lined up outside the Palladium is Marcia Warren, later to play the nosey 'Vera Botting' in the William Gaunt sitcom 'No Place Like Home'.

Funniest moment - Charlie asks a young woman if the coat she has on is plastic. "Certainly not!", she snaps, "It is leather!". The E.T. soon exposes her lie, however, by melting it, leaving her fuming in her underwear!


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