A virtually forgotten show ( made by L.W.T. ) from the early days of Channel 4, 'For 4 Tonight' can now be seen as a forerunner of the B.B.C.'s 'Knowing Me, Knowing You...With Alan Partridge'. It was a spoof chat-show, hosted by a guy ( Tony Royale ) whose ego dwarfed his talent, and broadcast direct from the fictional town of Newton Barnes, near Milton Keynes. Royale - played by George Irving - was a smirking berk who never let his guests get a word in edge ways ( like Terry Wogan ). When he sang a romantic duet with a young girl singer, for instance, he increased his vocal pitch on every line, virtually obliterating her contribution to the song.
Rachel Bell - later to play 'Louise' in John Sullivan's 'Dear John' - was co-host 'Avril Petrie'. The guests consisted of a pedicurist, a fishmonger, a stuntman and a mortuary superintendent. Norman Chappell was a Syd Lawrence-style band-leader, with whom Royale would engage banter with. Like Eric Idle's 'Rutland Weekend Television', the show had an inspired tattiness. The guests were nobodies, yet Royale treated them as though they were A-list celebrities. There was also a talent spot in which idiots did stupid things such as pushing pans of water along the studio floor by means of their stomachs.
Ruby Wax wrote the show, while ex-'Monkey' drummer Michael Dolenz produced and directed. It was funny, but only six episodes were made.
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