Well, folks, another Royal wedding looks on the cards. Stack up on your D.V.D.'s and books because for the next few months the airwaves are going to be chock-a-block with sycophants of the James Whitaker variety taking it in turns to describe William and Kate as a 'jolly nice couple' and calling the wedding a 'great day for Britain'. I well remember the nausea induced by Charles and Diana's ( and we all know how that marriage turned out ) 'fairy-tale' hitching. The person most delighted by the news must be David 'we are all in this s--t together' Cameron as it now means the media will be too focused on the Royals' impending nuptials to notice his appallingly savage spending cuts. All we need now is for Brixton riots to break out and it will be 1981 all over again.
Onto a more pleasant subject - 'The Smell Of Reeves & Mortimer'. I missed it in 1993, but caught up with it recently thanks to that miracle of modern technology - D.V.D. Vic and Bob were the 'in thing' in comedy then, having just jumped ship to B.B.C.-2 from Channel 4 where they had made 'Vic Reeves' Big Night Out'. They were being touted as the 'alternative Morecambe & Wise'. 'The Smell' was a mixture of songs and sketches, some amusing, others not. This first edition opened with a Patrick Allen monologue establishing a fake background for the duo, then they appeared in the studio to perform a parody of 'The Windmills Of Your Mind'. Uncle Peter ( Charlie Chuck ), a loony in a huge wig, was one of a number of regular comic characters. Others included Pat Arrowsmith and Dave Wright, a pair of aggressive, bra wearing Geordies. Despite the modern trappings, it was an old-fashioned type of series, owing a debt to Spike Milligan's 'Q' shows. Particularly good was 'Slade In Residence', with Vic as Noddy Holder and Bob looking incredibly like Dave Hill. Mark Williams and Paul Whitehouse ( later to appear in 'The Fast Show' ) played other members. The affectionate send-up of the '70's band had them living in the same house, still wearing their stage clothes, and drinking Cup-A-Soup constantly. Holder later said it was not too far removed from the real thing.
An amusing spoof of 'Food & Drink' featured Rebecca Front ( from 'Big Train' ) as Jilly Goolden, a wine 'expert' whose absurd observations ( "I'm getting hints of parsley, I'm getting suggestions of Oxo, I'm getting creosote, I'm getting lavender, I'm getting well-paid to talk utter rubbish!" ) made her a laughing stock of early-'90's television. People who base their strong views of archive television around whether or not it is dated should be warned - there are references to 'Lovejoy' ( which starred Ian McShane ) and Jimmy Nail's 'Spender'. I cannot help wondering though if Morecambe and Wise had blacked up to impersonate Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye whether they would have been lambasted for racism years later by the likes of Sarfraz Manzoor and Stephen K.Amos. I think so.
Funniest moment - Dave and Pat trying to buy a birthday card. When the shopkeeper points out they have picked up the wrong one, they lose their temper and mention the fact they are wearing bras ( except Pat, who forgot to put his on that day! ).
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