Hello and a very warm welcome to...
[points off camera]
[runs on panting with a clapperboard]
Michael Bentine's Potty Time! Take One! Cor!
Thank you Clarence. Beautifully done, as always.
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Madmadmadmadmadmadmad! A genuine classic of British TV
I first discovered Potty Time when it was re-run during the summer holidays when I was 14 years old. At the time I suppose i was too old for children's programmes, but I still enjoyed most of them and Potty Time was shown practically every weekday as I recall. I was attracted to it because Michael Bentine is famously the 'fourth Goon' (The Goon Show is a classic radio comedy show of the 1950s which launched the careers of Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe and was an inspiration to the Monty Python team). Peter Sellers tried in vain for years to recapture the spirit of the Goons on film only to be equally delighted and disappointed when Mel Brooks got there first with The Producers (Clouseau was Goonish, but the world he inhabited was not). Spike Milligan carried the same humour into his books, autobiographies and TV sketch shows, but with a more adult quality that made it less accessible to all age groups. Potty Time, however, succeeded on all fronts in recreating the Goon Show style in a TV format. Bentine's stroke of genius was to make Potty Time a puppet show so that (like its radio predecessor) it had no need to follow logic in characterisation or setting. As well as playing a human reporter interacting with the silly puppets he also provided all their voices, man of which were the same voices as characters in the Goon Show (most notably the dim-witted Eccles). The stories (if you can call them that), while based on well-known fiction or historical events, were played absurdly and had a satirical quality in common with the Goons, for example the Frankenstein monster who behaves like a baby because it's only just been born or the French Foreign Legion and the Arabs fighting a constant stalemate war for fear of losing their funding. My favourite episode is the one where Bentnie interviews Marco Polo, who turns out to be a commercial traveller. He he always trades with "Chianti wine-a, tomato-a sauce and the stinky-a Gorgonzola Cheese"and is responsible for bringing back fireworks and spaghetti from China. Unfortunately he doesn't know which one you light and which one you eat! Unfortunately only season 1 is available on DVD and without subtitles, although there is a nice little voice-over feature in which Bentine's son talks about the genesis of the programme and then has an argument with some Potties. This programme definitely deserves to reach a wider audience. My Polish wife loves it!
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