Nice To See You...
The Generation Game was now going from strength to strength by the 1973/74 series, lasting from the September to the following February, which is a fair old run. This edition, I think, was used as a stopgap for the 1976 series when Bruce Forsyth was ill one week (and couldn't manage to rope in Roy Castle as the show had done in the previous November).
Anyway, Bruce is metaphorically drowning in a “wave of warmth” from the rapturous audience applause. He's on good form tonight, spinning off the puns nearly as fast as Tommy Cooper. Following some banter from Bruce about Danny La Rue, Anthea Redfern shows off her top/culotte ensemble, which we are told is in the colour of “pearl apricot”. Some random Gumby-type blokes come on, grunting their appreciation at Anthea's outfit before Bruce shoos them away again.
Tonight's “eight who are going to generate” kicks off with...
Tim and Pauline (father and daughter)
Tim: Has lived quite an eventful life, and braved quite an ordeal in the war. Having been captured as a Prisoner of War, he managed to escape, only to get recaptured again. These days, in between his job as a senior executive officer in the Civil Service, Tim likes a bit of karate, which as Bruce points out, would have been good defence in the war. Also likes a spot of badminton and golf.
Pauline: Married to an Italian (her surname is Corrieri), and has two kids. With her husband, Pauline runs a fish 'n' chip shop, and to mark this fact, Brucie has come up with an advertising jingle (to the tune of O Sole Mio – or the song from the Cornetto adverts). It goes like this: “O Sole Mio! 5p of chips! With salt and vinegar! Make sexy lips! Our skate will win the race! So why not at Corrieri's place???”
Eileen and Andrew (mother and son)
Eileen: A secretary, Eileen is very keen on country walking and historical novels. While she also likes dancing, her husband isn't so keen.
Andrew: Brucie's got a fan in the form of social secretary Andrew, who went to see the host in action at the Hippodrome in 1958. That sounds like a long time, but today's equivalent would be like someone going to see a Mel and Sue show in 2003. Not that I'm sure so many would though... Anyway, Andrew also likes a spot of hockey and plays the game on a regular basis.
Bit of a rowdy old crowd in tonight, although to be fair, what else are you supposed to think when Bruce announces that the first game is 'Organs of the body'. It doesn't help that he adds that contestants not only have to draw the body organ, but to guess the location and the size...
Cracking on with the game, and with the sounds of a jazzy Ronnie Hazlehurst choon (probably to drown out more bawdy audience laughter) playing in the background, the contestants are given four blank life-sized human body cardboard cut-outs. As Forsyth tried to explain without bursting into laughter, all the four have to do is to draw the body organ (heart, lungs, liver and kidneys) as accurately as they can and in the right place.
Magic markers done with, it's left to Bruce to deliver the verdicts of each contestant's efforts. All I can say is it's a good thing that these people are not doctors. Andrew's efforts resemble an overcooked breakfast (the sort of poor effort you'd see on Four In A Bed), Tim's very wrong doodles look like like they would provide the audience with more ammunition for bawdy laughter, while Eileen's kidneys are reminiscent of a shrivelled pea pod.
The combined efforts are judged on the basis of accuracy in terms of location and size, and actually, both sets of contestants end up with seven points apiece. Which, in Bruce's opinion, means that the whole game was a “complete waste of time”.
Bit of a medical theme to this one, as the contestants now face a more practical task of bandaging a fractured jaw and arm.
To show them how it's done, Arthur Weston, a district training officer with St John's Ambulance Brigade, fixes a random extra with a head-binding bandage for the jaw and a simple figure-of-eight affair for the arm.
I say simple, it's the sort of thing that would leave me looking like the equivalent of the Andrex puppy in rolls of white material. Same goes for some of the contestants, who must perform the same task on four guinea pigs – not literal guinea pigs you understand, more random extras plucked from the streets of Wood Lane, London.
Andrew ain't having such a good time of it, and there's one point where he practically becomes entangled with his female patient – what would his newly married missus say? “Is that a bra?” asks Bruce incredulously, as he gazes at what looks like someone's let an entire toilet roll holder run onto the floor. The poor chap only gets 1/5, and although things initially look more promising for Eileen, the chap can actually talk, which wouldn't be the case if a fractured jaw bandage was tied properly. So alas, it's only 2/5.
Pauline and Tim fare better with “more professional” efforts rewarded with 3 points apiece from Arthur. The wag bandaged by Pauline uses his leg to communicate when asked how he is by Bruce.
So to a strangely forward-looking Larry Grayson era 'Shut That Door' jingle, Bruce and Anthea must now say goodbye to Eileen and Andrew, who leave with a consolation prize and a commemorative tankard. Imagine if one of those was on eBay?
Joan and Michael (mother and son)
Joan: Secretary to the clerk of the Potters Bar Council, and is also connected with the Potters Bar Sports Council. Get the feeling that she lives in the Potters Bar area? Joan once came second in the Hertfordshire Professional Driver competition, and now has two Alsatians.
Michael: Electronics engineer Michael is an only child, but it's not the case for his next generation, with a baby due in February 1974 to add to the one child. He's a third dan in Judo International, although Bruce is incredulous that his 70-year-old teacher is a seventh dan (“Not Ludo?” he quips). I suppose that back then, being 70 years old was the equivalent of being in your 90s.
Jean and Robert (mother and son)
Jean: Although she claims that she's “just a mum”, Jean used to be a bomb release expert. Today, she's the proud owner of a deaf, mute cat called Butch.
Robert: In the work study department of a shoe manufacturing company, but in his spare time, Robert runs a disco with two buddies. Ironically, it's called Cat Muzak, which causes Bruce to quickly and astutely pounce on the assumption that this is what made Butch deaf in the first place.
A solemn fanfare is the prelude to this rather dry game in which the contestants have to identify various British examples of ceremonial pomp and circumstance.
So, Joan and Michael and Jean and Robert must work out what's going on in six pompous, smile-free clips. These are – in no particular order apart from one to six – the opening of parliament; Sandhurst sovereigns' parade; garter ceremony; Maunday money; Trooping of the Colour; and the changing of the keys of the Tower of London.
Joan and Michael fare better at this, although as even Bruce points out, it's not the easiest game to play unless you're a flag waving history expert toff.
This is more like it, as the contestants get to don their pinnies and watch a master baker called George, a chap who earns a crust from baking bread.
George is here today to demonstrate the art of making a plaited loaf with dough (while doing so to the sounds of Ronnie rocking it on the Hammond Organ). Because he accomplishes the task in what seems like record time, George has to provide a demonstration twice! Hope he got double the fee.
Invariably, the contestants' efforts are a tad mixed, although they hurl themselves into the task with gusto, Jean going to town with banging the dough, as if she's batting a spider with her shoe. They only have a minute to create a plaited cob loaf to the best of their ability, so how do they get on?
Well, Michael and Joan do quite well. Michael's effort has “a nice shape, but not enough twist” according to George, who also judges Joan's to be “fairly well plaited”.
It's actually Jean who's the star of this show, to the point where she would impress the Kenny Rogers lookalike on Bake Off. For the second reviewed episode on the job, a contestant is offered a job, although George's very respectable score for Jean of 4/5 actually justifies the praise.
For a while, it looks like Jean and Robert have snatched victory from the bread-munching jaws of defeat... until George spies Robert's attempts which looks like something that Butch the cat might have brought back up. “One out of five... for sympathy,” sighs George, who most probably doesn't offer Robert a job.
Before George toddles off, we get to see his impressive array of bread products, which includes a cool sculpture made from 350 pieces of freshly cooked dough. The sculpture also includes a model of a “well-bread mouse”, with Brucie managing to out-pun me in the process.
So near and yet so far for Jean and Robert who leave with tankards and consolation prizes.
Appropriately, given that he'd be presenting dreary dance snoozefest Strictly Come Dancing in the 21st century, Bruce gets to show off some impressive dance moves with Peggy Spencer and her formation dancers. Donning a Spanish Flamenco jacket (or as Bruce hilariously jokes, “Ronnie Corbett's jacket” - made me laugh anyway), Bruce and Peggy's dancers perform a Spanish-style dance.
It's left up to Tim and Pauline and Joan and Michael to fit in as well as they can with the dancing. After they choose to go second, Joan and Michael can have a “good laugh” at Tim and Pauline, who are a little hesitant to say the least – Tim points the opposite way during one jump, while Pauline collapses on Bruce, causing the host to splutter: “How much do you weigh, dear?” Ouch.
The same thing happens with Joan, who at one point twists Bruce's arm awkwardly round his body like a maypole dancer twists the ribbon around the central pole. There's also more collapsing, although this one is used in the opening titles for the 1974 series.
In the days before the OTT Strictly judging mugging of Bruno and that posh bloke who seems to have based his look and vocal mannerisms on Stingy from LazyTown, Peggy is as polite as can be when passing judgement on tonight's semi-finalists. While Michael “tried to maintain his poise” and Joan “did try”, their 12/10 score is outshone by Tim and Pauline who did “rather well actually” with a 14/20 winner!
So it's goodbye to Joan and Michael with tankards and soda siphons for company.
No tie breakers this time, but damn it, those questions are still awfully tricky, aren't they? I guess these questions are of a certain time, since one of them relates to the then-recently departed cellist Pablo Casals. Pauline quickly answers both of the questions, the clever clogs, meaning that she's through to the conveyor belt game!
On The Conveyor Belt Tonight...
Pauline gets to take in as many prizes as she can on the conveyor belt, which tonight lines up... A cuddly toy tortoise... A reading lamp... A mink hat... An Ali Baba basket... A decanter and goblets... A chair... A kettle... A dozen red rose bushes... Two blankets... What looks like Del Trotter's coat... A food mixer... A model aeroplane set... A hairdryer... A small fireplace rug... A rotisserie... A hot plate... An electric alarm clock... And finally, four wooden bowls.
Didn't She Do Well?
Just about three quarters of the haul tonight, so pretty good going for Pauline. Alas, she won't get to have extra light for reading, make a toy aeroplane, get woken up by an alarm clock or eat from wooden bowls.
But overall, didn't Pauline do well?