Nice To See You...
The fact that it's a St Andrews Day theme edition of The Generation Game gives the game away that this one went out on 30th November 1974.
To mark the occasion, Bruce Forsyth enters the stage in appropriately Tartan-style jacket, although it looks a little like he's wearing a chequered tablecloth. Anthea Redfern too, is wearing a long, flowing Tartan-esque dress, earning two twirls rather than the one.
With a topical North Sea Gas joke bunged in for good measure, it's time to meet tonight's “eight who are going to generate”!
David and Julia (father and daughter)
David: Born on a farm, David's been the warden of a boys' home for the last 15 years. In between his duties, David likes a spot of cricket and tennis.
Julia: Also in the children's' home sector, Julia is the deputy of her local children's' home. She gets to say hello to one of her kids, a girl called Francesca (although Julia comments that they are “all gorgeous”).
Quite a list of hobbies. She likes tennis and rugby, and as well as listening to folk music, she plays the guitar. Maybe a part-time stint as a folk guitarist was waiting for Julia – Steeleye Span, you've got competition.
Terri and Roger (mother and son)
Terri: Part-time office worker Terri keeps score for her local cricket team when not typing up memos and invoices. She is still “very physical”, inevitably leading to a double entendre-filled joke from Bruce.
On a completely separate note, Terri is mother to two sons and a daughter, who is mad keen on The Wombles.
Best for Terri to go with the Orinoco Flow for tonight's games, then.
Roger: He don't like cricket, he loves it, playing the game in the Summer season. In the Winter season, he swaps the bat for a set of darts, aiming for that bullseye (wonder if he appeared on the Jim Bowen gameshow as well?).
Roger is also qualified in First Aid, having achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Which could come in useful if any of the participants of the first game get a bit too over-excited...
Not trees, as we are being led to think – unless one falls on top of your bonce, it's not really cause for First Aid. No, this is all about some four-legged guest stars who come on to appear beside each tree.
All the contestants have to do is to guess the breed of dogs! One by one, each of the owners walk their dogs on stage, although some of the mutts are better behaved than others.
For example, after Biddy Tuck's Afghan Hound, Kenneth comes on with little trouble, Rita Grantham's Chihuahua Santa delivers an unwelcome present behind one of the trees, much to Bruce's horror. “I hope he's finished for the night!” shudders Bruce.
Airedale Terrier Dog, Lady Sarah doesn't seem too sure of Bruce, but the presenter's a fan of Bassett Hound Simon's ears. Timid Ella the Whippet (“Like Fitzgerald”) is up next, with Saluki dog Fay adding an “aristocratic” air to proceedings. Apparently, Fay means “fairy”in German - “That's handy for some people to know,” says Bruce in full-on PC mode. “You can tell by the walk!” Finally, Bob's Chinese Crested dog does his unique brand of walking on stage, prompting Brucie to compare him to a breakfast sausage.
How do the contestants fare? Better than me, I'd wager, since I tend to freeze in fear if a dog comes within a one-mile radius of my nervous carcass. One or two stupid answers do get Bruce's hackles up, most notably the responses for Fay the Saluki. “What a stupid idea!” bellows Bruce at one response of German Greyhound, while if the other contestants' idea of a Labrador hold water, she must be “a very ill” Labrador. Meanwhile, the Chinese Crested dog is mistaken for a Spotted Dick...
The next round is pre-empting Through The Keyhole – except without an actual peek inside the occupants' houses and Loyd Grossman's “David – it's over tew yew” catchphrase.
All the contestants have to do is to look at a selection of cut-out heads and then match them with a photo of the place where they live. They only have 30 seconds to do so, as Bruce hums along with Ronnie Hazlehurst's latest jaunty jingle.
Mixed fortunes for the players, with only the first occupant correctly identified on both counts (the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace). Three of the others get one correct answer: Denis Healey and his eyebrows reside at 11 Downing Street – or at least they did back in 1974; the Mayor of London oyez his doors at Mansion House, while Princess Anne and Mark Phillips live it up at Oak Grove House.
Absolutely no points, however, for Balmoral Castle and Chequers. One set of contestants claims that Mrs Maj lives there! No wonder her facial expression in the cut-out head looks even more browned off than usual.
With a tie of 12-all, that means that only a crunch tie-breaker question can decide who's going through to the semi-final. It's Terri and Roger who just get in there first with the right answer to the island off of the toe of Italy, leaving Bruce to talk over Anthea as she hands over commiseration tankards to David and Julia.
Edith and Stephen (mother and son)
Edith: Originally went out with her husband's brother. After dumping brother of Mr Edith, she went to help him out at his shoe shop. “What did he do?” quips Bruce. “Kick you out?”
Stephen: Also works in his father's shoe shop. This former RAF boy has a son and a daughter, likes golf and mucus... sorry, music. Blimey, don't these card writers know how to spell?
Norman and Yvonne (father and daughter)
Norman: Quite a force to be reckoned with, Norman is a customs and excise officer, a post that he's held for 22 years (“He's got the face for it,” comments Bruce).
Married for 30 years, Norman's got seven kids! “You do believe in free duty!” is the inevitable Brucie response. Norman is also the first Mayor to appear on the show.
Yvonne: Nurse Yvonne recently took time out from the wards to give birth to her two kids (born in 1972 and 1973). Her hubby John is also in the profession, working in the ambulance service.
To celebrate St Andrews Day, Game Three involves the pleating of Tartan material. Your expert this time around is a guy called Roy Quorman. “It's quite a complicated thing to do,” muses Bruce, and he ain't wrong as Roy quickly and effortlessly tackles the task in hand.
Using the cardboard provided, weights are placed down before the Tartan material is placed in a straight line, then rolled up and then banded to create that pleat effect. While the contestants don't get to leave the material to be steamed for a day (and left to cool down – otherwise, as Bruce points out, it could be very painful for a kilt-wearing Scotsman), all they have to do is copy Roy as best as they can in just over a minute.
But not before Anthea has come on to model one of Roy's creations, while giving the odd twirl or two. This being The Generation Game, it's not an easy task for our intrepid four. Edith and Stephen get the cardboard in a tangle, while Norman and Yvonne get their finished result upside down without even a smidge of a crease. Because both sets of contestants make a “hash of it”, it's six out of 10 apiece from Roy.
The final qualifying “Good Game” - which Brucie gets to say – is called Close Ups. Both teams are presented with six pictures of a close-up of a famous face. Edith, Stephen, Norman and Yvonne must guess the name of the celebrity from the close-up part of his or her face.
Generally, they do well, with both teams correctly spotting Denis Healey (again), Petula Clark and Henry Kissinger. Some near misses for Telly Savalas (one of the teams puts Kojak) and Cyril Smith (called Sidney by one team). The best of the lot though is when one team puts Joan Crawford and the other puts Lucille Ball... and in fact, it's the late, great Ken Dodd!!
It's been a lot of fun, as Bruce says, but for the second time tonight, it's level pegging. Bruce's tiebreaker question asks which movie featured Scarlett O'Hara. It's Norman and Yvonne to get it right with Gone With The Wind – leaving Edith and Stephen to leave with tankards and some perfume.
Did they give a damn?
Roll up! Roll up! Get your fresh Semi-Final challenge here!
Tonight, Terri, Roger, Norman and Yvonne get to be market traders. They follow in the shouty footsteps of Jack Joseph – to be honest, when Jack first came on, I thought that this semi-final would involve singing since he looks to my bleary eyes like Tom Jones.
But why, why, why bother with that when there's rugs and sheets and sleeping bags to be sold and money to be made. Jack's effortless patter and parley (“Advertised on Police 5!”) are assisted by a hippy chap called Tom, who frequently bears the brunt of his boss's ire. Jack even sells his jacket, jumper and T-shirt to one woman at the final stretch.
So it's up to the semi-finalists to copy Jack and Tom the best they can. Norman and Yvonne are up first. Maybe it's because of Norman's status as mayor or his fearless job of customs and excise that makes him an ideal candidate for the winner of this round.
Norman's a natural, hollering and pattering at the top of his voice – although does he get a little too much into it, the way he clouts his daughter round the lughole at one point? Still, Bruce is clearly impressed, commenting on the “sensational” turn from Norman and Yvonne.
Terri and Roger have a tough act to follow, and to be honest, they don't quite reach the heights. Roger's a wee bit hesitant, Bruce's laughs at the patter sound a bit more forced, and unfortunately, mother and son run out of time before they can complete the routine.
So it's little wonder that while Terri and Roger get a respectable 16 out of 20 from Jack, Norman and Yvonne score a “very, very good” 18 out of 20. It's bye bye to Terri and Roger, who leave with consolation prizes of a drinks mixer and a heater – hopefully not snaffled from the local market.
In keeping with the tie-breakers tonight, Norman and Yvonne get one question right each (Churchill's birth and Miss World, respectively). But thanks to an over-enthusiastic audience member, Norman gets in there with the right answer for schnitzel meat. Yvonne gets a runner up prize of a face sauna, as pops goes off to try and score as many prizes as he can on the Conveyor Belt.
On The Conveyor Belt Tonight...
“Now before we start, 'ave you got anything to declare?” cackles Bruce, as Norman puts on his best fixed grin. Bet he never gets a stripey box room and a jaunty Ronnie Hazlehurst theme playing in the background at work.
Right then! On the Conveyor Belt tonight, we have... An oil lamp... A floral encasement... A stone flagon of wine... A soda siphon and ice bucket... A cuddly toy dog... A wall clock... A fan heater... Binoculars... An electric teamaker... A tennis game... A rather rude picture (I like the way that Norman begins to lean round before remembering that Mrs Norman's most likely watching!)... Ladies' make-up... A sun lamp... A carpet... A microscope outfit... A salad bowl and servers... A coffee set... A collection of kids' annuals... And a vase!
Didn't They Do Well?
“He got the lot!” hollers Bruce, as he waves goodbye with clever clogs Norman (who does seem to do very well), Yvonne and Norman.
Alas, there's very little of Bruce Forsyth's original stint on The Generation Game to be found. I can't help but think that the BBC missed a trick by not paying tribute to the great man with at least one repeat of the 1970s show that really put him on the map. It showcases him as the consummate professional and a very good presenter, so it's a shame that BBC4 couldn't have found a place for a rerun of one of his original Generation Games from the 1970s.
After the 1974-75 series, Bruce would present the show until December 1977. I don't know if viewers were aware that he had been poached by ITV when the Beeb ran a 'Bruce's Choice' May Bank Holiday repeat in 1978. Bruce Forsyth's Big Night was planned to cement the ITV ratings later that year, leaving viewers wondering whether The Generation Game had any mileage left.
But to misquote an old saying, As One Door Closes, Another Door...