PHILIPP! ELSIE! STEVE! TRIXIE! DANNY! SHARON! TONY! LYNETTE! ARE ALL HERE TO PLAY LARRY GRAYSON'S GENERATION GAME!
Shut That Door...
Larry comes on to the usual thunderous applause from the audience and thanks viewers at home for their letters.
One of the running gags in Larry's time is his hatred of smelly feet, and his patience of hideous trotters will be tested to the limit in tonight's show. A viewer from Sheffield has written in to sympathise with the host's horror, claiming that feet make her jaws ache, like when eating a lemon. “Feet run in my family” is the inevitable terrible joke.
As a means of attempting to convert Larry to not finding smelly feet so bad, Isla brings on a gift sent in by the girls from a chiropodist's shop in Bristol. They have kindly sent in a charm bracelet with two right feet. I'm not sure if this will be the life and sole of the Generation Game party tonight, but with an awful pun like that, it's time to meet tonight's contestants.
First and Second Contestants
Elsie and Philipp Dawson (mother and son)
Elsie: Used to be a sheet music saleswoman, but today is pressing the Greensleeves waiting music on the phone as a medical receptionist. Her hubby is a stain glass artist, and is one of Elsie's hobbies along with playing the violin. Can you spot the “Highly strung” gag coming your way from Larry?
Philipp: Spells it a bit different with a silent 'P' at the end. He's a tall chap, sparking tonight's trend for some of the contestants towering over poor old average-sized Larry. A quick glance at the internet reports a height of 5'9” for the host. As a fellow 5'9” midget, I can sympathise.
Don't let Philipp anywhere near your cat – especially if there's a paint tin in the vicinity. When he was three, Philipp was given a tin of paint, but instead of creating an artistic masterpiece on paper, he painted the pet cat!
Trixie Young and Steve Wilkinson (mother and son in law)
Trixie: Trixie lives a Good Life life down in Halstock, Dorset with her husband John. She grows everything in a self-sufficient lifestyle, although there's no goats to be found in her back garden.
Uh oh. Smelly feet time again. Trixie tells of how she bought a new pair of heels to attend a garden party at Mrs Maj's abode. But while standing for hours, her new shoes caused her feet to swell up to the size of balloons.
Steve: Works in the post office, but has worked on jobs down tunnels on account of his thin frame. While laying down floorboards, unfortunately Steve found himself getting stuck through the ceiling below. Lionel Richie would be proud.
For all Doctor Who fans who snapped up a copy of the K9 Tales DVD, this is the game which includes the Easter Egg of the Doctor's metal buddy making an appearance on tonight's show.
The object of the game, in case you hadn't guessed is to figure out the right breed of five puppies. It's one of those games that crops up quite a bit in The Generation Game, and as each owner drags their reluctant puppy onto the stage, the contestants – as ever – have to rack their brains in coming up with the right breeds.
Dog Number One gets two conflicting answers – a Spaniel and a Red Setter, with the dog's name being a tad unusual – Windermerella (apologies if I've got this wrong!). The next dog is only nine weeks old, an Aierdale Terrier called Baby Breeze. The third answer is guessed correctly by both teams – an Old English Sheepdog called Candy.
Next up is a Golden Retriever called Brambletime Roseberg. Finally, it's an eight-week old Beagle called Clovergate Deirdre.
Having travelled countless light years through time and space from the planet Zanak, K9 comes to greet Larry and the other dogs. He's a bit confused though, asking Larry to identify himself (“I'm Larry Grayson and I'm a Presbyterian”) before sneaking in a terrible pun of his own (“Shoot that Labrador!”).
As K9 trundles back to Zanak to recharge his batteries in the next excellent episode of the Doctor Who story, The Pirate Planet, Elsie and Philipp are ahead by one point with five to Trixie and Steve's four.
Never mind shelling out hundreds of pounds on kids' toys, a simple glove puppet will keep the young 'uns entertained. Best of all, you can make one for free, as Sandra Long is about to demonstrate!
Making a glove puppet called Foam Face, Sandra gets a square of plastic foam, and wraps the material around a tube of cardboard with glue. It's time to add the features, using wire wool for hair, stick-on studs for eyes, following these up with eyebrows and a moustache. And there's your finished Foam Face!
The contestants have one minute and 30 seconds to make their own glove puppet. Ronnie Hazlehurst provides a “nice number” (the theme from The Muppet Show) as the quartet attempt to come up with something a bit better than the average Blue Peter creation.
Philipp's is actually very good, although Sandra only awards the cat painter three out of five. Elsie's looks like the Generation Game producer apparently, and while it's not a bad attempt, she only scores two points. Trixie comes up with the best puppet, and even includes a gown into the bargain. That's enough to earn four points, which at least compensates for Steve's effort. “Oh dear,” sighs Larry. “Did you ever start?” It's either had a shave or is too young to grow the moustache, and with the facial fungus missing, Steve can only muster up one point.
Close call again, as Elsie and Philipp just edge ahead by one point with 10. Trixie and Steve get special door trophies, which presumably aren't made from plastic foam.
Third and Fourth Contestants
Danny Holden and Sharon Smith (father and daughter)
Danny: RAF veteran (23 years) Danny comes from Lincoln and has three kids and two grandkids. He's a great fan of the theatre and his first visit was to see Annie Get Your Gun. He's also a terrible giggler as we'll see on a frequent basis.
Sharon: The banter between Larry and Sharon is interrupted by the show's Time's Up klaxon, which blares without warning by mistake. “Is it Bruce trying to get through to us?” ad-libs Larry, who then bursts into unscripted laughter. The goofs and ad-libs are part of what make these old Generation Game episodes (and other close-to-the-wire recorded shows from the '60s and '70s) much more appealing than today's slickly produced but soulless telly wallpaper.
Anyway, Sharon spent her honeymoon close to a cathedral, but the bells rang every 15 minutes, doubtless causing plenty of unwanted interruptions.
Tony and Lynette Olivera (father and daughter)
Tony: “My goodness me!” splutters Larry, who's practically dwarfed by the six-foot plus Tony and Lynette. “Did you ever see the film, Valley Of Giants?” He manages to sneak in another height joke in which he claims to have shaken hands with Tony while staying at the top of Blackpool Tower.
Tony was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and now lives on the Isle of Wight. In this week's lookalike segment, Tony is said to resemble James Stewart.
Lynette: Has a mortal fear of revolving doors and once had a tricky time getting into a museum through its spinning entrance.
Ronnie gets to be the star of this round as he conducts a selection of famous theme tunes which are connected with equally well-known names. The contestants have to guess the right name.
Given that he's a theatre connoisseur, this round is right up Danny's street, and he and Sharon get right in there with the first tune, correctly answering Billy Cotton. Tony and Lynette wrongly identify Norman Wisdom, and they don't fare better with the second answer of Cotton. It's actually Gracie Fields, which is again spotted by Danny and Sharon.
Both teams do answer Arthur Askey as the third celebrity, and it's 40 years ago to the week that he appeared at the BBC Theatre. He hasn't been feeling too well, so Larry wishes him a speedy recovery. Danny and Sharon are on a roll as they guess Max Miller (not Max Wall), and finally Norman Wisdom (not Vera Lynn, to the sound of laughter from the audience).
Wisdom himself comes on and does the old “I've lost my voice” routine after his microphone is cut off. Whether or not you find this funny depends on your appreciation of Wisdom. Since he was rude to my mum who politely asked him for an autograph at a fete once, I'll keep a poker face. Two bodyguards come on to escort Wisdom off stage, and will hopefully dump him in the nearest rubbish bin. Apologies to any Wisdom fans.
Anyhow, Danny and Sharon have aced that round, earning the maximum 10 out of 10. Poor old Tony and Lynette need a miracle to boost their paltry two.
Maybe making a good old-fashioned bread roll might be just the challenge for Tony and Lynette. Wally the Baker comes on to show how to accomplish what in bakery terms is called a “Miller's Knot”.
Taking a piece of dough, he rolls this out while telling the contestants to not “be afraid to flex the dough” (to the sounds of snickering from the audience – one track mind, this lot). He then rolls up the dough in precise fashion to form one of those neatly arranged bread rolls that you'll see in all good bakeries around the world.
It's unsurprising that the contestants' attempts to make a Miller's Knot is met with guffaws from the audience. But then they only have 45 seconds to perfect this art. Danny's effort is met with bemused incredulity by Larry. “Oh dear... I think he's trying to tell me something, but I don't know what”. Wally declares this a “good go” despite this odd looking dough and awards the giggler three points. Actually, Sharon's giggle is even more infectious as she laughs uproariously at her “nice bow tie” of a bread roll, which Wally says has “lost something”. Two points for Sharon.
Tony manages to catch up with an impressive four points, while Lynette's attempt is again met with bafflement by Larry (“Is it looking for a home?”). He commends Wally, who awards Lynette a “very generous” three points on account of the fact that it's something different.
But it's not enough to win them a place in the end game, so it's back to the Isle of Wight for Tony and Lynette with some valuable Generation Game commiseration doors (which probably fetch a fortune on eBay).
“Everyone's dieting,” announces Isla as a means of keeping fit. But there is another alternative, and that's to follow the example of the Ladies of Worcestershire Keep Fit Association.
To the strains of another peppy Hazlehurst classic, the ladies in question saunter onto stage to perform an exercise routine with hoops and skipping ropes. The girls lift the hoops over each others' heads and throw them in the air while dancing. They are also pretty fast and in time with the skipping – just one twist of the rope would leave me knackered.
As head Keep Fit girls Margaret and Margo promise to do some marking, Elsie draws the long straw and gets to go second with Philipp. Larry's room this week hilariously contains a giant foot. “I'll murder 'em,” says Larry.
Danny and Sharon get to go first, and they really get into the routine. Actually, it's Danny who gets to be the star of the piece. For a granddad, he's got a lot of energy, and even Sharon is left staring at her pops in awe at one point. Admittedly, he's not as good at skipping as Sharon, but he has a good old go, hilariously enjoying himself into the bargain. After they complete the routine, Larry tells Danny to go and “have a brandy or something”.
Elsie and Philipp can't quite get into the groove, with both standing as still as statues at first. Elsie seems like her legs have been stuck to the floor with superglue. Philipp does a bit better with some attempts at hoop spinning and some very dainty skipping! Elsie even gingerly gets into the skipping too.
It's no surprise that Margaret and Margo award Danny and Sharon 19 points (“Splendid!”), with Elsie and Philipp still netting a “very good” 18. “I'm cock-a-hoop again,” announces Larry, in reference to his first words on the show, when presented with a hoop. To save Larry the indignity of attempting the routine, a dog bounds onto the stage to jump through the hoop. “It was an elephant this afternoon,” frowns Larry.
Instead, Larry and Isla do a cheesy “Anything you can do, I can do better” routine, with Isla hitting those high notes. Some cases to take back home for Elsie and Philipp – a jewellery case and a man's vanity case. Philipp doesn't seem too impressed, forgetting to shake Larry's hand as he leaves the stage!
Well, Danny has certainly enjoyed the show, and he's been one of the programme's most enthusiastic contestants. While Sharon gets the questions right (Stevenson wrote Treasure Island and 25 years in a Silver Anniversary), Danny does get a well-deserved round of applause for being such a good sport.
The Route To The Loot
Sharon gets to be the one to see a wealth of glittering prizes pass her by on the conveyor belt in Larry's loot room tonight. Which tonight lines up... A water jug and glasses... An electric grill... A kitchen stool... A cuddly teddy bear... A morning tea making machine... A table lamp... A set of sheets... A mincing machine... 24 piece table settings... A kiddies tractor... A potato and vegetable peeler... A picnic hamper... Three bottles of liqueur... A roulette game... A hot plate and casserole dish... Doctor Who toys and a K9!... An electric can opener... A bathroom shower unit... A set of cutlery... And a pair of headphones!
What A Lot You Got?
Not bad at all. Sharon remembers 15 out of the 21 prizes by my reckoning, which is a good haul for two worthy contestants. Sweetly, Danny gives everyone a round of applause in the final closing credit wave.
A fun episode with plenty of funny lines!