CHRIS! JACQUELINE! VIC! MARGERY! MALCOLM! TINA! LAWRENCE! JANE! ARE ALL HERE TO PLAY LARRY GRAYSON'S GENERATION GAME!
Shut That Door...
Having achieved strong ratings for his first episode, Larry's take on The Generation Game has proved popular. Both Larry and Isla thank viewers for their cards, telegrams and presents. All in the days before emails and Tweets and Facebook messages sufficed. A recent experience on the Tube for Isla also saw one chap utter Larry's catchphrase: “So it's really caught on”. As Larry asks if Isla made the dress that she's wearing herself (“She finishes it tomorrow”), it's time to meet the first batch of contestants!
First and Second Contestants
Jacqueline Owen and Chris Fogedn (mother and son in law)
Jacqueline: Has been married to Geoffrey for 34 years, and has one son and one daughter. She also lives with a collection of dogs including Tramp, Duchess and Bunty, the latter of which is not 60 years old as Larry initially misreads – but 16. Used to run a driving school.
Chris: Nicknamed 'Foggy', he's a traffic air instructor. Foggy used to be in the merchant navy, but left because he couldn't tie knots. Cue “Well, I'll be bound” joke from Larry.
Margery Nickells and Vic Blayze (mother and son in law)
Margery: Married with four kids and five grandkids, Margery got in a terrible flap before taking her driving test, putting furniture polish on her head by mistake. Nevertheless, she passed first time!
Vic: Comes from Farnborough in Kent, and is a jam factory rep. Vic got into a jam at the age of 12 when, while bike riding, bumped into an ambulance – only for the ambulancemen to leave him in the road!
What is T-Piece packing? A plumber would be jumping up and down in excitement, as this small box of lovingly packaged T-Pieces is held up to the camera by Isla. This neatly packaged box is the work of Molly Horner, who literally demonstrates how to create it in about five seconds flat. Blink your eyes and you'll miss it.
Luckily for the contestants, Molly makes another one – in slightly slower time. With such skills, it's little wonder that in a day, she can create around 40,000 boxes. She also speedily puts the T-Pieces in the box, making it look as simple as counting up to three.
Of course, for the average box novice, it's a little bit more complicated than it looks – as the contestants discover while trying to make their own package in 45 seconds. Chris and Vic looks like they are struggling, almost ripping the box material in two. Jacqueline looks like she's holding the box together with her hand as the newly augmented rapid beep klaxon sounds (see last week's entry).
Molly comes on to judge everyone's efforts. “Don't laugh,” tuts Larry as Molly shakes her head at Chris' efforts. “You couldn't very well send it out like that,” she sighs, but incredibly, she rewards this feeble attempt with a 3/5. “I think she's been most kind,” says an incredulous Larry. Jacqueline's attempt also couldn't be sent as is, but again, she gets a generous 3/5.
Mind you, if you thought that Chris' and Jacqueline's efforts weren't much cop, then Margery and Vic make these look like expert jobs. Margery's box collapses, even if the T-Pieces were in there originally. She earns a 2/5, which is still better than Vic's attempt which only contains about one T-Piece.
Larry thanks Molly, while coming up with another terrible pun: “I wish I could be a boxer like her” - but the audience are too busy applauding at the quick guest appearance of boxer, John Conteh, who says a brief hello, and then pops off again.
So, the names on the frames at this point are Jacqueline and Chris – 6; Margery and Vic – 3.
Game Two is mysteriously called The Big Cover Up. Is it some previously unheard of scandal that the contestants have to try and deduce? Or wear as many clothes as possible like Joey did in that episode of Friends?
The reality is a little bit more sedate. All the four have to do is to work out what well-known household objects are being covered up. There are six photos, each of which is mostly obscured by coloured card, leaving a tantalising glimpse of the household item.
With only 30 seconds to guess the items, Isla and Larry survey the answers. Both Jacqueline and Chris and Margery and Vic get off to a grate start by working out that item number one is a cheese grater. Not so lucky, alas with picture number two, which is wrongly identified as a plate and a ring – it should be pliers.
It's ice to see you to see you ice for answer number three, which both teams rightly spot as some kind of ice dish or tray. They also have answer number four pegged. Margery and Vic have written pea knife, but I think they mean pen knife, which is the right answer, also supplied by Jacqueline and Chris. Both teams finish the round on a positive note by cracking the identity of eggs. Egg-sellent!
Apologies for the puns – with the round over, Jacqueline and Chris are through to the end game with 16, beating Margery and Vic, who have 13. Margery and Vic really didn't get on with those T-Piece boxes, so it's back to Kent with those engraved trophies.
Third and Fourth Contestants
Malcolm and Tina Tostevin (father and daughter)
Malcolm: The first ever contestants to come from Guernsey (what, even including the previous seven series?), Malcolm is married to Enid, and has been for 20 years. He plays trombone in the Salvation Army – another first for the show, apparently. Tostevin is a real Guernsey name, although it has roots in Viking culture.
Tina: Also in the Salvation Army, rocking it on the tambourine. Tina agrees to give a demonstration, as Isla brings on a tangerine, the clever clogs (“She's in one of those moods,” sighs Larry). “I just dinnae ken what you say half the time,” responds Isla, who scampers away to hurry back with a tambourine. Tina gets into the swing of things with plenty of tambourine bashing and some jerky movements which Larry tries and fails to replicate.
Won two baby beauty contests, aged one and two. Can Tina recreate that luck tonight? Let's see who she and Malcolm are up against!
Lawrence and Jane Lloyd (father and daughter)
Lawrence: Hailing from Scarborough, Lawrence is a luxury coach builder and breeds Yorkshire Terriers including one frisky example called Fearless Fred. As the father of 157 puppies, Fearless Fred clearly lives up to his name, although at Lloyd Towers, he gets better food than Lawrence! “He's a wag” adds to Larry's list of puns showcasing tonight.
Jane: Deep breaths for this. Jane is – and I quote – a “physiological measurement technician in audiology”. Or to put it another way, she tests people's hearing. “Pardon?” quips Larry, who's on good form tonight with the comebacks. Larry not only hates ears, he also hates smelly feet, kicking off a regular complaint this series about people's hideous trotters.
Antique programmes continue to be all the rage today, what with Bargain Hunt and anything with David Dickinson in it. Antiques Roadshow has been going on so long, it's as old as the objects showcased. Back in the '70s, Arthur Negus used to be one of the antique experts, and today, he's here to take part in the third game, which is called Going For A Song. Mercifully, Arthur doesn't sing the answers.
What the new contestants have to do is to guess the nearest or precise auction price of four objects. First up is a piece of silver made by silversmith John Bridge in 1826. Lawrence and Jane guess £800, while Malcolm and Tina think bigger at £950. Actually, it's only £350, although I'm sure the dealers on Dickinson's Real Deal would try and sneakily buy the silver for £3.50.
“What about Danny La Rue here?” asks Larry as Arthur moves onto the second item, a strange box item that houses a number of creepy looking doll and chimp faces under bells. At 100 years old, it's actually worth £5000. Personally, I think it's a bit steep, but what do I know? Anyway, Lawrence and Jane are nearer the mark (although still quite a way off) at £900, beating Malcolm's and Tina's guess by a hundred quid.
A Welsh love spoon is next on the agenda which would be given by the chap to his betrothed to indicate the number of kids that he hopes to rear! Malcolm and Tina win this one with a guess of £30, nearest to the right price of £15, which compared to the others so far, is a bargain.
Finally, Arthur looks at a swanky cabinet, which is very ornately designed, full of hidden fittings and doors and drawers (22 secret drawers to be precise), and there's also a stylish temple interior. While you would have thought that it's at least £6500 (as Malcolm and Tina guess) or £10,000 at a pinch (Lawrence and Jane think so), it's actually cheaper than that weird creepy face box thing at £4000.
Negus brings back the new running gag of Larry's hatred of smelly feet by presenting him with a pair of Victorian sock stretchers, causing the host to crack up with laughter. Whether or not Larry got to keep them is anyone's guess.
At the end of that round, it's six points apiece!
If you saw that dreary Bake Off nonsense, you might remember that episode with all the kerfuffle of a Baked Alaska. One contestant had a near-on nervous breakdown after his Baked Alaska proved to be a flop – anyone would have thought that someone had told him that Armageddon was only seconds away.
That's the difference between TV contestants from the 1970s and today. The contestants in those good old days just wanted to have a bit of fun, and showed a bit of humility, with their eyes on maybe leaving the BBC studios with the odd prize or two. Today's contestants on the other hand (in any of these tedious elimination programmes) expect to be the stars of the show, showcasing all the humility of Mr Noisy from the Mr Men books. Never mind a portable telly or yoghurt maker, today's contestants have their eyes on far bigger prizes: TV contracts, book deals, fame and fortune... the lot.
Anyhoo, rant over. Baked Alaska then.
Chef Roy Pellett is here to show everyone how it's done. He cuts a sponge in two, and takes the centre out. On one half, he puts on some fruit and then spoons on some ice cream. He then puts the other half of the cut centre on top. Next, using one of those pipette things, he covers the sandwich sponge with cream around the edges, before knifing on pink cream over the top. To finish, he then arranges more whipped cream in a fancy pattern. Eat your heart out, Mary Berry. Or that bloke who looks like Kenny Rogers.
The contestants have one minute and 45 seconds to create their own Baked Alaska, and inevitably, there's chaos. What's Tina doing with her sponge? There seems to be more holes than a Swiss cheese. Malcolm also seems to be having trouble with the icing, causing the audience to erupt with laughter at the mess he's made.
After time's up, Malcolm's creation is over and done with, causing lots of “Oh dear” sighing from Larry. “It would make a lovely hat for Mrs Shilling at Ascot next year,” he harrumphs. “It's all sticking out,” adds Roy, continuing to put the baked boot into Malcolm's efforts. It's a 2, and the same goes for Tina, whose attempt is also a bit dicey. Still, at least both Malcolm and Tina don't start blubbing uncontrollably, which is what today's reality telly contestants would probably do.
Jane and Lawrence, on the other hand, are better at this. Jane is the star of the show here, although her creation is ruined a smidge by Larry drowning the Alaska in whipped cream. Despite this, she gets a respectable 3, as does Lawrence, even if Larry compares his to something from The Quatermass Experiment. “It would bake in the oven,” says Roy – and you haven't heard the last of this. So with Baked Alaska skills in place, that means Lawrence and Jane are through to the next round with 12 points, beating Malcolm and Tina by two.
Never mind, they can proudly show their door trophies to the Salvation Army.
The Filipino Dancers are here to test the footwork skills of our four finalists. The dance involves two of the troupe dancing in and out of two moving parallel poles. They do so with much grace and style, and like many of the guests on the show, make the routine look all too easy. What's all the more impressive is that the dancers do this as a side spare-time project, since they work in the nursing industry as a career. Neil, the leader of the Filipino Dancers, promises to come back and do some marking.
Choosing the long straw is Jacqueline, who opts to go second. They can wait in Larry's CSO room of magic, which this week is a massive garden where they can presumably chill out with a cool drink.
Lawrence and Jane get to go first, and if Lawrence's dad dancing is a little stiffly performed, Jane really gets into it with some nifty jumping and arm and leg movement. Jumping in and out of rapidly moving parallel poles can't be easy, and yet Jane accomplishes this with some aplomb.
Jacqueline and Chris aren't quite as hot at this task. Jacqueline's a bit hesitant, while Chris jumps around like a flea on a griddle. Jacqueline seems to be doing her own thing, offering her own eccentric interpretation of the dance, and also has to hold on to her dance partner while jumping in and out of the poles. But then what do I know? I wouldn't last 10 seconds doing that routine.
Nevertheless, thanks to Jane's excellent efforts, they get to go through to the conveyor belt question round with 18 points, although Neil acknowledges that Jacqueline and Chris did their best (earning 17 points in the process).
It's then time for Larry and Isla to give it a go. Isla explains to Larry about how to get the rhythm, but typically, he doesn't get it, gingerly moving around as if the floor's on fire. Mind you, it's also proving to be a bit of a challenge for Isla, as both ultimately concede defeat.
So with Lawrence and Jane in pole position, it's so long to Jacqueline and Chris, who leave with an alarm radio clock and a carriage clock, and also two trophies.
Two consistent answers from Jane, who rightly answers that you'd find a plimsoll line on a ship and that Moscow will be holding (or held) the Olympics in 1980.
Lawrence can not only take consolation from the trophy and a radio cassette player, but also the fact that the Generation Game team have baked his Alaska – which Isla proudly presents!
The Route To The Loot
Jane gets to be the one to go to the room to see the loot.
As a weird, overly dramatic cymbal crash heralds the now-customary instrumental version of the theme tune as the prizes pass, on Jane's conveyor belt tonight, we have... A Do It Yourself workbench... A wine rack and six bottles of wine... A punchbowl and 18 glasses... A food mixer... A cuddly Jumbo... An electric table... A flower and biscuit barrel... A brass lamp... An electric toaster... A coffee set... A fondue set... China flowers... An artist's paint set... A cooking pot... An electric carving knife... A mohair rug... A wooden horse... An infra-red grill... A dartboard... And finally, a chair!
What A Lot You Got?
A nervous Jane steels herself to remember as many things as she can in 45 seconds. She doesn't do too badly, although she does get a bit hesitant in the middle of the time allocated to her. It doesn't help that she only technically gets 43 seconds after the time starts before she can answer!
Despite this, I make it that she gets 16 out of the 20 prizes, which is very respectable: that's over ¾ of the loot, so as Larry says, Jane has got a lot!