Thursday, 25 February 2010

Doctor Down Under!

Isn't it marvelous what you can find when hunting for Northern Soul nuggets on YouTube (Frank Wilson's 'could I love you' if you were wondering)? Such a path took me down the delightful road of Frank Wilson and Geoffrey Davies starring in 'doctor down under'. Incidentally, the name Geoffrey Davies caught my eye because it's the very same name as my groovy Uncle Geoff in Ebbw Vale. (Now you all wish you had one of those, don't you?)

If you've encountered this Oz version of our 'doctor in the house' show before then please feel free to comment below, but I haven't and neither, I was surprised to hear had Let's Look Sideways.

Just take a look at the screen grab above. It makes you want to know more doesn't it? (Maybe just me then?) Well, this is a late 70s sitcom (1979 to be precise) which ran to 13 episodes. The action takes place in a Sydney doctor's surgery where two English docs set up a practice.

Geoffrey's a cheating, lying, womanising gambler. The other doctor plays a strange hybrid of a responsible, caring doctor, and an over-the-top party-boy. Frank Wilson is Professor Norman Beaumont, a take-off of Professor Sir Geoffrey Loftus from the original Doctor series.

This footage shows the docs trying to skive off work to go to a party (a bit like House trying to dodge clinic, but also very different). A fancy dress party provides ample opportunity for double entendre:

When ordering a witch doctor costume the telephone conversation runs thus: 'I beg your pardon? No, he doesn't want anything to shake, he's got one of his own...'

There's plenty more...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Betcher! ('71)

Betcher? Betcher!

The title of this very short Children's Film Foundation film, also from 1971, feels old-fashioned (surely 'betcher' is spelt 'betcha' these days?)

Ah, those cycling proficiency days. I'm still bitter about being thrown off mine for being rumbled by a member of teaching staff freewheeling down a Buckinghamshire street on my BMX, and failing to indicate a left turn with my gangly arm. Soz, I was too busy being much too cool for that, and in any case, whoever heard of throwing a kid off a safety course because she was spotted not playing safe? The mind boggles.

Anyway, an iccle Keith Chegwin stars in this film which is basically a propaganda piece for safety on the road. Don't do as a suspiciously wimpy Butch does; in fact, do the exact opposite because he doesn't stop at junctions or indicate. in other words, he's just a normal kid but still, nonetheless, headmasters across the land were trying to turn us all into weird conformist cyclists.

The film is based on a bet between two kids about who knows most about life on the road, but this is just a smokescreen for a light lecture hell-bent on modelling good road behaviour.

You can see for yourself here:

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Mr Horatio Nibbles (1971)

Cute, loveable things come in small packages which is probably why Mr Horatio Nibbles is a towering, 6ft effigy of paganistic terror.

His face is like a day-old rotting corpse which kind of belies his fob-watch-adorned 3 piece suit and posh, reassuring voice.

If you like daft policemen being foiled by rolling barrels, if you relate to brothers sneering from the sidelines about your girly flights of fancy, then this is the, er, minor Children's Film Foundation film for you.

If like me, you used to have reoccurring nightmares about large, imposing bears, talking to you out of sight of your parents, approach with trepidation.

Just type 'mr horatio nibbles' in to YouTube and unleash a film that's probably somewhere in your subconscious must be...

Sunday, 7 February 2010

I've just been watching an episode of Thriller starring Hayley Mills...

...when was the last time you sang 'why are we waiting' when stamping your feet impatiently for somebody to be ready?

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Bickering with Metal Mickey

It's 2010.

It's a whole 26 years on from 1984 when we were supposed to be flying around in space and eating pills for food (although we did have Sinclair C5s. They were a bit shit though, more like a wooden cart that had managed to somehow power itself without the horse. Not quite 2000 A Space Odyssey).

Still, to my mind, I'm pretty sure there's the technology out there to invent lots of new-fangled things but the brakes are pulled first. Take flying cars: What's the point in even getting to the prototype stage? Scientists are clever people (they have big foreheads to prove it). They know that humans are daft as arseholes. Why invent something where people are going to just bash into each other in the sky for fun? There aren't roads, cat's eyes or speed bumps up there. It'd be a lawless bloodbath. Scientists know that humans are great big kids waiting to happen. Some things just should never be invented in 1984, 2010 or 2069.

The same applies to household robots. Would you really want a Metal Mickey about the place? He'd just be bickering all day with Irene Handl.

I don't really want a wisecracking robot lording it over me, hands sarcastically on hips. Scientists know this too. They also know he'd be kicked to kingdom come by adolescents and slighted ex-army uncles.

I like my hob-top whistling kettle and I like to put the kettle on myself so please don't invent tea taps.