Saturday, 3 February 2018

"Will you stop your tickling, Jock!!"

"Will you stop your tickling, Jock!!"

Effortlessly entertaining, with excellently exaggerated exuberance 'The Good Old Days' is an interesting illustration of how your tastes evolve over the years.

As a kid, when it came on the telly it was time to do something more exciting, such as having a bath, but the recent BBC Four repeats have changed all that.We now look forward to putting the Friday night shopping away to the strains of 'Daisy, Daisy' or some other familiar ditty.

Produced by Barney Colehan and taped at the Famous City Varieties Theatre in Leeds, it's admittedly a mixed bag of items. As we say in our article, in any one edition you have some things that are good, some that are bad and some that are simply bloody Orville...

The whole night is held together by chairman Leonard Sachs, with verve and verbosity. He comes on waving his handerchief to huge applause and bangs his gavel like a good 'un. And then the rollercoaster really begins. The range of entertainment served up can vary between the astonishingly awful and the amazingly accomplished.

You can get a bloke who produces flowers from boxes for five minutes or you can get Ken Dodd holding an audience in the palm of his hand. Tedious balancing acts rub shoulders with Les Dawson's linguistic flights of fancy. Though no-one working on it at the time probably considered it, 'The Good Old Days' has become a fascinating scrapbook of the cream of variety acts of the time.

All sorts of images stick in your mind as you work your way through the surviving material. Eartha Kitt trying not to laugh when singing to a man in the audience whose moustache is slipping off. Ray Alan and Lord Charles come on both dressed as Jon Pertwee's Doctor.

Arthur Askey inevitably sings about bees and Barry Cryer makes several apperances in full Scottish garb. Terry Scott dressed as a schoolboy is a bit of a shock the first time you encounter it, though!

Give it a go. But if you don't take up our suggestion, you can only blame chiefly yourselves!!!

(By Andrew Trowbridge)

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