Sunday, 7 August 2011

Bootsie and Snudge (1964)

Bootsie and Snudge was a television situation comedy series written, in the early days, by Barry Took and Marty Feldman, later writers were John Antrobus, Jack Rosenthal, ventriloquist Ray Alan and Harry Driver. The show featured Clive Dunn, more famous as Corporal Jones in Dad's Army, as well as Alfie Bass and Bill Fraser. Series 1-3, 5 centred around a Gentlemans club called the Imperial Club, whilst the fourth series broadcast as "Foreign Affairs" centred around a British Embassy in Bosnik. 112 half-hour episodes were made, being broadcast from 1960 to 1964 and in 1974.

The traditional Gentleman's club in Britain has long been used for comedic purposes in films, usually because of the eccentric characters with whom it can be populated, and the arcane rules. The rule of absolute silence in the reading room, notwithstanding several old men snoring under copies of The Times, is a common feature of such comedy. Memorable moments include Kenneth Connor in the film Carry On Regardless, being forced to mime "Your flies are open" to one of the members.

In the Imperial Club Bootsie and Snudge resumed their roles of snivelling skiver and bullying sergeant, with contributions from the ancient and always-bumbling dogsbody, Johnson (Clive Dunn), all under the tyrannical eye of the "Hon. Sec.", the club secretary played by Robert Dorning. The Hon. Sec.'s way of dealing with arguments was to drown out the opposition with repetitions of "Tup! Tup!", rising in volume until the other party stopped trying. Thus Bootsie's name for the character was "Ol' Tuptup".

In the early 1960s, the show was adapted into a successful strip cartoon in the British comic TV Comic.

The 1974 series sees the men reunited in a reversal of roles ten years later. Bootsie, now unemployed and living alone, has just won £1,000,000.27 on the football pools under the pseudonym 'Yilseb', devised to preserve his anonymity. Snudge is now a travelling representative of the football pools company who brings the lucky winner his cheque. As Bootsie has been using the name 'Yilseb' (Bisley spelled backwards), Snudge has no idea that the winner he is about to visit is his old friend, Bootsie. On discovering the truth, Snudge immediately gives up his job with the football pools company and appoints himself as Bootsie's pompous but subservient financial adviser.

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