Thursday, 14 April 2011

When Michael drove us Potty!

The Flashing Blade

Michael Bentine's Potty time was a superbly scripted and produced show about the world of the Potty characters. Michael Bentine both wrote the shows, did the voices and even designed the Potties. Potty Time is difficult to put into words so lots of images will follow on the next pages. Those of you who do not remember this show (shown around 1973 onwards by Thames Television) will certainly remember both the music and the images of the main characters. It started originally on BBC1 as Michael Bentine Time back in 1972. The most vivid memory I have is when the Potties were visiting somewhere on mass and all you would see would be sand being thrown up in the air as their little feet hurried past. The program ran for seven seasons until 1980.

Michael Bentine also starred in and was screen writer on several films, one of which was on the other week - Sandwich Man (1966, also did screenwrite) where he played a wandering advert man called Horace Quilby. Other films include: We joined the Navy (1962), I only asked, (1958), Rentadick (1972), Raising a riot (1957), Forces' sweetheart (1953, also did screenwrite) and Down among the 'Z' men (1952).

Episode One - The Foam Fighters

Michael and the Professor are going through what appears to be the alphabetical listing of the Potty guide to Potty history. F is brought up on his occasion day. F for Foam fighters. As if by magic the Potty Foam Fighters appear. Their motto is to fight foam first and fire second. When asked what foam they are referring to, "Foam from washing machines and factories." It represents a deadly threat. The invasion of the foam began a year ago. An innocent fisherman was taken whilst at Teddington Lock. Two others, Mable and Norman out bird watching were also consumed by the expanding foam.

Potty Fisherman The foam rising

Too late

The foam is rising

The tale gets worse

London is consumed

Foam fighters meeting the minister

Suddenly the foam retreats

A smelly tramp provides the solution

Things get so bad that the Foam Fighters are summoned to see the Under Secretary to the Assistant Semi Permanent Personal Private Secretary to the Third Minister without Port Folio, Department of the Environment (himself). Together the Minister and the Foam Fighters see the foam consuming the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The fearful foam is still rising. As luck would have it a wandering tramp whiffing of something awful is nearby. The foam takes one smell of the tramp and starts to retreat. "That is it, the answer" shouts the Minister. Detergents cannot stand muck and dirt. "Have an O.B.E." he says to the tramp.

And so ends one of the greatest threats the Potties have ever been faced with.