Saturday, 10 December 2011

Magic our Maurice! Oh, No. It's Selwyn Froggitt! (1974-1977)

As a kid I loved, Oh, No. It's Selwyn Froggitt! the Situation Comedy from ITV that ran from 1974 to 1977.

It starred the great Bill Maynard long before his Greengrass days as the council labourer, Scarsdale Working Men’s Club secretary, hapless handyman and all-round public nuisance Selwyn Froggitt. It was created by Roy Clarke, who wrote the pilot episode transmitted in 1974, though the series was mostly written by Alan Plater. It was made for the ITV network by Yorkshire Television.

Set in the fictional Yorkshire Town of Scarsdale UK, the show was centred around the bungling exploits of Selwyn Froggitt, a burly, balding, good-natured council labourer (Maynard) usually clad in a donkey jacket, with pretensions to intellectual competence (he carried the Times rolled up in the pocket of his donkey jacket, although was hardly ever seen reading it, preferring to tell people that "There was an article about it in the Times") and an urge to improve his life and that of everyone around him. Froggitt was on the committee of his local Working Men's Club, serving as concert secretary in charge of booking 'turns'.

Selwyn Froggitt was fundamentally and spectacularly incompetent at everything he turned his hand to, being equally inept at his day job (digging holes and filling them in), do-it-yourself at home, and booking acts for the club.

The show featured a number of catchphrases, the most memorable being: Maynard's "Magic, our Maurice!" accompanied by two thumbs up, his mother's (Megs Jenkins) "Don't open that cupboard, our Selwyn, things fall out!" and almost everyone at the club's "A pint of cooking and a bag of nuts, Raymond." Raymond the barman (Ray Mort) was fond of answering the telephone with a number of highly fictitious and fanciful addresses. All decisions taken by the club committee were taken on a "Show of hands..." and "Carried unanimous".

Froggitt's accomplices on the committee included the dour Scouser Jack (Bill Dean) later to play Harry Cross in Brookside, Harry (Harold Goodwin) and excitable, stereotypical Welshman Clive (Richard Davies). His brother Maurice was played by Robert Keegan.

The show's humour included a fair measure of slapstick alongside Alan Plater's typical northern humour.

In 1978 after three successful series under the title of Oh, No. Its Selwyn Froggitt. Yorkshire Television changed the format of the show radically. The new version of the series was entitled Selwyn; all of the regular cast bar Maynard departed to focus on other work and the Froggitt character became entertainments manager at a seedy holiday camp on the east coast. Alan Plater was no longer involved with the show during that series. Selwyn ran for only a single series with disappointing audience reactions, a planned second series was cancelled. And so, another comedy classic disappeared into the sit-com grave yard!

The Starsky & Hutch Monthly. Christmas 1978

And so the Christmas theme continues.....Back in the 1970s, one of the best selling magazines around was the Starsky & Hutch Monthly. Above is the cover from the Christmas Magazine 1978.

By George, it's Mildred! The Christmas TV Times (1977)

When I was nowt more than just knee high to the proverbial Grass hopper back in the good old 1970s, the thing I looked forward to apart from Christmas itself, were the Christmas editions of the TV & Radio Times. TV really was was TV back in those days, none of your EastEnders or Corrie bollocks cluttering up the schedules with their far fetched, over the top dismal servings of dead turkeys mascarading as plots! Just plain good old fashioned Christmas TV! Gracing this cover from 1977, arh, yes, those were the days! Were Brian Murphy & Yootha Joyce alias George & Mildred Roper along with Harry Secombe.

Cloppa Castle - Episode Five: Caught in a Jam

Caught in a Jam
Since the invention of the Bruda Banger, the soldiers at Cloppa Castle have not had to pull the Queen around in her chariot. As a result of this and little action from the Hasbeenes, the men of the fort have grown a little fat and lazy. The Queen is appalled by this and goes to see Cue-ee-dee. He is busy making a new oil purifier machine. She asks him to do something about the men and he uses them to power the machine, hence getting them exercise. The new machine produces different grades of oil for different purposes.
The guards are getting lazy and fat complains the Queen - pot calling kettle black here me thinks
So much work to be attended to
Cue-ee-dee has created a new oil processing machine
Elbow tries to impress the Queen by showing the men shackled to the machine. Just as things are going well, the Hasbeenes attack and Elbow cannot find the keys for the cuffs. The Queen calls for Mudlin and orders him to find a spell to release the men. He thinks he has come with a solution but alas all that happens is a new pipe appears on the machine. It suddenly starts producing jam puffs which explode. These are then used against the Hasbeenes which although stops them to begin with, the jam attracts bees which eventually sees them off the castle assault.
The machine requires two guards to power it and no court jester
Osmosis sounds the alarm as Beosweyne and the Hasbeenes approach
The Hasbeenes are covered in jam puffs - exploding jam puffs

Wham's Last Christmas! (1984)

Wham,Last Christmas,Austria,5
"Last Christmas" by British pop duo Wham! was released on Epic Records in 1984, on a double A-side with "Everything She Wants". It was written by George Michael, one half of the duo. The song has been covered by many artists throughout the years.

Wham! had been a dominant force in the UK Singles Chart in 1984 and news that they were planning a Christmas single meant that a battle for the coveted Christmas No1 spot in the UK seemed set to be between Wham! and the year's other big act, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, who had achieved a third No1 in early December with "The Power of Love". However, the Band Aid project, helmed by Bob Geldof, produced the No1 single. Wham!'s offering peaked at No2 for much of the period, although George's involvement in Band Aid meant that Wham! still had an input. Wham! subsequently topped the monies raised by Band Aid by donating all of their "Last Christmas/Everything She Wants" royalties to the Ethiopian Famine appeal.

Wham,Last Christmas,Australia,Deleted,12

"Last Christmas" did make No1 in various other countries.

The single sold well over a million copies and became the biggest selling single in UK chart history not to reach No1. A year later, it was re-issued for Christmas again (this time without a billed flip-side) and got to No6. A second re-issue at Christmas 1986 - by which time Wham! had split - stalled outside the top 40.

The song gradually sold in Japan, and finally became the best-selling single that did not reach that country's top-10 chart, selling more than 600,000 copies and peaking on the chart at No12 in 1992.

Since 1997, the song enters the German Single charts every year and peaked at No4 in 2007. In the airplay charts the songs enters every year the Top 5.

In 2007, the track re-entered the UK Top 20 and hit the UK iTunes Top 10.

In 2008, the song re-entered the UK Singles Chart again, this time at No36 and peaked at No26.

In 2009, the song re-entered the UK Singles Chart at No39.

In 2009, the song re-entered the Spanish Lista de Canciones (Singles Chart) at No9.

In Germany, the song is the most successful Christmas single of all time with 94 weeks on the German Singles Chart and a peak position of No. 4. In January 2008, the song fell from No. 4 to No. 64 there, making it the biggest fall out of the top ten of the German Singles Chart.

Green for Danger (1946)

I have been sitting this morning watching the superb 1946 Feature film, "Green for Danger" which starred amongst others, Alastair Sim and Trevor Howard. I'd seen this film numerous times before but forgotten just how good the film was, so much so that I have decided to do a post all about the film. Hope you enjoy!

Green for Danger the 1946 British thriller was based on the popular 1944 detective novel by Christianna Brand.

The book Green for Danger was praised for its clever plot, interesting characters, and wartime hospital setting. The film version, starred Alastair Sim and Trevor Howard, with Sally Gray and Rosamund John. The film was shot at Pinewood Studios in England. The title is a reference to the colour coding used on anaesthetists' gas bottles.

Set in August 1944 during the V-1 Doodlebug offensive on London, a murder takes place in Heron's Park Emergency Hospital, a rural British hospital somewhere in the South East of England. Joseph Higgins dies on the operating table after being injured by a flying bomb. The anaesthetist, Barney Barnes has had a patient die in similar circumstances previously. Inspector Cockrill is asked to investigate when Sister Bates is killed after revealing that the death of Higgins was not an accident.

Cockrill states at one point "My presence lay over the hospital like a pall - I found it all tremendously enjoyable." Cockrill's investigation is hampered by the conflict between Barnes and Eden because of their competition over the affections of nurse Freddi. After another murder attempt leaves Freddi supposedly dangerously ill, he restages the operation in order to unmask the murderer.