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"Broaden Your Mind" Synopses
BYM 1/2 - Print Email PDF 
Posted by bretta 18/12/2006


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(c) Andrew Pixley 2005


(from C&G #121  December 2005)


INTRODUCTION: Before the Goodies set up their office in 1970, the working title for the series was originally "Narrow Your Mind" since the new programme was proposed as a spin-off from "Broaden Your Mind", a BBC2 sketch show starring Tim and Graeme with songs from Bill which had run in 1968 and 1969. Last month we looked at the debut episode of this lost show, researched from soundtracks, scripts and production paperwork. Now, let's take a glimpse at the second episode broadcast as we Broaden Your Mind ...


        "Captain Cook, Chrisotopher Columbus, and Sir Francis Drake. Can you spot the odd man out?"  "Oh Go on ..." asks a rather camp Sir Francis Drake (Tim).

        "Where is Saudi Arabia?" Two Arabs stop a policeman on a village green and ask for directions.

        "Does the ancient art of water diving really work?" A man using a twig to determine the location of water finds that the twig suddenly comes to life and drags him into a lake.

        "Well here's your change to learn as you Broaden Your Mind".


        Tim and Graeme welcome viewers to the adult education programme. While Tim falls off the modern collapsible chair, Graeme analyses reactions to the first show by means of some filmed interviews with members of the public.

        A vicar (Tim) says that the show has broadened his horizons, just before he goes into a strip club. A man (Graeme) says his business has been doubled as a result of the series - he works for ITV. Queen Victoria (Tim) says "We are not amused!" on behalf of a group of ladies.

        Tim is cross that this is not a representative sample of the audience and rushes off, demanding to know who chose these people to show them up. Graeme carries on, saying that people can learn a lot from television.


        At a bus stop, a strange man (Graeme) comes up to a businessman (Tim); he stands on one leg and mimes dropping something while going "Th-dum!  Th-dum!"  He is enthusing about some desert birds which he saw in a TV programme the previous night.  "Fantastic!"  These birds drill holes in the desert by dropping sharp pointed stones from a great height, scientifically proven to be more accurate than wartime bombers. Furthermore, when these birds are attacked they puff themselves up to more than 3000 times their own size. "Fantastic!" the businessman agrees.  "I tell a lie, it's three times," he admits, which the listener finds less fantastic. The man says the birds defend themselves by dropping sharp pointed stones on their enemies heads - their enemies being marauding desert wallabies.  It's also how the bird open tins of fruit.  When the businessman wants to know how the birds get tins of fruit in the desert, the stranger replies "Well how should I bloody know?  I'm not a bloody expert on these bloody birds.  I only watched the bloody programme.  Who bloody cares how they get these tins of fruit? Who bloody cares?"  He also claims that these birds invented penicillin, which the businessman knows is untrue as it was invented by Alexander Fleming. The odd man agrees, saying that Fleming's main fault was that he couldn't drop sharp pointed stones to save his life.


        Tim has now found a more "representative" piece of film to show the public's rections to "Broaden Your Mind".

        A lady on a doorstep is very clearly Tim in drag; in a very stagey manner, he/she agrees "Oh, Broaden Your Mind.  That is a wonderful programme ... I always watch it and so do all my friends ..." until his wig comes askew.

        Graeme points out the flaw in this item and Tim angrily asks who chose this piece of film.  Graeme gets on with the programme proper, beginning with modern languages.


        MODERN LANGUAGES: An expert (Jo Kendall) explains how there are hundreds of languages in the world, mainly spoken by foreigners. French is useful for speaking to a Frenchman, and Latin is useful for speaking to a Frenchman in Latin.

        A businessman (Nick McArdle) has the oriental Mr Ling (Graeme) shown in with his interpreter (Tim) who keeps banging a small gong whenever he wants to speak.  Mr Ling speaks no English and the manager welcomes Mr Ling who is to sign a major contract.  The interpreter translates, but - according to his interpreter - Mr Ling seems to be more interested in what interpreters are paid in England. Looking at the contract, the manager notices that Clause 14 is there to pay interpreter Gin Slang a wage of £60 a week.  "No mistake sugar," says Mr Ling in broken English, "How you think I get landed with lousy interpreter in first place?"


        MUSIC: The image of a sheet of music fades to the study of the elderly academics Freddy (Tim) and Teddy (Graeme) who announce that tonight is Music Night and that they will be looking at Jazz.  Freddy introduces Teddy as Sir Edward "Hotlips" Windward which confuses Teddy; he also feels that "Jellyroll" is not quite him, although considers "Snake Hips".  They are going to sing a "blue song", or "blues song" as Teddy corrects Freddy, which they have written. Freddy will attempt to play the piano as Teddy starts: "Good heavens, I've got the blues/From the top of my head to my pigskin shoes (you see)/My baby's left me and I feel so bad/Since she went away I've been feeling miserable". Teddy admits he's not happy about the rhyme, and that was the good bit. The second verse is "Goodness me, I've got the blues" - and Freddy adds in "Whoa yes man" for authenticity, but this throws Teddy.  Freddy is really getting into this and starts playing his own chain-gang melody on the piano until Teddy stops him. The last verse: "By gum, this is the end of my song and I'm feeling so bad/Since my lady friend left me, I've been feeling absolutely awful/Whoa yes man!"  They decide this is all for next week - next week they will be doing ballet, dancing in Swan Lake.  "I'd better bring my wellies then," says Freddy.


        NATURAL HISTORY: A Walt Disney-style real life nature adventure begins; it is a motion picture three years in the making entitled "Man Valley" or "A Man Called Fluffy". The narrator (Graeme) describes the action as if anthropomorphising the animals; the music is a perfect pastiche of rather echoey post-war woodwind associated with these semi-educational items. "Here in Man Valley, the little creatures emerge from their winter habitats to sniff the air of this new exciting world.  Yes, it is spring in Man Valley". A group of people live in the woods like animals, but with plants which all come with Design Centre labels. One family lives up in the branches of a tree. Three men jump around in the ferns like kangaroos. It is a time for play and work, for the old to teach the young. But there is tragedy as well in Man Valley, when a vulture-man swoops down and kills one of the kangaroo men, leaving an "Out of Order" sign on him. "This looks a happy family.  Let's say 'hello'," says the narrator. One "little fellow" gets separated from the herd and is watched by the crew from a hide, with the canvas tent very obviously moving along behind the selected man. He is tempted by decoys, and the narrator gives him the name Fluffy.  "Hi there Fluffy!"  But soon he will get "the strange restless call of spring" which leads him to chase a woman through the woods, their clothes soon flying in the air from behind a bush. However, Fluffy has a rival, Husky, who will fight him for his girl. He knocks Fluffy out. "And, so tragedy again strikes in Man Valley".  The commentator says farewell as the creatures head home to roost, and three men are silhouetted baying at the moon.


        TECHNOLOGY: Playing with a toy train in the living room, the enthusiastic young Timothy (Tim) asks his Uncle Hugh (Graeme) who invented the steam engine, and is told about James Watt who was very, very clever. "Like you Uncle Hugh?" asks Tim.  "Ho ho ho ho ho," laughs Uncle Hugh in a kindly, modest way before adding, "Yes".  As he tells the tale of Watt watching the kettle on a hob, Timothy finds the word "hob" fascinating and wants to know all about it; Uncle Hugh explains that this is a bit like a stove but more Scottish.  Timothy wants to know more about this "beezer notion" but as Uncle Hugh is explaining about the kettle whistling, he suddenly asks "Where do babies come from Uncle Hugh?"  Uncle Hugh tries to ignore this, but his nephew is insistent, saying some of the chaps at school says that babies just arrive on a doorstep.  An embarrassed Uncle Hugh says that they are delivered with the milk and tries to continue talking about James Watt.  "Did James Watt have any babies Uncle Hugh?"  "No, no, I don't think he did Timothy." "Whyever not Uncle Hugh?"  "He probably didn't like milk."  Timothy now cautiously asks, "Uncle Hugh, where do steam engines come from?"  "Oh, that's an easy Timothy," says his Uncle, "There's a mummy steam engine and a daddy steam engine, they get together, get steam up and about nine months later, you'll never believe this ..."


        SCIENCE: In this week's science spot, an expert (Nick) looks at the mysteries of television and asks how it works ... but the picture flickers and breaks down. An announcer (Graeme) apologises for the loss of the programme and the "Normal Service" caption appears.  Then the gramophone music also breaks down and he has to apologise again, so they continue with the gramophone in vision only ... until it explodes.  In the meantime, he tries to croon "Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing" until somebody shoots him. Another announcer (Tim) then comes on and apologises for everything, saying that until they can be put right they will return to the programme where the expert is finishing his  description of how television works. Everything is completely automatic, and indeed fully automatic robot television personalities are already on the screen with their own shows.


        "THE MARVIN PATRIDGE SHOW": "On the Marvin Partridge Show tonight, Marvin's guests are Jason Rock, Marcia Lindstrom and Teddy Gross.  And here's your host, Marvin Partridge."  Marvin (Tim) moves jerkily and delivers jokes in a mechanical manner which totally kills them. Jason Rock (Graeme), who plays the popular TV character the Invisible Doctor, comes on first.  Marvin prompts "an-amusing-story- about-the-time-you-played-golf-with-Bob-Hope" but offers a drink of water and cigar before Jason can even start and keeps on interrupting the anecdote.  "I'm-afraid-we-have-to-take-a-break-here-we'll-be-back-in-a-trice-And now-My-next-guest-ladies-and-gentlemen-from-Manchester-Marcia-Lindstrom". Marcia (Jo) is told she looks lovely, "Marcia-Lindstrom-who-has-had-it-so-often-*CLICK*-had-it-so-often-*CLICK*-had-it-so-often-said-of-her-that-she-and-her-husband-are-the-nicest-pair-in-show-business.--Well,-what's-it-like-having-the-nicest-pair-in-show-business?" She is then asked what it was like golfing with Bob Hope and being married to Elizabeth Taylor. Marcia sits there confused and there is a long silence until Marvin says "That's-very-interesting".  Teddy (Nick) is introduced as Marvin goes out of control, his voice echoing, becoming very fast and confused, and then slowing, until finally he expires, while pouring the water he keeps offering his guests over Marcia.


        Graeme says it's the part of the programme where the viewer can sharpen their wits.  Tim says they must identify several objects. Graeme holds up an ornate candle snuffer and asks "Is this an Etruscan mouse-warmer?  A set or ornamental Victorian bussel snuffers?  Or a pair of Californian alimony tweezers?" Tim holds up a candlestick, asking "Is this a B52 bomber?  The Cutty Sark?  Or an unexploded model of the Albert Hall? Careful - that's a trick question." Graeme then displays a strange engine, asking "Finally, is this a transistorised atomic pile?  A steam driven television set? Or is it a cigarette lighter?" Using the object to light a cigar, Tim says "If you did recognise any of them would you claim them immediately from the Lost Property Office, British Rail." They wish the audience "Good Night" and the show ends.


Helping you to Broaden Your Mind were

Tim Brooke-Taylor

Graeme Garden

Jo Kendall

Nick McArdle

Graham Chapman

Terry Jones

Michael Palin

Devised and written by Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor

Additional material by Graham Chapman and John Cleese, Bill Oddie

Musical Director: Dave Lee

Film Cameraman: Jimmy Court

Film Editor: Alan Bell

Lighting: Howard T King

Designer: Paul Joel

Producer: Sydney Lotterby


BACKGROUND NOTES: The second edition of "Broaden Your Mind" to be broadcast was in fact the third to be recorded; this was because it was decided to hold the second episode back and screen it later in the run. The bulk of the script was written by Graeme and Tim, including "Chinese Interpreter" and also another appearance by the elderly academics Teddy and Freddy. This item, with the duo singing the blues, had originally been written for "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" (Series 3 Programme 11; 12 December 1966) in which Tim had played Sir Timothy Trim-Candle of Oxford University and David Hatch had been his colleague Professor Edward ("Teddy") Ferret-Smith of Cambridge. The Marvin Patridge sketch about a robotic TV host which closed the programme reworked one of the sketches from the Footlights show "Cambridge Circus", "Patients, for the Use of" in which Tim had played a robotic hospital visitor activated to cheer up a lonely patient played by Bill (which had also appeared on "At Last the 1948 Show" in Series 1 Programme 3 on 1 March 1967).


Material was also submitted by Tim's old "Cambridge Circus" colleagues Graham Chapman and John Cleese in the form of the sketch "Stonedropping"; this was very similar to the  sketch "The Wonderful World of the Ant" from "At Last the 1948 Show" (Series 1 Programme 5; 15 March 1967) in which Cleese and Marty Feldman had performed an innocent victim plagued by a mad man who obsessed about the behaviour of ants. Bill Oddie wrote the filmed sketch "Man Valley" as a pastiche of Walt Disney's true life adventure films.


Filming for "Programme 3" was performed on 2 August, 6 August, 7 August and 12 August. The items on film were the pre-credit amazing facts, the vox pops interviews with members of the public (with Tim using his famous Edith Evans/Lady Constance voice for Queen Victoria) and Tim's unconvincing housewife, and the major item "Man Valley". "Man Valley" was largely filmed on 6 August with a few pick-up shots on 12 August. Joining Tim, Graeme and Nick McArdle for "Man Valley" on 6 August were Graham Chapman, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with Graham also performing some filming on 12 August. Also appearing in these filmed items in an uncredited capacity were Stephen Mallet, Donald Grove, Ann Gabriel, Sue Bishop, M Neil and Maggie Pilleau.


Studio recording took place at Television Centre on 31 August 1968. the scenes with Tim and Graeme as the hosts part way into the show was pre-recorded between 2.30pm and 3pm in the afternoon, and the rest of the show was taped before a studio audience between 8.30pm and 9.45pm with John Junkin acting as the warm-up man. This recording included a new performance by Tim and Graeme of the Uncle Hugh/Timothy sketch "Steam Engine" which had originally been taped a fortnight earlier with the first episode, but edited out of the finished programme. In addition to the music from Dave Lee, also heard in the episode was "Mixed Up Masurka" by Jack Wolfe and his musicians from a Mozart Edition LP.


The episode went out on BBC2 in the new regular slot of 8.50pm on Monday 4 November 1968; it was seen by 1.6 million viewers and received a reaction index score of 57.



Many thanks to Andrew for these very useful and interesting summaries. Is there any chance of covering the remaining episodes, please?
Posted by:Bertha Torr


date: 04/10/2019 21:43 GMT
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