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"Broaden Your Mind" Synopses
BYM 1/3 - Print Email PDF 
Posted by bretta 18/12/2006


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» The West Australian...


(c) Andrew Pixley 2005


(from C&G #122  January 2006)


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. Having looked at the first two shows, now let's move to the third broadcast as we Broaden Your Mind ...


        "Do you know how many sheep it takes to make an average size pullover?" In fact, five sheep are busily knitting the item in question.

        "Did you know that Marconi discovered the wireless completely by accident?"  Marconi is using a sewing machine when an announcer's voice (Tim) suddenly says "This is the BBC Home Service. Here is the News.  The wireless has just been invented."

        "Do you know the mating call of the African Hippopotomus?" Over the film of some hippos comes the voice: "Want a good time dearie?"

        "Well now's your chance to find out as you Broaden Your Mind"

        Graeme and Tim welcome the viewers to their Encyclopedia of the Air in which they will cover all manner of subjects, as Tim falls over from the modern collapsible chair. Starting with science, they look at the new plastic Zebadite, named after the scientist Sir Humphrey Zebadite-Mee, which is indestructible as Tim illustrates by hitting a Zebedite milk jug with a hammer - an end to messy broken milk jugs the morning after parties. However, Tim still manages to snap the handle off.

Graeme turns to a machine which can reverse the sequence of time if a lever on it is pressed.  The machine makes a strange noise, and Tim and Graeme start saying their words in reverse, and the handle reattaches itself to the jug.

        THE LAW: A photo of the Old Bailey fades to an expert (Graeme) who considers what makes people turn to crime.  Is it violence on television?

        A couple are watching television when the husband suddenly goes to get an axe and returns to smash the set.

        What is the best thing to do if you're at home when you hear burglars in the house?

        A couple (Jo Kendall and Tim) are woken by burglars; their immediate reaction is to hide under the sheets. The husband is scared and does not want to go downstairs - he barely investigates at all, but his wife insists that he does to shout something at them.  He meekly calls, "Hello burglars, I'm just going to the bathroom".

Summoning courage, in a loud voice, Tim says that they are being visited by Nigel, Tony and Tarzan who are visiting from university, and that they had better not be stealing the cups he won for boxing. The couple are still tempted to just hide under the sheets. The wife understands her husband's tactics and talks in a loud voice about their dog - which panics the husband at first as he is scared of dogs. "Are you there Spot?" he asks at first, changing it to "Are you there Black Havoc?" and ordering the non-existent canine not to kill any more burglars or eat any more scissors. The couple then talk about their guns which they claim to have a collection of. Finally the burglar (Nick McArdle) enters. The couple scream "Burglar!" whereupon the terrified intruder hides under the sheets in their bed.

        SOCIOLOGY: The Scots expert (Nick) wonders what makes a gentleman - apart of course from a gentlewoman?  Is it schooling? A working class man (Graeme) says he would rather send his son to a good Tech where he can learn a trade rather than Eton.  "For one thing he wouldn't enjoy it there.  I know I didn't." The expert says that a gentleman knows a gentleman, even if they've never met before.

        Two rather gung-ho ex-army types meet. The first (Graeme), who is out with his wife (Jo) thinks the other (Tim) is Porky Blathertrap. He isn't.  Tim thinks Graeme is "Jampot", but he is wrong too. They talk like old friends, reminiscing about times they never spent together in the army with old colleagues that the other doesn't know. "I always say, started the first war single, finished it married.  Started the second war married, finished it divorced," says the first, "Don't know why, it's not true." The first man introduces his wife Elspeth, who is really called Angelica. The second must dash to get to the club to see Froggy, Jingo, Chooper, Beery and Fats. After he has gone, the first man's wife asks "Who was that darling" to which her husband replies "I've no idea, but I got his wallet"

        SCIENCE: In their study, the viewers meet Professor Frederick Pottermore (Tim) and "Shanghai Lil" (Graeme) ... Teddy wonders why Freddy has introduced him as "Shanghai Lil", which was the name of the film with primitive naked tribal dancers which Freddy has been trying to recall "Wollabalumba!"  They were measuring the speed of sound using a megaphone; Freddy calls "Hello Teddy" and Teddy checks his watch, estimating the result as half past six.  Teddy says they are going to talk about nuclear physics, but Freddy's mind is on the tribal dancers still. They study a large uranium atom ("It's a bit big isn't it Teddy?" "Surprised me too Freddy!"). When they feel that bringing the atoms together is dangerous, Freddy suggests a subject like History as it's safer. "It's not you know Freddy," points out Teddy, "Most of the people in History are dead." They go back to nuclear physics to act out in dramatic form the splitting of the atom. Freddy will be an atom and Teddy will be a high speed electron. "Not what I call high speed Teddy," says Freddy, who then runs away from his doddering colleague rather than be split.  It's more like a tribal dance, as he points out. There is an explosion and another Freddy appears, followed by another Teddy.  "Wollabalumba!"

        Graeme and Tim welcome the viewers back. Graeme has a letter from Mr Robinson of Doncaster who has difficulty remembering all the facts they cram into the programme.  He suggests tying a knot in his handkerchief, but has forgotten to bring one with him. Alternatively, he suggests tying a bit of string around his finger - like the one which he already has and which was meant to remind him of something he has forgotten. When he unties the string, his finger falls off. Reminded by the bit of string around his finger, Tim announces the next subject as economics, which he almost forgets. Today they will look at the British Businessman and his proud "British Made" label.

        BRITISH MADE: A film narrator (Graeme) focuses on businessmen waiting on a railway platform and decides to see how the five million British Businessmen in this country are made in a little factory in Sussex. The raw materials have been left to mature for years in vats marked with the vintage ("1967/68") and then assembled by Mr Chippenwood, a master craftsman who carefully selects the specimens in the workshop vaults. The apprentice, young Nobby, takes it for the first stage of preparation which uses the mould and coated with a mixture, the composition of which has been a secret since the days of Ethelred the Unready. Three hours later, the mould is opened. The next stop is the design department where Mrs Murial Beavis, an expert of 20 years standing, fits moustaches and flings the unsuitable ones into a bucket of rejects. The businessman is starting to take shape as a result of hand-crafting, as the craftsman who fits the bowlers and brollies says that he has been working at the factory man and woman for 150 years. Nowadays it is all conveyor belts and machines, but when he started out it was just the same. To rigourously test the craftsmanship, a businessman has been placed on a railway line and set off at a fixed speed with a special ingredient: a cup of tea. He sets off, slow at first but soon getting into his stride. Only after 20,000 miles does he show signs of wear and tear. However, in comparison a Japanese businessman, with "Made in Japan" on his back, is still going strong ...

        HISTORY: An expert (Jo) sets the scene as 1594 and the birth of English drama, although may people are still unsure about William Shakespeare.  Did he exist?  Was he Francis Bacon?  Did he just call himself William Shakespeare? Was he some other William Shakespeare? As there is no answer to this, they will instead look at the tradition music hall tradition which it began.

        A barker [Nick] introduces 'High Jinks of 1586', those two matchless maestros of maliferous mirth, Jot and Tittle (Tim and Graeme), two Elizabethan men who do music hall gags.

TITTLE: Speaking while-of my mother in law, my mother-in-law ladies and gentlemen, my mother-in-law has just sailed with Drake to the West Indies.

JOT: Jamaica?

TITTLE: No, he took her as ballast.

There is a "Tapster, tapster, there's a fish in me broth" joke, to which the answer is "That's no fish sire, that's your codpiece".  The duo finish with a "lute song".

        INSTITUTIONS: An expert (Nick) introduces a feature on the church: in Britain today, how powerful are the clergy?

        One clergy is  shown lifting some weights while another is punching a punch ball.

        But congregations are dropping off, and a new more dynamic approach is called for.

        An old man, George (Tim) and his wife Emerald (Jo) answer the door to the vicar (Graeme) who enters sternly; he has a black patch over one eye, wears breeches and carries a whip. The vicar says that the couple weren't at matins that morning and isn't interested in their excuses. The couple explain that they bought tickets for the best pews in the house, but this isn't enough for the vicar.  He wants them to get married again, although he has already married them four times.  The vicars needs the money and has a search warrant. He wants to know  why they were talking about the new curate who has moved into the vicarage: "What's wrong with her?"  The angry vicar tells the terrified couple that he may have to arrange a "little visit ... from the verger".  "Not the verger," says the old man, "I've still got the scars vicar".  The vicar says he will let them off this time, but if it happens again Mrs Figgis will show them her slides of the holy land.  George now stands up to the vicar and reveals his secret by saying "Shazam".  He is transformed into SuperBishop!

        Tim says it's now the audience's turn.  Graeme introduces a mathematical problem.

        A businessman called John (Tim) is having a bath. The volume of the bath is 36 cubic feet. The volume of the water is 20 cubic feet. The volume of John is 6 cubic feet. So what causes the water to overflow? The answer is probably the girl in the bath with him.

        Tim now introduces "True or False?" and shows a picture of Raquel Welch. Graeme says the answers should be sent on a postcard to: "3W88768/A2/0@ Broaden Your Mind etc. etc." Tim says the prize for the first correct entry is £20,000. Graeme hands over an entry, but Tim reveals his own entry and says he is just too late ...


Helping you to Broaden Your Mind were

Tim Brooke-Taylor

Graeme Garden

Jo Kendall

Nick McArdle

Michael Greenwood

Devised and written by Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor

Additional material by Simon Brett, Barry Cryer, John Law, Bill Oddie, C. Stuart-Clark

Musical Director: Dave Lee

Lighting: Howard T King

Designer: Colin Piggott

Director: Roger Race

Produced by Sydney Lotterby


BACKGROUND NOTES: With the second recording dropped back down the series, this third programme broadcast was actually the fourth to be made. Graeme and Tim wrote the bulk of the script as usual. In the Sociology section, the piece with Graeme as a working class father discussing Eton had recently appeared on "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again", on the same show as the sketch where two ex-army types met each other

(Series 5 Programme 4; 5 May 1968). The "Vicar Sketch" was a new item from the pair, along with a new sketch featuring Teddy and Freddy. The "Man Made" filmed item was written by Barry Cryer who had worked with Tim on "The Frost Report" and had appeared on "At Last the 1948 Show" with him. "Swap a Jest" was a sketch which had originated back in the days of "Cambridge Circus" and had been written by Tim and Chris Stuart-Clark along with the song from Bill; it had also appeared on the radio version of "Cambridge Circus" broadcast on 30 December 1963.


It was originally planned to film on 8 August 1968, but shooting was cancelled and deferred to 13 August. The main filmed item for the programme was "Man Made", although the other brief items included the opening gags, the man smashing his television, the bishop lifting the weights and the closing bath question. Joining Tim, Graeme and Nick McArdle on film were Bert Sims, Vincent Wong and H Elton.


The third of the pre-credit questions used some 35mm library film of a hippopotamus from the Associated British Picture Corporation; the same company also provided 35mm film of businessmen on a railway platform used in the "Man Made" item. Photocaptions in the episode - such as the shot of the Old Bailey - were provided by Barnaby's, Fox Photos and Camera Press.


The main recording of the show took place at Television Centre on 7 September 1968. Pre-recording took place between 2.30pm and 3pm in the afternoon; as usual, this covered the item with Tim and Graeme as the hosts mid-way through the programme, but also items which required video effects and editing that could not be achieved live such as the end of the Teddy and Freddy sketch where duplicates of the two academics suddenly appear, George's transformation into SuperBishop at the end of the "Vicar Sketch" and also the jug reattaching itself to its handle in the opening reversal sequence (achieved by running the item in reverse onto the master tape). The main show was then recorded between 8.30pm and 10pm with a warm-up by John Junkin.


The "Radio Times" also credited Bob Block with writing material for the show, althogh no such credit appeared on the programme. The show aired at 8.50pm on BBC2 on 11 November 1968 and while it attained a reaction index of 59 (an improvement on the previous week), the audience size had fallen to barely a million viewers.



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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