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"BROADEN YOUR MIND" - SERIES 1 PROGRAMME 4
(c) Andrew Pixley 2005
(from C&G #123 February 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. We're now over half-way through the first season, so here's the fourth show of Tim and Graeme's attempts to Broaden Your Mind ...
"Do you know where wasps go in the winter time?" A man shakes his head ...and then gets stung.
"Do you know why so few baby ostriches survive?" Every time an egg is laid, it falls so far because of the bird's long legs that it breaks.
"Do you know how Sir Isaac Newton discovered the laws of gravity?" Newton is sitting looking up at an apple on the tree above him when his chair collapses.
"Well now's your chance to learn as you Broaden Your Mind"
Tim and Graeme introduce their adult education programme, and Tim again falls out of the collapsible chair. They are disappointed by the standard of answers sent in by the viewers so far in response to their tests. They tell Edith Pritchet of Halifax that her answer was wrong. When Caeser arrived in Britain, he didn't say "I came, I saw, I conquered"; he said "Veni. Vidi. Vici" which translates as "Kiss me, Hardy". Since the answers are so bad, anybody who sends in shoddy work in future will get a visit from Mr Blackthorne, an executioner (Nick McArdle). With the warning over, Tim says they will start with History.
HISTORY: A shot of the Bayeaux Tapestry fades to an expert (Jo Kendall) who says that England has a fine history of military achievement, often aided by their allies. Essential to the British fighting man are the officers behind him - often a long way behind him in the briefing room.
Group Captain Head (Tim) welcomes the new RAF crews in a wartime briefing room. They are to be trained to fly B57 bombers - but as "Jerry" is on their tail at the moment, he wants them to take their planes up now and he promises that they will receive their training later. "From our point of view, it's a jolly good way of weeding out the duds," he explains. Head asks if anyone has flown a B57 before? There is no response. A B12? Nothing. A B9? Has anyone flown before? Can anyone drive? The man who does raise his hand at this query is made flight lieutenant and the men are arranged into crews of three. The RAF aim to have the radios in the planes by next week, but for the time being the man are advised that they'll have to use the telephone instead and so will need lots of spare change.
Wing Commander Springboard (Graeme) then tells the men about the bombs they'll be dropping which are about the size of a man: "So before you drop the bomb, make sure they're bombs." As they are short of bombs, they should also take broken bottles, rotten fruit and cold water with them. It's a surprise raid, so when they get near enemy territory they should keep their voices down. Wing Commander Sadcase (Nick) tells them that tonight they will bomb Frankfurt. The officers aren't sure where this is, but have some rather old maps for the crews: "You fly over Gaul and you drop the bombs just north of the Holy Roman Empire". They synchronise watches: "In exactly ten seconds from now ... it will be a few minutes past seven," says Head.
SOCIOLOGY: Shots of rooftops fade to the Scots expert (Nick) who talks about attitudes to food and drink.
A wife (Jo) tells her husband (Graeme) that they are eating Chinese tonight as she places a wrapped takeaway on the table. When the packaging is unwrapped, inside is a Chinaman (Basil Tang) who winks at them.
The expert says that the country is more food conscious, and people are now eating out on any excuse whatsoever.
A royal official (Nick) announces the Queen.
The expert says that the modern British connoisseur can really claim to know what he's talking about.
A wine expert (Tim) is able to identify from a single taste the vineyard, its location, the man who picked the graps, the man's clothes, and the fact that the man has laced the wine with poison ... at which point he dies.
The expert says there is also the "Meals on Wheels" service. Three people (Tim, Jo and Nick) try to eat their dinner on the back of a "Meals on Wheels" van. However, the expert says that nothing beats home cooking.
There is a ring at the door of Mr and Mrs Robinson (Graeme and Jo) of 14 Disraeli Crescent, Dagenham. It is a group of four Frenchmen, whose spokesman (Tim) explains that they have come to sample their food as they are listed in the Good Food Guide: "English Provincial Cuisine At Its Very Best" with the bread and butter pudding highly recommended. As Mrs Robinson goes to cook, more gourmets arrive, and she decides to ask Mrs Patterson to give them a hand as an American (Nick) makes his order. While Mr Robinson looks for the wine list, a third party arrives comprising orientals and he has to tell their leader (Basil) that they are full; the first oriental says they will sit on the floor. The Archbishop of Canterbury (Marty Feldman) arrives with a sexy girl looking for a quiet corner table. Mr Robinson then takes a phone call and tells his wife that "She" is coming. "She" will have to eat in the kitchen. Mrs Robinson then announces cabaret time, and a line of four dancing girls come on.
Graeme and Tim check on the viewers' progress. They have had a letter from Mr Grice asking if a dog whistle is so highly pitched it cannot be heard by the human ear. Tim has such a whistle which he blows - it sounds like a ship's foghorn. "To a dog, that can sound as loud as a ship's foghorn," he explains. The duo then ask for charitable donations of a piece of string; if all the string used in Britain in a year was tied together it would reach the moon. So, send string to the British Lunar Project.
Tim then introduces Egyptology.
EGYPTOLOGY: A shot of the pyramids fades to the study of Teddy (Graeme) and Freddy (Tim). Professor Frederick Pottermore and Sir Edward "Stepladder" Winwood ("Why do you call me 'Stepladder' Freddy?" "'Cus you're always getting up to something Teddy.") talk about Egyptology ... which they don't know anything about. Freddy suggests doing physiometry instead, but he doesn't know anything about that either. In the end, Freddy suggests telling a joke. "I say, I say. My wife has just gone to the West Indies." "I didn't know you were married Freddy." "No, I'm not am I?" Freddy thinks again and dons a red nose to show that he is the funny man. Teddy will have to be the straight man. "You don't look very straight to me." "It's the best I can do in these trousers." Freddy's joke is "Can you tell me the difference between an egg, a carpet and a bit of crumpet." Teddy doesn't think this is at all funny, and Freddy has to explain how he should respond. "You can beat an egg ..." starts Freddy, but Teddy says he can't. "You can beat a carpet, but you can't beat a bit of crumpet." "What do I say now?" asks Teddy who cannot understand why somebody should want to beat a poor little piece of crumpet. Assuming that the joke must be wrong, they look for other more logical answers. "You can eat an egg ..." doesn't work. "You can lay an egg, you can lay a carpet ..." seems to work. Teddy asks Freddy if he has heard about the commercial traveller on an island with three nuns and a goat ... this is a story which was in the paper that morning. The pair decided that this is all they're doing about Egyptology for this week and they sign off, as Freddy points out "You can whip an egg ..."
CRIME: An expert (Tim) discusses the Cinema asking if such art should be censored. In Britain, the public is protected by the censors.
A censor (Graeme) sees a disgusting bathroom scene, demands it is cut out of the film, and says that he will take it home with him.
The expert explains that a film can be kept complete by discreet dubbing, and an example is shown from the Swedish film, "Barely Living".
Undubbed, the film is set on a stormy night where Franz (Graeme) arrives at Helga's (Jo) house, grasps her and starts to ravish her on the bed.
As the expert says, no British audience could possibly understand what was going on in this scene, but it is made acceptable by dubbing.
The same film has now been redubbed with very respectable English voices. Franz has popped by to tell Helga that she has a light in her window. "Let me put my arms around you," he asks. "What for?" "Just to see if they'll reach. Oh they do. Good." "Whoops. I've fallen on the bed," says Helga. "Oh how clumsy you are. Here, let me help you up. Whoops. Oh how clumsy I am. I have fallen on the bed as well." "What a small world it is Franz," agrees Helga's voice (totally at odds with the visuals) as she continues, "Oh bother. My liberty bodice has come undone." "Here, let me do it up for you. Oh, now it's come off altogether. What a nuisance for you." Husband Joseph arrives with gun and fires, shooting Franz. "Luckily the bullet missed me," says Franz's voice as he dies, "but I think I'll have a lie down".
The expert explains that this is how British cinema is kept so boring. The latest musical to hit London is "The Sound of Monks" with Eamonn and Julie Andrews which opened last Tuesday for a record seven year run. A scene is shown from this as the plain clothes nun, Theresa (Jo), calms everyone while in crisis as Brother Louie (Bill Oddie) sings "Antibellumlaudedaturarmamutarom". This simple song turns into a big dancer number complete with dancing nuns.
Graeme and Tim set the questions for viewers to send in the correct answers. Graeme shows some film of Arthur (Tim) who sets off from London at 5 mph. A train sets off from Liverpool at 90 mph. Who reaches London first? Tim sets a literary puzzle; the viewers must identify a quotation which is clearly from Hamlet. "That is the question. Goodnight."
Helping Broaden Your Mind were
The Barbara Moore Singers
Choreography by Ken Martyne
Musical Director: Dave Lee
Devised and written by Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor
Additional material by John Cleese, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, Eric Idle, David McKellar and Bill Oddie
Designer: Paul Joel
Producer: Sydney Lotterby
BACKGROUND NOTES: Although broadcast as the fourth show of the run, it was in fact the fifth edition of "Broaden Your Mind" to be made (the second episode was held back for later in the transmission sequence).
Some of the material for the show was again drawn from "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again". Graeme's redubbing of a sexy imported film had turned up very recently in Series 5 Programme 13 (23 June 1968); the censor quickie featuring Graeme also came from the same programme. The latest Teddy and Freddy sketch also had its roots in an item from Series 3 Programme 9 (28 November 1966) in which two academic listeners, Sir Timothy Trim Candle (Tim) and Professor Edward Smith (David Hatch), joined the show in an attempt to deliver a knock-knock joke and to display cutting edge humour, but in their dithering kept destroying the punchline. The joke about the egg, carpet and bit of crumpet was one which had originally been banned from use on stage by the Lord Chamberlain, and which Tim has used in one of his "Cambridge Circus" routines. The foghorn gag had also recently originated in "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" (Series 5 Programme 5; 12 May 1968) where David Hatch had performed it at the start of the show.
The "RAF Sketch" was written by John Cleese with an uncredited Tony Hendra and had appeared in "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" (Series 1 Programme 1; 4 October 1965) in which Bill had been Squadron Leader Hancock, David Hatch had played Wing Commander Springboard and Tim had been Wing Commander Sadcake. Bill's contribution to the show was "Antibellumlaudedaturarmamutarom", a quite brilliant parody of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", a song from the musical "Mary Poppins" which had starred Julie Andrews, giving a link to the nunnery setting of "The Sound of Music". This had also previously appeared on "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" (Series 3 Programme 7, 14 November 1966). The quickie item about the Queen being announced was a very late addition to the show and did not appear in the camera script. Eric Idle contributed to the "Food and Drink" section of the programme, as did Michael Palin and Terry Jones
Pre-filming on the episode began on 27 August, with the main film sequence of the dubbed sex film performed on 3 September. Other filmed items included the opening film, the closing poser about the man leaving London, and the Chinese takeaway and Meals on Wheels gags. British Transport supplied some 35mm of a train for Graeme's closing poser for the audience.
The programme was recorded in Studio 6 at Television Centre on 14 September. The piece with Graeme and Tim checking on viewers' progress mid-way through the show was pre-recorded between 2.30pm and 3pm. John Junkin did the warm-up for the main recording from 8.30pm to 9.30pm that evening. Marty Feldman, Tim's colleague from "At Last The 1948 Show" and "It's Marty", made a very brief appearance in the guise of a dodgy bishop (who had turned up on Marty's own show) while also in the cast was Basil Tang. The recording also saw the appearance of four dancers for the musical item in the form of Lillian Batten, Samantha Sawyer, Sue Lake and Gillian Elvins, with Barbara Moore providing eleven singers as backing for the number. The extras in the "home cooking" sketch included Mary Elliott, Christine Cleall, Lindsay Scott, Helena Clayton, Robin Dawson, K T Choong and K C Shaw. Most notably though, Bill Oddie also took part in the studio recording for the episode, making this the first time that all three of the future Goodies had appeared together on a television programme. In addition to the specially composed music for the show, Dave Lee and his orchestra also played "Fine and Dandy" by L Swift.
In the finished show, the audience reacted enormously well to the brief "Meals on Wheels" gag. Teddy and Freddy also went down very well, but the biggest response was to Bill's very enjoyable and visual musical number at the end of the show. The show was broadcast at 8.50pm on 18 November 1968 on BBC2; the "Radio Times" listing also included a credit for additional material for Bob Block who was uncredited on the show itself. The programme was seen by 0.9 million viewers - a slight drop on the previous edition - but achieved a reaction index score of 61, the highest for the series so far.