Comic Relief ’91 – tape 1163

Strap in, this might be a long one. It’s the first four hours of Comic Relief 1991 – This one is The Stonker.

It opens with a continuity announcement saying that Comic Relief is a little childish, so they’re showing Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, It stars Robert Hardy, and it took me a moment to realise that’s Mark Lamarr with him.

Along with Jim Carter and John Gordon Sinclair

Then the scene is interrupted by Lenny Henry with a custard pie. This is what they want!

This is the third night of Comic Relief, and they still have the core group of presenters, although only Lenny and Griff Rhys Jones are there for the start. Much of the show is also signed for the hard of hearing,

Here’s Jimmy Nail

And Bob Hoskins, with a gang of goons, among which are Geoffrey McGivern (behind him), Philip Herbert (who played Julian Clary’s sidekick Hugh Jelly in Sticky Moments) on the far left, and you can see the large shoulder of Ron Tarr from Eastenders on the right.

The punchline to the sketch is almost worth it. They went to the trouble of starting it with Francis Monkman’s music from the film, which is nice.

Dennis Quilley appears in a sketch, with John Gordon Sinclair, making good use of his toga in two sketches.

Don Henderson does a sketch as Bulman.

Melvyn Bragg interviews Bill Wyman

Anne Gregg from Holiday 91 (I had to look up her name, I’m afraid).

Kevin Lloyd from The Bill and Phillip Schofield

Jane Asher as Lady Hamilton

Russ Abbott as Nelson

Paul Young and Harry Enfield

A sketch about how the BBC is staffed by people from the 60s, featuring Nick Ross

Michael Grade appears, although he doesn’t dress up.

Sue Lawley is game, though.

Bob Hoskins again, and the two wolves – were they from Spitting Image?

Obligatory BBC Micro screenshot.

Remember the endless local telephone numbers for pledging? And look at the credit cards accepted. Access got subsumed by Mastercard (which wasn’t even there in 91), Switch went the same way, I’ve no idea what the Style card was – a shop store-card? And is Diner’s Club still a thing? They still seem to be, although just for business. Only AmEx and Visa are still there, really. Also, Prestel! The internet for 1991.

I’m fairly sure that’s Floella Benjamin

That’s definitely Hale or Pace. (Gareth Hale, although yes, I did have to check).

And behind him in the Sally Army band, Bob Holness

Lesley Joseph

Mark Arden

and Sarah Greene

The traditional OB from BT Tower with celebs manning phones is abandoned this year in favour of Julian Clary hosting a literal houseful of celebrities in Ealing.

The householder in a Mrs Corray (sp?). And she really does have a houseful.

Nerys Hughes

And Jean Boht in this small introduction, but there’s more later.

Frankie Howerd reads the news with an unfeasibly young Simon Mayo. So very, very young. But he does an amazing job presenting a live segment with such an uncontrollable legend.

Tony Robinson introduces some cartoon clips.

There’s a competition winner, 6 year old Chris Osbourne (I might have got the name wrong as it’s hard to hear over the whooping). He’d be 33 now.

There’s a bit of tape noise here.

Sarah Greene gets dropped in the shallowest gunk tank I’ve ever seen. More like a gunk puddle.

She’s dunked by Stephen Fry

And Hugh Laurie

Here’s how shallow it was.

Jonathan Ross turns up now, 45 minutes into the show. I’m assuming he was still doing a live early evening talk show on Channel 4.

The strangest celebrity endorsement of the evening comes from one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’ve no idea if it was Rembrandt, Donizetti, Maya Angelou or Leo Sayer, though. Going by the dates, this would have been from when they were making the second TMNT film, The Empire Strikes Back of that franchise. Probably.

Chris Tarrant turns up to plug a Sky TV show about funny home videos. I get a sense that in this segment the other presenters are trying to distract him.

There’s a really funny Birds of a Feather mini-episode, where they are visited by French and Saunders doing an impression of them. For some reason, Jennifer Saunders rendition of the phrase “Wedding Vows” has stuck with me for years.

More celebs in Julian Clary’s borrowed living room include Claire Rayner

Peter Duncan

Betty Boo

Sound the klaxon, it’s Tony Slattery

This looks like Sonia

There’s a smoke alarm going on, and Julian is told that Nerys Hughes just caused a chip pan fire. I’ve no idea if this is real, but I think it might be.

Ronnie Corbett does a monologue

Ade Edmondson in what I think is a cinema ad for Red Nose Day

They go live to Fulchester TV, and their star presenter Roger Mellie (voiced by Harry Enfield).

Back to Julian’s House, and Danny Baker deadpans with a cucumber.

Nerys Hughes is more excited by a sausage. Referring to the chip pan ‘fire’ she delivers the line “I wanted something hot”, so Julian has to complete the punchline with “inside you”. So I suspect it was all a gag.

Bill Oddie doesn’t seem to want to talk to Julian.

There’s a special episode of Mr Bean

More sketches, featuring Richard Briers

Jean Boht as Queen Elizabeth

Derek Griffiths as Walter Raleigh

Hugh Scully dons some old-age makeup for 21st Century Antiques Roadshow

Geoffrey Palmer plays the expert, appraising the Athena poster of the tennis player scratching her bum.

Hannah Gordon

Prunella Scales

Paul Merton appears in a sketch with Bob Hoskins

Which also features Glenda Jackson

Michael Winner

Patsy Kensit

Over to Radio Fab FM with Dave Nice and Mike Smash. This year there was also a tie-in tape with Smashy and Nicey that I bought, but I lost it when my car was broken into. I’d really like to hear it again, because I remember it to be really funny.

Alan Freeman Mark Arden and Stephen Frost give some fundraising news.

Barry Norman introduces the 5 funniest movie clips of all time.

Victoria Wood does a great pop song, frankly better than that year’s official single.

Ben Elton does some standup

Bad News appear, but without Rik Mayall

“For the first time on primetime television, Mr Edgar J Wright and his magical animation.” Yes, that Edgar Wright was one of 20 short films produced by children to illustrate some of the themes Comic Relief campaigns about.

They must have had a fast car to whisk Alan Freeman over to the house in Ealing where the phones are being answered.

Also appearing, Les Dennis

Sue Johnstone and Tony Robinson

Nicholas Parsons

Robbie Coltrane presents a Blind Snog gameshow.

There are three snoggers, Maria Whitaker

Kathy Burke as Waynetta Slob

and Buster Merryfield

Hale and Pace appear, surprisingly late in the programme, to perform that year’s single, The Stonk. Possibly the dullest of all the Comic Relief singles. Victoria Wood’s was much better.

French and Saunders take over the presenting duties.

This tape stops just after a segment on women comedians.

 

 

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3 comments

  1. Could those two wolves be Bro and Bro from CITV’s What’s Up Doc? and later Wolf It? I barely remember it but the look of them seems to be similar to puppets like Gilbert the Alien or Nobby the Sheep from around about that same early 90s era. And definitely ITV!

    1. The wolves were indeed on What’s Up Doc, but that didn’t start until 1992. I wonder if Spitting Image (or the Jim Henson Company, one of the two) made the puppets off their own back and hawked them around various TV companies hoping someone would make use of them.

      The Chris Tarrant bit is quite interesting because he was promoting The Secret Video Show, which as I remember him mentioning in his intro, was the first full series of home video cock-ups – I think You’ve Been Framed had already done a one-off but Sky nipped in to get a full series on air before ITV did. Of course, nobody had Sky at the time so nobody ever saw it, but I don’t think it lasted very long.

      Victoria Wood’s Smile Song was the double A-side of The Stonk, and it got equal billing on the sleeve – http://freakytrigger.co.uk/popular/2011/03/hale-and-pace-the-stonk/ It certainly didn’t get as much play as The Stonk but I remember seeing the video plenty of times on Going Live and the like, and it is quite good, if nowhere near her best work, of course.

  2. I remember this well. I was only 11 or 12 at the time so Comic Relief was a big deal back then; all your mates and the kids at school would buy the red nose and/or the single and we’d all try and convince our parents to let us stay up for as long as possible. The irony now of course is you couldn’t pay me to watch it. What I saw of the last one for example was utterly painful. It may be because I’m old now, but Comic Relief really seemed much better back then than it does now. There’s such a range of familiar faces there who gave their time for a good cause whereas now you just get the same faces; Lenny ‘last funny in 1983’ Henry, Davina ‘shouty’ McCall, the latest Cash-Cowell backed teenyboppers etc. The days of seeing proper character actors of Robert Hardy, Don Henderson, John Gordon Sinclair or Dennis Quilley’s calibre turn up for a sketch are long gone. This post reminded me of Anne Gregg, such a familiar face in the day but someone I hadn’t thought of in years. Sad to see she died 12 years ago, I don’t recall anything about her passing. I always find that quite strange and sad that a familiar TV face at some stage can pass away and it gets so little attention.

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