Friday 4 May 2018

Record Collection Random Choice (RCRC) - N: Not The Nine O'Clock News - Hedgehog Sandwich

Mixing 1960s satire, a touch of the Monty Python-esque absurd with alternative comedy, and quick-cut sketch show format, Not The Nine O'Clock News first aired in November 1979.
(It's initial first showing was delayed due to the General Election).

It was one of those "slow burner" TV shows - not a lot of people watched the initial series, but there was enough interest (not least from the commissioning editors at the BBC) to warrant a second series.
It ran for 4 series between late 1979 and stopped when it's popularity was at it's peak in 1982.

Accompanying the series were a couple of books, and they also ventured into the world of records - releasing a couple of their musical interludes as singles ("The Ayatollah Song" / "Gob on You" and "I Like Trucking" / "Supa Dupa) , and culling the shows to fill up three albums in a three year period.

Now, bear in mind Not The Nine O'Clock News was, at heart, a topical satirical show, featuring some quick-cut video editing and silent sketches/skits.  The records themselves focus on the spoken word comedy (well, they would wouldn't they) and songs, and largely avoid the topical references which would date the content very quickly.

'Hedgehog Sandwich' (the second of three albums) pulls together sketches and songs from the second and third series broadcast in 1980, and features many of the oft-quoted sketches and lines repeated ad infinitum by "blokes (and it usually is blokes) of a certain age and mindset"

These are probably the best remembered, and (despite the scarcity of repeats) the most repeated sketches to emerge from the 3 year run.
There has been an element of re-recording/re-matching to ensure they all flow into each other, rather than the stop-start nature (slight breaks for audience applause etc) of the TV output.

Despite the lack of repeats, there is plenty dotted around YouTube and it is very easy to disappear down a Rowan Atkinson / Pamela Stephenson / Mel Smith / Griff Rhys-Jones shaped rabbit-hole (despite owning the records, and knowing the words, and trying to lever phrases into everyday conversation, I have spent a few lost evenings doing just that)

Some bits are dated (the couple of News Summaries and the That's Life take-off (entitled That's Lies). Some of the content may never see the light of televisual day again - in these more enlightened times a sketch about a policeman arresting the same man 417 times (a Mr Winston Kodogo, a caribbean gentleman, has been charged with (amongst other "crimes") "looking at me in a funny way", "walking on the cracks in the pavement","wearing a loud shirt in a built up area" and "possession of an offensive wife".  Neither would a song praising the leader of the UK Fascist Party.

But these are mere quibbles: there is plenty that would still pass muster: Football Violence (where the only solution is to "cut off their goolies"), Hi-Fi Shop (where an older man tries to buy a gramophone), Bad Language (where the interview panel of the TV discussion show do not realise they are dropping (mild) bad language into conversation without realising it)
And the songs that pepper the album remain well written and almost spot-on parody.

Hi Fi Shop

Supa Dupa

I Like Trucking

1 comment:

  1. Great post, and choice of embeds. Loved NTNON. Some years back, it struck me how much the dreaded Gove sounds like Gerald the Gorilla...