Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Friday, February 5, 2010

Junior Choice

Those amazing people who both follow my blog and my Facebook antics - most of you I will call friends, one or two of you who only follow my Web tracks just to check on me and harrumph disdainfully at how much time I'm spending on the computer or how childish I'm being or other silly reasons, I will call something else - will have noticed that earlier today I posted a bunch of YouTube videos from such notables as Kenneth Williams and Rolf Harris, as well as some other things, perhaps strange to you, and it kinda put me in the mood to talk about something that was a big part of my growing up, and I suspect to countless other Brits of my generation. I'm talking about a radio show that aired on Saturday and Sunday mornings on BBC Radio 1, Junior Choice.

Originally the show had started in the early '50s, called Children's Choice and subsequently Children's Favourites, hosted by Derek McCulloch (Uncle Mac) until 1965. Several hosts were tried after that, including Leslie Crowther, until in 1968 the show moved from The Light Programme to the brand-new Radio 1 and Radio 2, broadcast simultaneously on the two stations, with a new host, Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart, who hosted for 11 years, and then the final host Tony Blackburn took over until 1982, when the show ceased.

The show was basically a request show. Kids wrote in and requested songs, and whatever the majority requested got played, so it was an interesting and sometimes downright weird mix of pop, children's songs, hymns, whatever. A few years ago EMI released an album on their mfp (Music For Pleasure) label an album entitled All Aboard! containing 20 tracks, all of which had become staples on the show over the years.
This cassette was a total trip back in time for me. Some of my favourites included on the album were:

  • Michael Holliday - "The Runaway Train"
  • Flanders & Swann - "The Gnu Song"
  • Mandy Miller - "Nellie The Elephant"
  • Arthur Askey - "The Bee Song"
  • Ronnie Hilton - "A Windmill In Old Amsterdam"
  • The Seekers - "Morningtown Ride" (an instrumental version of which was the show's theme tune)
  • Bernard Cribbins - "Right Said Fred"
  • Elton Hayes - "The Owl and The Pussycat"
  • DIck James - "Robin Hood"
and a bunch more. I realise that a lot of my readership on the other side of the pond will recognise none of these. For that I apologise, and to try to rectify the situation, I will now post a selection from the above list. It seems to me the one that would probably cause the most confusion is Right Said Fred as you'll all recognise the band that sang 'I'm Too Sexy' - well, that's where they got the name.

Bernard Cribbins was a comedic actor who was steadily becoming popular in the UK in the early '60s and, as is the obvious thing for a young funny guy to do when he's getting popular, he made some records. Right Said Fred  was his biggest hit, peaking at #10 on the UK chart in 1962.

Right Said Fred (Cup of Tea)
(Myles Rudge, lyrics & Ted Dicks, music)

"Right," said Fred, "Both of us together
One on each end and steady as we go."
Tried to shift it, couldn't even lift it
We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea and

"Right," said Fred, "Give a shout for Charlie."
Up comes Charlie from the floor below.
After strainin', heavin' and complainin'
We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea.

And Charlie had a think, and he thought we ought to take off all the handles
And the things wot held the candles.
But it did no good, well I never thought it would
"All right," said Fred, "Have to take the feet off
To get them feet off wouldn't take a mo."

Took its feet off, even took the seat off
Should have got us somewhere but no!
So Fred said, "Let's have a cuppa tea."
And we said, "right-o."

"Right," said Fred, "Have to take the door off
Need more space to shift the so-and-so."
Had bad twinges taking off the hinges
And it got us nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea and

"Right," said Fred, " Have to take the wall down,
That there wall is gonna have to go."
Took the wall down, even with it all down
We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea.

And Charlie had a think, and he said, "Look, Fred,
I get a sort of feelin'
If we remove the ceilin'
With a rope or two we could drop the blighter through."

"All right," said Fred, climbing up a ladder
With his crowbar gave a mighty blow.
Was he in trouble, half a ton of rubble landed on the top of his dome.
So Charlie and me had another cuppa tea
And then we went home.

(I said to Charlie, "We'll just have to leave it
Standing on the landing, that's all
Trouble with Fred is, he's too hasty
Never get nowhere if you're too hasty.")

(c)1962, by Myles Rudge (lyrics) & Ted Dicks (music)

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