This programme, although not strictly broadcast in the 1950's, is included as it was the forerunner of several other famous radio series which continued into the '50s.
'The Army, the Navy and the Air Force' whistled by a forces audience opened this show which 'week by week goes round the services bringing music and fun to boys and girls in khaki and two shades of blue'.
Originally 'Mediterranean Merry-Go-Round', then 'Middle East Merry-Go-Round', the show expanded to all forces 'serving afloat or overseas' from January 1945. The Naval Edition was written by its star, Sub-Lieutenant Eric 'Hearthrob' Barker, and was set in HMS Waterlogged at Sinking-in-the-Ooze. Wren Meg Merryfield introduced the show produced in collaboration with the Personal Services Department of the Admiralty by David Manderson.
The Air Force edition featured visits to Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, a remote fighter base in Laughter Command, written by its stars, Flight Lieutenant Richard Murdoch and Wing Commander Kenneth Horne (as the AOC). Flight Sergeant Anne Grisewood compered and Pilot Officer Roy Rich conducted the 'Double or Quits Quiz'.
The Army section, Studio Stand Easy, was written by its star, Sergeant Charlie Chester whose 'happy band of Other Cranks' from Stars in Battledress included Arthur Haynes, Kenny Morris, Raymond St. Clair, Len Marten (one of the voices of 'Tish and Tosh'), Joe Giggs and Louise Gainsborough or Corporal Sally 'Click-Click' Rogers. The 'Double or Quits Quiz' was conducted by Will Hay.
After 'demobilisation' Much-Binding-in-the Marsh and Stand Easy became series under their own titles, while Merry-Go-Round remained the name for Eric Barker's naval-based series. HMS Waterlogged became Waterlogged Spa, still at Sinking-in-the-Ooze. Jon Pertwee, a wartime discovery, was the main character man (Commander Highprice, Robin Fly), and Humphrey Lestocq arrived as Flying Officer Kyte. Thus the 200th programme was broadcast from Waterlogged Spa (via Radiolympia) in September 1947.
This 'laughter resort for all' situated at Sinking-in-the-Ooze, was the demob version of Merry-Go-Round which spun off into its own series in September 1948. Eric Barker was the hesitant manager (and scriptwriter) assisted by secretary Pearl Hackney. Jon Pertwee played the postman who's catch phrase was "What's it matter what you do as long as you tear 'em up!" and also Weatherby Wett, the Chapel Organist and determined wooer of Lord Waterlogged's daughter Pheeb. He would present her with a blood-red pe-o-ny, which he had nurtured in his window-box, every week. The character for which Jon Pertwee was best known was Jonnsen or Svensen (or something similar), a Norwegian sailor. This character spoke no English, but had a peculiar (nonsense) wartime catchphrase, supposedly cod-Norwegian, To the shrill call of his name, he would reply something like "Harun!". When asked for information, or being given commands, Miss Hackney - the only trooper who knew "Norwegian", would start a dialogue which nearly always ran something like "Yayden-yoden-yayden negetykrof de bombit". It meant anything and everything. The Norwgian might sometimes reply, enthusiastically, "De bombit, de bombit, n yayden yayden yayden." Jon Pertwee was very fond of telling this story!
Lord Waterlogged, played by Richard Gray, was an ex-dustman who rose to First Lord of the Admiralty and was made Baron Waterlogged of Waterlogged Hall. His catchphrase was 'Ullo cock!, ow's yerself?' and he would be heard to comment of Pheeb - "Ooh, swelp me she sez in that quiet Roedean way of 'ers, you'll get a slosh in the gob, young man!".
Eric Woodburn was Dr. Oliver Dither (whose greeting to Eric Barker which was-'Ah Barker my boy, take your clothes off') and Flying Officer Keen ('I'm Mad Keen!') and both he and Jon Pertwee played Du and Dai of the Secret Police. Sylvia Robin was the songbird accompanied by George 'Hair' Crow and the Blue Mariners. Leslie Bridgmont produced.
Waterlogged Spa clip
Soft-pedalled series written by and starring Eric Barker who, tired of cracking gags at Waterlogged Spa, sought a subtler form of comedy that needed no studio audience. Broadcast fortnightly from 11 January 1951 with Pearl Hackney (his wife), Desmond Walter-Ellis as Godfrey Clympying the OB commentator, Patricia Gilbert and John Warrington. Barker and Deryck Guyler created their most endearing characters as the Two Old Gentlemen, residents of the Cranbourne Towers Hotel, who claimed that it was only by listening to the other fellow, that you get the other fellow's point of view. Charles maxwell produced.
The second series, from 17 April 1952, brought in John Stevens and Freda Bamford and added Elton Hayes 'who sang to a small guitar'. Voices who came and went through the the long run included Daphne Anderson, Peter Hawkins, Charlotte Mitchell, Kenneth Connor, Ruth Porcher and Denise Bryer. Old gents apart, the other regular spot was centred around the romances and jealousies of the Lillian Forsdyke Trio.
The ninth series, which included show no. 100 broadcast 15 December 1961, introduced Mrs. Tombs (Hackney) and Mr. Thorp (Connor), of the Little Tessingley telephone exchange.
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