Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Nuggets from the Loft… Volume 3

Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve never been much of a one for making resolutions, but I’m hoping to post on here a bit more regularly during 2012. Especially as I’ve spent much of the Christmas period ‘sorting out’ in the loft (translation: pointlessly moving piles of stuff from one cardboard box to another) and have a whole host of little nostalgic nuggets that I’m absolutely itching to share.  Still, that’s fibre-glass loft insulation for you.

So my plan is to present you with a little Nugget from the Loft as often as possible throughout 2012. First up we have a treat for fans of On The Buses – a rarely-seen theatre flyer…

You might assume that this comes from some long-forgotten dark corner of the sexist Seventies, but – brace yourself – the dates mentioned at the bottom of the flyer are undoubtedly from 1990. I distinctly remember this little missive doing the rounds in our Sixth Form common room during that particular year, brought in by louche rockabilly obsessive Simon Lee, who once told me that his three favourite TV programmes of all time were (in order) The Sweeney, The Dukes of Hazzard and Juliet Bravo.

I have a bit of a soft spot for traditional theatre farces, and once met Windsor Davies and Robin Askwith in the car park of Billingham Forum after a performance of Doctor In The House, but sadly I didn’t make the pilgrimage to the Tyne Theatre & Opera House to see Hands Off My Crumpet, which is a shame as I’d have liked to have seen the late, great Bob Grant in action. If nothing else, it would have been nice to see if the trousers on the flyer were an accurate representation of the ones he actually wore onstage, and really DID have the colour washed out of them from the calves downward.

Anyway, let’s all have fun debating whether the item of food incorporated logo IS actually a crumpet, because in my house during the 1970s and 80s, that would definitely have been called a pikelet.



  Andrew T. Smith wrote @

I think the bottom of his blue pants are actually stained white…

  bobfischer wrote @

He’s been wading through emulsion.

Top pop fact that I’ve discovered this morning… Lacey Bond, as billed on that poster, was in the band Toto Coelo of ‘I Eat Cannibals’ fame. Alongside Bob Holness’ daughter Ros.

  bobfischer wrote @

Oh, and pants? PANTS? Where are we, Connecticut?

Trousers, man. Trousers.

  Stuart Downing wrote @

Well done for spelling Connecticut correctly. I would say that they would have been called pikelets in my house too, although I’m not sure if a pikelet is technically a bit thinner than a crumpet.

  bobfischer wrote @

My local Tesco currently sells both pikelets and crumpets. What they call crumpets are definitely what we used to call pikelets (thick, stodgy things with holes in the top). What they call pikelets are thin, miserable-looking concoctions. No holes.

Don’t get me started on HP Sauce.

  Chris Orton wrote @

Definitely crumpets around our way. I distinctly remember my dad toasting some on our open fire using a long toasting fork, and they were then slathered with butter which would fill the holes.

I think that the thin things are Scotch Pancakes aren’t they?

  Simon Lee wrote @

Ah yes, i have a copy of this in my archives.

I picked the leaflet up in Yarm Library, and began making plans for a trip to Newcastle to see the show with Mr Andrew Bruce.

Unfortunately, before the trip was finalised, there was an article in The Sun saying that the performance had been scrapped after complaints and the threat of industrial action from some of the Female staff of the local council (Who owned & operated the Theatre then). Apparently they believed “Hand’s Off My Crumpet” to be sexist & demeaning to women.

Can’t remember The Sun’s headline (Probably something like “Council girls KO saucy Buses Bob”) but it was quite a big article with quotes from both the offended council women and Bob Grant. I suspect it probably contained the lines “Just a bit of harmless fun”, and maybe an early sighting of “Political correctness gone mad”.

I would have assumed that this would have been a UK tour, rather than just a one off production in Newcastle, but i can’t find anything about it online. Perhaps the whole tour was pulled lest it cause further offence to humourless harridans. Would love to see the script.

  bobfischer wrote @

My local Tesco sells Scotch Pancakes as well as pikelets and crumpets. The plot thickens! Unlike the Scotch Pancakes.

According to my Mum…

‘It was pikelets in our household and was pikelets when I was at home with Grandma. Crumpets were something completely different. If I remember correctly they were about the same size, but slightly blown up with no holes in the top. Never had any of them”

  bobfischer wrote @

Mr Lee! Great to see you around these parts – I wondered if word would reach you. I had no idea that ‘Hands Off My Crumpet’ never actually made it to the stage… surely that gives our flyers even more historical value?

Anyone got a number for the Antiques Roadshow? I’d love Fiona Bruce to get her hands on them. So to speak.

  David Brunt wrote @

The Stage online archive shows that the play premiered at the end of April 1988. At Hunstanton. Wherever that is.

With a smattering of performances through to 1990.

There’s an article headlined “Griffin Demise” in March 1990, which I assume covers the cancellation story.

Haven’t got acces to the archive at the moment to read the details.

  bobfischer wrote @

Hunstanton is a little seaside town in Norfolk. Clearly the UK’s No 1 hotbed of 1970s-style smut.

Cheers Mr B – interesting to know it did actually take to the stage.

  Chris Orton wrote @

Hunstanton Fact: Hunstanton is the only west-facing seaside resort on the east coast of England.


  bobfischer wrote @

So all the houses face away from the sea? Blimey. No wonder they need a bit of filth to liven things up from time to time.

  David Brunt wrote @

And it’s on the outskirts of Lousy Bush Woods.

  Paul wrote @

I saw this show at the Tyne Theatre with Bob in, very 70s, very sex farcey but fun. Met him afterwards, lovely chap and had my pic took with him. Also bought a 7” vinyl single of the shows funny song which bob sang, full of bakery innuendos.

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