Feb 172012
 

Happiness Stan, I’m counting on you and your eccentric countrymen to explain the origin of this video. Is this part of a larger promotional film covering the entire Boulders album, by any chance? Please tell me it is. Thank you.

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  10 Responses to “Benny Hill Does Roy Wood (Featuring a Special Guest Appearance by Harry Potter)?”

  1. And is that Dory Previn’s successor at 2:03?

    Roy Wood is one of my twenty Top Ten British eccentrics. (I think I did a disc of those for Hear Factor.) It’s a pity that he’s done so little (read: nothing) in the last 20 years or so. There are your Syd Barretts who lose their way due to drugs. There are your Rolling Stones who keep putting out stuff but whom you kind of wish wouldn’t since it’s a pale imitation of their glory days. And then there’s Roy Wood who literally has done nothing as far as recording goes for no discernible reason. Does he make enough money from I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday? Does he have the world’s worse case of writer’s block?

    I saw him about 10 years ago when he did a few gigs in NYC and he was great. And he still does a modest number of gigs in the UK each year and I heard a recording of one from December. From that evidence he is still ready to rock.

    I sure would love a truly new Roy Wood album.

  2. Jeff Lynne needs to do the right thing and drag his old mate into the studio!

  3. tonyola

    I don’t know what happened to Wood either. He seemed to stop trying very hard as the 1970s wore on. His 1976 album Main Street was rejected by his label for being too uncommercial. Finally released in 2000, the album is an all-over-the-place oddball that lacks the tunefulness of his earlier records. I’ve never heard his 1977 Super Active Wizzo but his 1986 album Starting Up was a real stinker – bland and derivative ’80s synth pop with hardly any of the old Wood magic or even weirdness. He apparently hasn’t released any new music after that. I’m sure he still has his talent and would be a treat to see live, but he doesn’t appear to be interested in making new material anymore. It’s a little sad that last fall he was relegated to being the warm-up act for – gawd – Status Quo.

  4. It’s not like Lynne has been too prolific in the last two decades either.

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    I believe that’s either Morecomb (sp?) or Wise in the nerd role. Nice hiney, BTW. You are welcome to post stuff like that any time, Mod.

  6. Happiness Stan

    Been away at the seaside for a few days, very bracing in the wind at this time of year!

    That’s Ronnie Corbett in the ‘lead’ role in that clip, which is taken from (if I am not mistaken) The Two Ronnies’ (the other Ronnie being the late, great Ronnie Barker, who wrote the bulk and the best of their material – having submitted some sketches anonymously through the post to the show under the pseudonym of Gerald Wiley and only admitted to being the author to those who worked on the show after several seasons of writing for it) silent masterpiece of British Seaside Innuendo “The Picnic” They made two silent films, about 45 minutes long each, at round about the end of the 70s (I’m doing this without Wikipedia, so feel free to pince nez me at any point) the other being “The Seaside”, both of which are still quite funny, particularly if you’re between the ages of five and twelve.

    The Roy Wood has been added by another hand, I’m afraid, the original soundtrack was (again, as far as I can recall) a pastiche of Edwardian-style chamber music and comic grunts and vocal ticks from the cast.

    The Two Ronnies came to fame in “At Last The 1948 Show”, the forerunner of Monty Python in which most Pythons appeared, both Ronnies, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and also Tim Brooke-Taylor, who went on with most of the Pythons to a radio series called “I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again”, from which The Goodies were formed.

    The Two Ronnies had their own series on British TV for about twenty years, a mixture of sketches and variety, and apart from Morecambe and Wise are better loved than practically any other entertainers who have ever appeared on the box over here. Most seasons featured a surreal serial, often written by Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes, about halfway through each programme Ronnie Corbett would sit in a huge chair and ramble through a shaggy dog joke each week, and the shows would end with a musical number done in a Music Hall style.

    Barker was hugely influenced by Music Hall and seaside postcard humour, and there was certainly a good deal of innuendo, but most of it more forgiveable through modern eyes than Benny Hill, whose schtick at best bordered on and regularly fell into rather embarrassing smut, and whose humour has not dated as well in my opinion – while the Two Ronnies are regularly shown over here I don’t think that Benny Hill’s shows are any more, and I’d not want to sit down and watch them with the family if they were. Ronnie Barker was a genius at wordplay, and their sketches tended to end up with a verbal punchline rather than chasing half-naked girls around a garden with a rather unpleasant leer, which Benny Hill was wont to do more often than seemed necessary.

    Ronnie Corbett still appears on British television, generally presenting compilations of their best sketches, and seems an amiable chap, Ronnie Barker died a few years ago but the series he made on his own, Porridge and Open All Hours are still shown regularly, Porridge (about an old lag in prison) is brilliant and still incredibly funny after repeated viewings.

    This is probably their most famous routine – the “Four Candles Sketch”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCbvCRkl_4U

  7. Happiness Stan

    There’s an interview with him in either this or last month’s Mojo magazine, he’s put together what sounds like a fairly idiosyncratic “Best of” compilation including cover versions of his songs by other people and re-recordings of old favourites. I’m a bit nervous of investigating it, if truth be told.

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    Damn! Ronnie Corbett! I should’ve gotten that one. I remember “the Two Ronnies” from my high school years in Africa.

  9. Brilliant! Thank you. I now remember having seen one of these Two Ronnies skits before.

  10. tonyola

    The album (called Music Book) was released late last year. I’m not sure if I want to hear Nancy Sinatra or Status Quo covering old Move songs.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Book-Roy-Wood/dp/B005VOR4TU

 
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