Though the panto season is now over for another year, here’s a lively reminder to keep the kiddies (God bless ‘em – Chas de Whalley) happy during these dreary winter nights.
The scene is set in a London backstreet, where Baron Riviera and his pals are out hunting. Leading the pack are Twiddle D. Edmunds and Twiddle Dum Lowe. "It’s my turn to be leader," cries Lowe. "You’ve had your chance with that Rockpile, now for my turn at the action. And who cares if you had a hit with 'I Knew The Bride' who bleedin’ wrote it then, eh?"
"Mind if I play guitar on it?" asked Edmunds, seemingly unaware that his partner is in fact Prince Charming. "Let’s eat," snaps Lowe. But the pantry is bare and the hunt a failure. So, the Baron punishes Edmunds by banishing him from his kingdom and locks him away in a recording studio from which he was never meant to escape.
Meanwhile, Lowe is cleaning the grate, when in strolls the funny little man who does odd jobs around the house, Eric "Wreckless" Buttons. His guitar won’t work and his bow tie won’t rotate, but he has a plan that will let Nick get to the ball at the Lyceum. However, their plans are undermined by evil Ebenezer Larry Wallis, master of turning into inanimate objects, who turns into a police car (boo, hiss etc.) and gives chase. Yikes!
There is now a brief interval while Kosmo "If ya don’t want the whelks don’t muck ‘em about," sells his perishable goods.
Locked up in a high tower-block is Elvis Costello, Power Pop troubadour, imprisoned for cheap publicity stunts and making people queue outside West London boozers in the cold. "I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself" he pleads with his capturers and prays for a "Miracle Man." And lo and behold and gor blimey if they’re ain’t one just around the corner:
Why, it’s good old uncle Ian Dury and the Blockheads, who soon make everyone ‘appy with a few choruses of "Wake Up And Make Love To Me" and "Billericay Dickie." So busy are the people enjoying themselves that they hardly notice as Lowe and Costello sneek away to the land of Radar, leaving Dury and Eric to live happily ever after in Stiff Manor. But all are friends and join in the chorus together with the whole ensemble as the magic spot bops along the wallchart with uncle Ian leading the chants of "Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll." And yes, the leather zipper jacket fits Prince Charming nicely, thank you.
All that and more for just £2.99, the ultimate animated programme from a never to be repeated event that summed up the summit of fun ’77 – every gnome should have one.