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Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club (1974-77)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Edition originally transmitted on ITV on 6 September 1974.

WARNING: Some of the content described here might now be deemed to give offence to some users, but reflects accurately the programme as broadcast.

The opening titles and momentary shots of photographs of The Queen and of then prime Minister Harold Wilson lead into Bernard Manning mid-song ('For Me and My Girl'); Colin Crompton conspicuously loudly dressed, with cloth cap, catchphrase "Give Order Please" and customary firebell, is apparently on the telephone to 10 Downing Street, giving him the chance to make jokes about Mrs Wilson's poetry and Dennis Healey. Bernard introduces the Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang, comedy musicians featuring midget 'Tiny' Ross, the butt of some physical humour. Numbers include 'Peanut Vendor' and 'Can't Buy Me Love'.

After a brief interruption from Crompton, Manning jokily introduces east London comic Mike Reid. Reid's performance is the aggressive humour of a wide-boy cockney, and uses mock West Indian patois. He concludes with a jazzy version of 'River Stay Away From My Door'. Crompton makes some club 'announcements', and threatens to let Bernard Manning sing: however, David Whitfield comes on and proceeds from a semi-spoken introduction into the drinking song from 'Student Prince', which he performs with a full glass taken from an audience member.

Part two starts with Whitfield whistling 'Colonel Bogey' and singing a rousing marching song. Crompton reads some comic postcards from former guests, and Manning introduces Marion Ryan, who sings 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love' and 'The More I See You' while a middle-aged man from the audience dances by the stage. Crompton hands over to Manning to introduce Max Wall, who does a stand-up routine mixing monologue and grotesquery in droll style, finishing with some comically poor trumpet playing. After another brief interlude from the hosts, Stuart Damon, one of the stars of the series The Champions sings 'Bad Bad Leroy Brown', 'The Yellow Rose of Texas', with audience participation, finishing with 'The Battle Hymn of The Republic', as the camera lingers on Richard Nixon's photograph.