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Good Old Days, The (1953-83)


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 BBC1, 16 April 1972

After an opening shot of a candle, the sound swells, with the audience chorusing 'Little Dolly Daydream' under the vigorous leadership of guest conductor Bernard Hermann and the orchestra. A fanfare: the curtains open on chairman Leonard Sachs, who takes his place with a extravagant flourish of a handkerchief and introduces (he will introduce all the acts, as this is his function) the first act, Terry Lightfoot's Jazz Band, who play two traditional jazz style numbers ('Tavern in the Town', 'Don't Dilly Dally'). The Macardis, a speciality table-acrobatics act of comic cruelty, follow. They give way to singer Eira Heath, whose six numbers include 'Ta Ra Ra Boom Di-ay', 'Oh Mr Porter' and 'In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree', and who flirts with the audience. Next is Larry Parker, magician, then singing duo the Barrie Brothers, with 'Get Out and Get Under', 'Row Row Row', 'Moonlight and Roses', followed by ventriloquist Neville King with 'Albert'. Sachs introduces American star Eartha Kitt, who sings four numbers in typically sultry feline style, while vamping firstly Leonard Sachs, and then men in the audience.

The star of the show, Arthur Askey, is next: not to be outdone, he too uses Sachs (and his gavel) as a stooge, delivering his familiar mix of jokes, catchphrases and comic songs - opening with 'The Penguin' - which involve the audience, before Sachs closes the show with a return of the entire cast but "chiefly" the audience with 'Down at the Old Bull & Bush'.