When Bernard Cribbins, the voice of Buzby – a straggly, phone pole-dwelling cartoon canary in personalised vest – phoned his mum to tell her she was on telly, a nationalised industry dipped its toe into the heady world of merchandise. plush toys, stickers, combs, necklaces and badges sprang up. Buses and Commer vans carried his image everywhere. Buzby’s adventures appeared in TV Comic and picture books detailing his laddish antics (‘Buzby’s Rock Group‘, ‘Buzby’s Girlfriend’). There was even an abortive attempt to privatise the company with the issue of ‘Buzby Bonds’. It all got a bit much, and he was eventually replaced with the less omnipresent (though more annoying) ‘It’s for you-hoo!’ campaign.
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Given it’s now been over fifty years, there possibly will come a time in the not too distant future where the vast majority of the public suspect that Archie Andrews never actually existed and is just a joke, given how ridiculous the concept of ventriloquism on the radio appears. The general concensus is that Peter Brough packed it in because when he went on telly everyone saw he was a pretty crap ventriloquist, but apparently he was also fed up with people having no interest in the man behind the doll, and the suspiciously large number of incidents of Archie getting “lost” on his Wikipedia page would suggest Brough was getting pretty careless. Here’s a new drama where Rob Brydon plays Brough and aims to work out what it was that saw him give it all up to run a textile factory.
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