XYLOPHONE-WIELDING THREE-NOTE monster and world record holder for a) greatest number of miserable characters in any sitcom and b) begatter of multi-catchphase congestion (“Hello campers!” “…Ho-de-ho!” “Knobbly knee-contest begins at 3pm” “‘Ave you seen my famous people on the toilet routine?” “I wanna be a Yellowcoat” “Barry, please” “Oh go on Ted, go on” “Not now, Gladys”). Out of all DAVID CROFT’s ensemble efforts, this was undoubtedly the least likable, as summed up by that familiar ‘You Have Been Watching…’ farewell salute in this instance not just going on the longest but also comprising the most can’t-be-arsed and often downright ugly of all those “beauty parade” closing sequences. At least the participants of ‘ALLO, ‘ALLO hammed it up rotten, usually reprising one of the best moments from the preceding half hour (albeit in mime form, rooted to the spot and having engaged in a swift costume change from whatever ludicrous fancy dress outfit they’d ended the episode in). And at least they made an effort to look interested during the playout of ARE YOU BEING SERVED?, or just plain daft in IT AIN’T HALF HOT MUM. As far as HI-DE-HI! was concerned, however, everybody was pissed off during their credit cameo: Jeffrey Fairbrother was discomfited (ditto his replacement Clive Dempster); Gladys Pugh frosty; Ted Bovis arrogant; Spike pathetic; Peggy mithering; Fred absolutely fucked off with everything and everyone; Yvonne and Barry petulant; Mr Partridge soused; Sylvia devious; Betty boring; and the ‘Yellowcoat Boys’ downright creepy. Not one of them was happy at garnering the studio audience’s generous plaudits. Not a single one! Sourfaced bastards. Still, it made for a damn sight more interesting sight than the opening titles, wherein Paul Shane’s voice was upstaged by some black and white holiday prints.
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