GANGLING BRUMMIE rhyming raconteur turned Sun-bashing satire-peddling small screen chieftain JASPER “BOB DAVIES” CARROTT first cleared his throat as far as most of the country was concerned with ‘Funky Moped’ in 1975. Then it was but a deft flick of a newspaper cutting before televised concerts and one-off specials, characterised by the likes of The Nutter on the Bus, I’ve Got This Mole, Australian Durex (“I’d like to see his Christmas presents!”) and The Hangman Song, led to Carrott del Sol: a bizarre semi-improvised tale of package holiday hi-jinks co-starring Davros and Mr C off Hollyoaks. More substantial was …LIB, where, now comfortably settled on the Beeb, Jasp delivered topical material atop a chrome stool, while a loose rep of supporting players (including NICK WILTON, THE OBLIVION BOYS and DEBBIE “LES GIRLS” BISHOP) acted out sketches and stood in a line delivering headline-based gags to camera in a section at the beginning which never really worked. Regular whipping boys included Milton Keynes, The Sun, the Ronco corporation, “pseudo-intellectuals” in corduroy trousers, and, of course, the Reliant Robin. A long-running quest to find something bitingly satirical to say about John Selwyn Gummer came up with the line “John Selwyn Gummer… is a bummer!” Then after further gigging came …CONFIDENTIAL, much the same format but with two main differences: the opening credits consisted of Jasper walking through the corridors of TV Centre to his stool, bypassing various sight gags relating to the week’s news, while an old Status Quo record played in the background (weirdly, top pop Tory ELO’s Bev Bevan was “music consultant” on the show). There was also a parody of a current advert, usually consisting of the original ad with “hilarious” footage of Carrott edited in. In 1990 the show morphed into the less than sparkling Canned Carrott, with Punt and Dennis and iffy Sweeney parody The Detectives with Robert Powell. Jasp’s bit on the side, Celador, then hit the big time with Who Wants to be a Millionaire and he unsurprisingly buggered off into semi-retirement. Continued to essay forth, always unwisely, in everything from dire ad-based clip shows to “handicap friendly” sitcoms.Read More
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Your classic BBC4 subject, this, the history of the Post Office, fronted by surely its most famous former employee. The postman’s lot is not as interesting as it used to be, given half the stuff they used to deliver is no longer required, and they don’t turn up until lunchtime these days either, but Alan spends enough time reflecting on the romance of the mail train and exploring the subterranean world that helped get the mail through in its imperial phase.
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