They really were the greatest animals in the land. Captain Beaky and his band (from left to right: Timid Toad, Reckless Rat, Artful Owl, Batty Bat) were immortalised in verse by Jeremy ‘Allo ‘Allo’ Lloyd, set to music by Jim Parker (whose recent Ground Force theme bears more than a passing resemblance) and recited by Keith ‘Henry VIII’ Michell. Lloyd’s doggerel tales of anthropomorphic derring-do, Parker’s military pomp and Michell’s deliberate, actorly relishing of the juiciest rhymes (‘Owl’s idea, the clever feller/to have a flying um-ba-rella . . . ’) secured a number five chart position. A second single, two albums and a BBC2 series followed in short order, detailing the further adventures of Beaky and nemesis Hissing Sid, plus a whole menagerie of zoological chums. Michell was helped out in the reciting department by the likes of Twiggy, Harry Secombe, Penelope Keith, Peter Sellers, Petula Clark, Noel Edmonds and, naturally, Peter ‘Me and My Girl’ Skellern.