Sunday, 5 April 2009

A Little Nepotism

My son, Michael, yesterday asked me if I would give him and his comedy group a name check in “Life After Mastermind”. His group are called “The Plastic Seat Company” and they are fresh from their triumphant appearance in the Sheffield Comedy Festival. If you’d like to know a bit more about them, then follow this link
Sheffield Comedy Festival - Plastic Seat Company
I’m in favour of nepotism as much as the next man, but it was difficult, I explained, considering that the blog is about quizzes and quizzing. He suggested that if they could come up with their own sketch about a quiz, then this would give them a way in.

I’ll be honest, though, its easier said than done. I’ve done a little bit of amateur scripting myself, some of it for the Plastic Seat Company, and some of it for my friend’s amateur dramatic and music group in Colehill, Dorset. Which reminds me of a huge coincidence. One of my opponents in my first round Mastermind heat in 2007 was a member of this same Am Dram group, and knows my friend KD very well, a fact I didn’t know until much later. However , I digress. As I say, I have written quite a large number of sketches for performance, but have never been able to write one about a quiz, quizzers, or quizzing, despite my obsession.

There have been many sketches about quizzes on television over the years, the majority of them being spoofs and send ups of TV quizzes. My favourite is the much loved Two Ronnies Mastermind sketch, scripted by David Renwick, where Ronnie Corbett played Charlie Smithers – specialist subject – answering the previous question. Mastermind is an obvious target for sending up, and another spoof I remember was an Australian one, on the old Paul Hogan show – called Thick’Ead.Others worthy of mention spring to mind as well. Not the nine O’Clock News was the first show on which Griff Rhys Jones impersonated Bamber Gascoigne, although the show he was hosting was actually HM Prison Challenge (very good, I can give you the full five years’ remission for that ). Not the Nine O'Clock News also gave us “Ask the Family” between the Brainees and the Smawt-Asses, two families both consisting of parents Mr. Giles, Mrs. Serena, and children Julian 16 and Nigel 14, all 4 of whom were quantity surveyors.I don’t know if anyone remembers an old ITV show called “End of Part One”, but that had a notable couple of spoofs in it of shows such as The Generation Game ( The Fat Ladies Embarrassment Game ) and Call My Bluff ( Scrape My Barrel ) These usually hit the target spot on. Then there are the spoof quizzes, like Monty Python’s Spot the Braincell ( I’m offering you a punch in the face ).

I’m sure that many people would say that the finest send up of a quiz show was Dick and Dom’s Ask the Family. The only problem was that it wasn’t supposed to be a send up.

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