When producer/director David Bell defected to L.W.T. in 1972, star Stanley Baxter followed suit. 'Picture' had a brief run ( only four episodes were made ) but provided the Scottish comedian with the launching pad for those spectacular one-hour shows for which he is best remembered. It comprised spoofs of popular television shows of the day such as 'Whicker's World', 'Braden's Week', 'Cinema' and 'The Benny Hill Show' - all were sent up something rotten.
'Scars On Sunday', to give an example, had Stanley as 'Jest Fate', an accurate lampoon of the late Jess 'Bishop' Yates. The same sketch featured Stanley as Eartha Kitt and Harry Secombe! 'Elfin Nolan - Supertramp' was an effective mickey-take of portentous rock documentaries such as those directed by Tony Palmer. Any resemblance between the character and the late Marc Bolan was presumably coincidental.
'Peculiar Girl' had Stanley as Barbra Streisand from the film 'Funny Girl'. Miming to 'Don't Reign On My Parade', Stanley was to be seen hijacking a bus, riding various forms of transport ( such as a penny farthing bicycle, tricycle and roller skates ) and zooming over London on a broomstick.
Stanley had strong support from the brilliant writer Ken Hoare and director David Bell. But Stanley's genius remains undiminished with the passage of time. Watch and marvel that comedy of this calibre ever got made, much less transmitted.
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