1 9 6 2 (UK)
5 x 45 minute episodes
Arthur Askey starred in this fortnightly BBC series (alternating with The Black and White Minstrel Show) with humorist Alan Melville (who also wrote the scripts).
The title was a reference to the spectacles they both wore. The reference extended to the description of the show as “a series of unusual spectacles” – it was an unintentionally apt description for this largely unspectacular and under-rehearsed Sunday evening offering.
The different comedy styles of the pair never really melded. Melville did occasionally display his own speciality – satirical mimicry and impersonations – with poor old Arthur reduced to the position of a feed-man, making constant references to the poor quality of the script (usually a sign that the jokes are running out).
One newspaper at the time likened the show to “a shortcake biscuit dipped too long in a cup of hot and well-stewed tea”.
The regular supporting cast included Pip Hinton, David Kernan, Greta Hamby, Josephine Blake and June Smith. The orchestra was conducted by Harry Rabinowitz.
Guests included Joan Sanderson, Gretchen Franklin, Pat Coombs, Germany’s Kessler Sisters, and Trio Los Paraguayos.