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Following the success of You Must Be Joking, Thames Television children’s producer Roger Price gave Pauline Quirke the starring role in an even more outlandish comedy.
Modelled on The Bay City Rollers, Flintlock inspired similar levels of randy delirium in young girls, as the TV Times discovered when their reporter trailed a gang of stalkers camping outside their houses. (“I think I can safely say that is Mike Holloway’s underwear hanging on the clothesline.”) Price, amused and concerned by the slavish adoration such ordinary lads could command, mined the fandom for subversive giggles.
Sketches included Quirke and Linda Robson buying and selling Flintlock members as slaves, complete with chains and leather accessories (“I’ll ‘ave ‘im!”), and an odd gender reversal number wherein the girls tried to look up the skirt of a cross-dressing Flintlocker climbing a ladder in a library.
Then there was Quirke’s continuing quest to get hold of a rumoured nude poster of the boys, whipping the under-16 female studio audience into a lustful frenzy with the rallying cry “Get ’em off!”
Flintlock did eventually appear nude – albeit with their groins rendered transparent by Chroma keyed swimming trunks, leaving Quirke crestfallen that they had “nothing down there”.
Despite complaints from adult viewers and TV critics, Pauline’s Quirkes continued, in most regions, to the end of the year, introducing Pauline’s all-girl rival group, The Flintarts, throwing themselves at Radio DJs Mike Read and Steve Wright.