1 9 9 0 – 1 9 9 3 (UK)
27 x 30 minute episodes
A sort of Fawlty Towers for children, this kids sitcom from the BBC was set in the titular seaside hotel, a wacky establishment run by two incompetent managers (the acrobatic double-act of Alan Heap and Mick Wall) and with a resident family, The Gristles – Dad (Victor), Mum (Vera) and son Eustace – who were Spitting Image style puppets.
Other latex puppet characters included a pair of mice called Morty and Myrtle, and Hog and Bear, two talking animal heads mounted as stuffed trophies above the fireplace in the hotel reception.
Much of what Heap and Wall did was pure vaudeville (eg: suitcases appeared to be filled with heavy bricks or lead bars whenever Heap attempted to lift them but were feather-light for Wall).
Debuting on Thursday 15 February 1990, episodes aired in February and March of 1990, 1991 and 1992 and August and September 1993 on Thursday afternoons on BBC1. The series was written by Andy Walker.
The vile Gristle family earned their own nine-part BBC series – The House of Gristle – in 1994.
Mick Wall passed away on 18 October 2017, aged 64. In recent years, he had suffered from repeated bouts of illness and disability which culminated in his death.
Victor Gristle (voice)
Vera Gristle (voice)
Eustace Gristle (voice)