Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Josie Lawrence

Josie LawrenceAs I’ve been kicking about the house so much over the past fortnight I’ve made good use of my time (ahem) by catching up on some luxury telly – i.e. allowing myself the time and elasticity to just wander aimlessly through the channels and see what’s out there.

A lot of crap. As expected.

But I have found something of a gem on Channel Dave.

Yes. That’s what I thought. What a thoroughly dismal name for a TV station: Dave. Is there a secret joke that I’m patently not getting? It evokes a TV channel that dunks itself in cold tea, doesn’t shave for days and likes documentaries about road signage and steeplejacks and likes to pick the winnets out of its arse with a pair of nail clippers on a Friday night.

Not somebody I’d normally choose to knock about with.

However, Channel Dave is showing re-runs of Whose Line Is It Anyway? – the ones with Josie Lawrence and Tony Slattery in.

God I used to love this show in the eighties/nineties. It was the kind of show that, for a while, was worth the effort of coming home early from the pub. It had a freshness and badinage to it that was edgy and yet warm at the same time. It was also my first introduction to improv comedy and it was hugely entertaining to see so many comedy minds tested to the full in front of a live studio audience. Performing on their wits. Sometimes failing (but never completely) and sometimes scoring amazing hits.

My favourites were always Tony Slattery and Josie Lawrence. Tony ‘cos he was just dirty and extremely juvenile – the personification of my sense of humour in fact – and Josie was warm, sardonic and an amazing improvisational singer. Oh yeah and amazingly gorgeous and I fancied the pants off her.

A brunette with a sense of humour, see? Just makes me want to roll over and play fetch all day long. At least that’s what I hope the big stick that Karen is waving at me is for…

Anyway it’s gratifying to admit that the re-runs are still making me laugh and Ben seems to be greatly intrigued by them too. The twin ingredients of madcap and slapstick, I suspect, are what are wining him over as opposed to the sultry charms of Josie or the adult wit of Mr Slattery.

It’s a shame these two aren’t on our tellies so much anymore – sure, I know they both pop up here and there and they’re still treading the boards so to speak… and it’s heartening to know that Tony has recovered somewhat from the breakdown that laid him so low in the nineties… but they’re both (in my opinion) overlooked national treasures that the limelight of success has yet to define brightly enough…

They’re amazingly talented and I have to say I’d rather see them on BBC 2 on a Thursday night than the bloody awful Vivienne Vyle. I mean really. Did somebody forget to flush?

Come back Josie – you’re a star!

31 comments:

TimeWarden said...

I remember Josie in "Outside Edge", alongside Timothy Spall, which is one of my Mum's favourite comedies. Last year she was in "The Complete Guide to Parenting" with not-so-ex-"Doctor Who" Peter Davison and she can soon be seen again in a TV adaptation of Dickens' "The Old Curiosity Shop".

Josie is a big fan of "Star Trek", and especially of Patrick Stewart in "The Next Generation". Her favourite episode is "The Inner Light" which is also my favourite and how I come to remember! She's the same age as me although one shouldn't really reveal a lady's age!!

Steve said...

Hi TimeWarden, I seem to recall seeing trailers for "The Complete Guide to Parenting" and having every intention of watching it but somehow never did. Good to know she's a sci-fi fan - that's another box ticked!

per.pri said...

They called that channel 'Dave' because apparently everbody knows someone called Dave. So it is familiar. It is also targeted to the male population since it was decided that us ladies have enough female orientated televisual delights as it is.

Although it isn't half bad.

Steve said...

That makes sense Per.pri - and (rather embarrasingly after my dunking winnets description) I must admit that I do indeed know a Dave. Two in fact. One is my best mate and one is my bro-in-law. It seems the guys who came up with the channel's monicker were right after all. I must point out though that neither Dave (to my knowledge) are prone to pull out bum fluff from their nether-crevices with a nail clipper or any other depilatory device on a Friday night. Or so they tell me anyway...

Old Cheeser said...

Yes that is an ODD name for a channel and your description of the typical "Dave" is spot-on.

So good to know Ms Lawrence is a sci-fi fan, but what about Dr Who eh? Actually I could just see her putting in an excellent character performance in that.

It's rather trivial (not that I ever am) but my fave thing Josie L did was an advert for Munchies (the chocolates) - in which she is reclining on a chaise lounge in a ballgown talking about "pausing in contemplation" whilst looking at one of the aforementioned chocolates. And then in her best Brummie accent she says: "And marvel at the lunacy that inspired someone to call them....Munchies! Well...who was it??" Ace!

Steve said...

God yes - I'd forgotten about the Munchies adverts! I also liked Josie in Enchanted April - one of my fave films; a rather gentle period piece which is great for brightening up dull days.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Yes Josie & Tony were excellent.

I also miss people like Clive Anderson, who was one of best & cleverest interviewers I have ever seen.

I guess 'cos he's not as pretty as the obscene/obscenely overpaid in my opinion, Jonathan Ross, he's been cast out of television.

Though there is that crappy thing known as ageism on television as I covered in this posting on my blog a while ago.

http://thepoetlaura-eate.blogspot.com/2007/07/demographic-bites-back-dont-dumb-down.html

Steve said...

Yes, I rather liked Clive myself - self deprecatingly awkward and yet steely sharp underneath. I got the impression that he didn't suffer fools gladly... good for him, I say! And you're right: he is sadly missed from our television screens! The campaign to bring him, Josie and Tony back starts here!

Annie said...

Thanks for this Steve. I absolutely LOVED "Whose Line.." and have got a book, published in 1989, of the 'Play it at Home' version of the TV series.
I would have enjoyed being a participant of the series, would you? Imagine being a tax inspector interviewing someone about their tax returns in the style of a Spaghetti Western, using the language of Shakespeare? The mind boggles.. "Verily I say to thee, Gringo, I, forsooth, desire a fistful of dollars for Alistair Darling. Fie fie, unknit that threatening unkind brow, are you feeling lucky punk?" (I made this one up, you can probaly tell!)I must look out for this Channel Dave, Steve. Cheers.

TimeWarden said...

"Enchanted April" is a terrific BBC film. I wonder why the corporation seemed to stop funding these Screen One and Screen Two productions? Mike Newell, its director, went on to make "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (poor old Simon Callow!) and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire".

Steve said...

Hi Annie, I must admit I had a secret hankering to be on the show and, in the comfort zone of my own peers, was always pretty good at improvizing scenes and songs... unfortunately out in the real world lack of confidence always stunted my improv abilities... I don't think I would have been much good on the show. Put me in front of a live studio audience and I'd do a damn good impression of a rabbit caught in some headlights!

Steve said...

Hi TimeWarden, it's bizarre isn't it? I'm still hoping they release Enchanted April on DVD - no luck so far though - all I've managed to get hold of is a version on VHS. It's sad that the film isn't better known as there are lots of other class actors in it: Alfred Molina, Miranda Richardson and Jim Broadbent who all play absolute blinders.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Well Charlie Brooker's doing a darn good job of showing us what we've lost/trying to compaign for better telly on his superb Screenwipe series - but yes, let's all form a Decent Telly Militia to bring back all the old presenter greats (who are still alive, obviously!) and inject some new *ideas* rather than just new blood all the time in lieu of ideas - into programming.

If I see another cheap (& probably utterly bogus) quiz show I'll scream!

I don't need a zillion channels of crappy choices - five channels of decent-budget good stuff would do me, which I would struggle to keep up with as it is! Who the hell came up with this idea that we just wanted to serve endless channels of garbage/repeats every night?

Steve said...

I do agree with you, Laura (though with the proviso that not all repeats are garbage) - Karen and I often trawl through the TV guide and are amazed that with 40 odd channels listed there is still eff all on the TV some nights. There's no quality control anymore. TV companies just whack programmes out like sushi on a production line. That one doesn't work? Oh never mind, try this one instead! Five channels of pristine, quality, diverse television would be a world beater in my opinion. Why has nobody thought of it? Because TV channels are quite lucrative I suspect, especially when you can buy old repeats a lot more cheaply than it would cost to make something new...

TimeWarden said...

Have to agree with you, Steve, that not all repeats are garbage. I welcome the fact that, because of the shortfall in revenue from licence fees, the BBC is going to be forced into repeating more drama on BBC One.

I would like to see "Doctor Who" repeated on BBC One, possibly early Sunday evenings the same as "Robin Hood", especially as, ratings wise though not necessarily artistically, "Who" is the more successful. "Spooks", too, deserves a late night repeat other than on BBC Three. The only drama that seems to be regularly repeated on BBC One, these days, is "New Tricks"!

ITV3 is a whole different ballgame. The continual recycling of "Inspector Morse" must wear a bit thin, after a while, even for the most ardent of fans but if you've never seen it then the opportunity is there without having to fork out on a DVD box set. I missed out on the first four ITV Dalgliesh mysteries twenty-odd years ago so am catching up, finally, on 24 very literate episodes of television!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Sorry Steve, didn't mean to sound so scathing re *all* repeats!

Actually ITV3 is my fave channel and just about everything it broadcasts are repeats! I even get up early on Sundays to see all the Upstairs Downstairs episodes I missed due to being 5 when it was first on! And I ADORE Sherlock Holmes and could watch Jeremy Brett until my TV melted too! But again this was a quality programme and quality programmes are always watchable, whereas rubbish is always rubbish and hardly bears enduring the first time round! However 8 hours of back to back Two Ronnies is a little much for me, much though I don't mind the odd Ronnie! I don't see the point of this sort of marathon programming that you need sponsoring to sit through/may well turn you off programmes/entertainers you previously liked!

As for (lots of) TV channels being lucrative I'm not so sure as the digital channels won't be able to charge as much as terrestrial channels to screen ads and the pot of high-paying advertisers, not unlike the pot of money for programme-making can only be stretched so far. Conversely digital channels *do* seem to have ad breaks twice as long as the terrestrial channels (ie you can make dinner as well as a cup of tea while they're on!)

Steve said...

TimeWarden, Laura, I guess that's the trouble with repeats - we all have our "worthy favourites" that we'd be happy to sit through again and again... though they might not be to everybody's taste. Personally I'd love to see Robin Of Sherwood back on the TV, plus the orginal series of Cracker. I'd also like to see The Brittas Empire re-run - it could replace either The Last Of The Summer Wine or Keeping Up Appearances, both of which I loathe. Things like Sapphire And Steele would be good to see again too though I suspect it's horribly dated now. And just to be a bit whimsical - Willo The Wisp! For some reason I could watch that all day.

TimeWarden said...

ITV3 has repeated the original series of "Cracker" a couple of times in the past couple of years and have just finished working their way through the slightly inferior third series for a second time. It's very likely they'll all be shown again in the not too distant future! Hopefully!!

Which is your favourite "Cracker" story, Steve? Mine is "The Big Crunch", ironic in that it's the one immediately after Chris Eccleston has left the series and the first not written by its creator, Jimmy McGovern! I appreciate it's not regarded as the "best", but the guest cast and narrative themes make it that little bit special for me!!

Ricky Tomlinson has just had a quadruple heart bypass and he always struck me as incredibly natural in "Cracker". His best line is when he and his police officers arrive to arrest a rapist only to find him singing in the shower! Ricky pulls back the shower curtain and asks, "Do you take requests?"

Steve said...

My favourite Cracker story was one from the first series - "To Say I Love You". It's amazingly brutal, sad and somehow beautiful all at the same time with amazing performances from Susan Lynch and Andrew Tiernan. All the elements of the story are there too - Beck's rampant antagonism, Billsborough's cool distrust of Fitz and Penhaligon's fascination / frustration with him. It's a wonderfully told story - perfectly paced and pitched with a sense of humour that's a black as black can be. When Susan Lynch starts barking at her sister at the end it's really heartbreaking and you realize that everybody is a victim... I'll be checking out ITV3 more often in future!

Casdok said...

I will have a look out for Dave!

Steve said...

Apparently it's "the home of witty banter" or so the idents tell me! Thanks for dropping by Casdok - hope to see you here again!

han said...

i absolutely love whose line on Dave! i think it might have become a bit of an obsession!!! I have found lots of clips on 'youtube' though and they're all really great! Josie is my favourite!
I'm too young to have watched it the first time round (only 17!) so i'm sooo glad they do repeats! Shows like this aren't worth missing and there is rarely decent comedy on these days - so repeats are all i have to live for!!!!!!!!

Have to say I wouldn't mind watching the 'Outside Edge' sitcom! Hoping for the boxset for christmas but doesn't look like I'll get it!
Josie was also fantastique in the robin hood episode! 'Ducking and Diving' has been my favourite ep ever and I think Josie made it! she made a brilliant 'witch'! extremely funny!!!!!

Apparently josie reglarly appears at the comedy store in London now and I'm hoping to get tickets for when I'm 18!!! I love improv and 'the comedy store players' look so good!

Steve said...

Hi Han, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. You're right about there being too few decent comedy shows on TV these days - the only one with any legs is Have I Got News For You and it's interesting to note that there's a strong improv element on that show too. If you manage to see Josie live I'll be very jealous: I haven't managed it myself yet! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I can remember josie lawrence doing a holiday program in turkey many years ago i thihk for the bbc didnt realy notice her until then.When a fantastic shot of her laying on a sun lounger in a bikini tanning her back then a quick shot from the front she was reading a book then a shot from behind a close up of the quite large and pretty bare soles of her feet. Oh lovely auburn hair colour she had then.Think she still looks great.

Steve said...

Anonymous, you've fair got my mouth watering... wish I'd seen that programme now!

Anonymous said...

Josie is just lovely! Gorgeous, damn sexy, pretty, flirty, damn sexy, wonderful!

I saw her recently on QI and saw her on Dave in Who's line, she hardly looks any different!

God she's fabulous... AND she like Star Trek too!!! Can there be a more perfect lady for a man?
Peter
Liverpool

Steve said...

Peter, you are a man of exquisite taste and I salute you, sir. Pistols at dawn to fight for the right to woo Josie?

Zokko said...

Interviewed by 'The Radio Times' back in the '90's, Josie said her three favourite programmes as a girl were 'Crackerjack', 'Tales Of The Riverbank', and 'Dr.Who'.

Definitely a lady after my own heart!

Steve said...

Indeed, Zokko, women of Josie's calibre are few and far between... what a great Dr Who companion she'd make too!

Anonymous said...

josie is so sexy.. i saw her on whos line and could stop watching her after that.. im 19 in uni and all the guys are into the new hot women of today... so i put on the episode of whos line where josie does the song about the drill and they all think shes hot too....

my uncles roomate used to date her back in the day (lucky bastard!) and said she was always making him laugh...couldnt think of a better woman!

Steve said...

Anonymous, your uncle's roommate is a lucky sod and no mistake. I think Josie has still got it and she could happily tickle my fancy till the cows come home...! ;-)