The Benny Hill Show

Season 10 Episode 2

Show 34

0
Aired Unknown Mar 14, 1979 on ITV
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
3 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Show 34
AIRED:
Benny sings the appropriately-titled "Benny's Place." Also featured are a comic look at National Health Service; an evening of Leprechaun Television (including sport with Dickie O'Davies and "Masterbrane"); a high-speed look at married life with Hill and a gold-digging bride; Irish singer Geraldine performs "Casablanca"; Hill's recitation of a poem that was written on a typewriter with a faulty "H" key; "Hot Gossamer" (with Henry McGee impersonating Kenny Everett); and an adventure with elderly superheroine "Wondergran" who battles Count Dracula.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A Not-So-Welcome Turning Point

    7.5
    In hindsight, this episode began the long slow slide downwards for not only the show, but also its star. While there are some good stuff in there -- his "Leprechaun Television" sketch is as definitive as his other TV parodies -- it was with this installment that the show began to be more known for the T&A that wiggled their buns on camera and "danced" on the pole, than for Benny's comedic talents. I am referring, of course, to the "Hot Gossamer" number that was an ostensible parody of Kenny Everett's Hot Gossip troupe (whose choreographer, ironically, had directed the Love Machine's dance numbers on "TBHS" in the past); this is now seen as the gateway to the eventual introduction of the infamous "Hill's Angels." At the time this show first aired, Mr. Hill had just come off two programs that, on their original showings, failed to make the Top Ten in the weekly British TV ratings - and the last of them, from Dec. 26, 1978 (Show #33), barely scraping by in the Top 20. It is not known if the lessons of his Australian "Benny Hill Down Under" special from the previous year (which featured some nudity in one of the sketches, and was the last show up to that point to make the Top Ten), combined with the lackluster performance of those last two shows, contributed to this change in direction; but it sure worked for awhile, as 20.85 million viewers saw it the first time round, pushing it to Number One for the first time since March of 1977. Unfortunately, in the long run this strategy turned out to be a disaster. Benny would only enjoy 2-3 more years of high ratings under this new approach (as opposed to the 8 years, 1969-77, when his comedy was in high gear) before they plummeted to half their previous peak over a two-year period - and more or less stayed there; within a few years of this edition he and his show began to be a lightning rod for radical feminists and other forces of "political correctness" who blamed him for all the evils of the world, leading to a chain of events that culminated in the cancellation of his show a decade later (and, most possibly, his death three years after that). Oh, and did I mention that this was the beginning of Dennis Kirkland's long reign as producer/director, and that his tenure was marked (and marred) by a massive decline in quality and standards, as well as ratings and esteem at home?moreless
Jenny Lee-Wright

Jenny Lee-Wright

Regular Performer (1971-72, 1976-86)

Jack Wright

Jack Wright

Regular Performer (1970-85)

Henry McGee

Henry McGee

Regular Performer (1969-1970, 1971-1989)

Benny Hill

Benny Hill

 

Roger Finch

Roger Finch

Regular Performer (1978-1981)

Patricia Hayes

Patricia Hayes

 

Guest Star

Johnny Vyvyan

Johnny Vyvyan

 

Guest Star

Geraldine

Geraldine

musical guest

Guest Star

Roger Finch

Roger Finch

 

Recurring Role

Sue Upton

Sue Upton

 

Recurring Role

Jenny Westbrook

Jenny Westbrook

 

Recurring Role

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Early on in the opening "Benny's Place" number, one of the dancers drops her silver revolver on the wooden decking flooring where it stays for most of the number. The gun is visible during the sequence where the dancers change places with respect to Benny, and especially in the final crane shot looking down on them at the conclusion.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • ANGELA O'RIPPON (Benny):  Back home, and the River Niffy, the country's most polluted river, today caught fire. Sadly, there was nothing to put it out with. Local firemen improvised.

  • NOTES (10)

    • This episode marks one of the few times the American syndication editors missed a bit of skin in making their cuts for U.S. television. During the Dracula sketch, the Count (Benny) is creeping along the outside wall of a girl's school. He looks up to see a young girl sitting in the window wearing a white bra and panties. She reaches behind her back, undoes her bra and removes it completely baring her breasts for about a second, before she ducks back inside.

    • For Comedy Central's mid-1990's airings of this episode, the first minute of the "Hot Gossamer" routine, Geraldine's "Casablanca" number, and a few quickies were cut.

    • On its original airing, JICTAR ranked this show at Number One for the week, with an audience figure of 20.85 million viewers, which (when adjusted for JICTAR's change in audience measurement from homes viewed to viewers watched nearly two years prior) was the highest rating for The Benny Hill Show since the March 24, 1971 (Show 9) edition. It would also prove to be the highest-rated of all the remaining shows Benny made after the 1977 change in audience measurement. However, according to BBC audience research 19.50 million viewers tuned in, making it the most-watched show on ITV that week.

    • Thames repeated this episode on August 1, 1979.

    • The "Leprechaun Television" sketch contains some quickies that are colour re-makes of quickies that first appeared amongst the three black-and-white episodes from 1970-71. Apparrently, Hill redid these and other sketches over the next several years as Thames decided not to repeat the three monochrome episodes. Hill felt the shows had good material and presumably, this was his way of having them seen again (though not repeated or shown at all in America until the release of the A&E DVD collection Complete & Unadulterated: The Naughty Early Years - Set One: 1969-1971, the three black-and-white episodes HAVE turned up in Australia on UK-TV).

    • This show was taped on February 2, 1979, exactly six years to the day after the recording of Show 16.

    • Though he is not credited in this episode, Nicholas Parsons "appears" as the man in the photo that Wonder Gran holds up in lieu of a stake to repel Dracula.

    • "Hot Gossamer" was a spoof of dance act "Hot Gossip" who appeared on another Thames series, The Kenny Everett Video Show. Ironically, Hot Gossip's choreographer, Arlene Phillips, had previously choreographed the Love Machine who appeared on Hill's show in 1976 and 1977; one of the Hot Gossip dancers, Jane Colthorpe - later to be known as Jane Newman - had also been in the Love Machine; and future Hill's Angel Lorraine Doyle was a dancer in both the Love Machine and Hot Gossip. In his "introduction" of the sketch, Henry McGee impersonates Everett himself. Even more ironically, then-current members of Pan's People (including future Hill's Angels Louise English and Abigail Higgins) were among the dancers in "Hot Gossamer" - and Hot Gossip had been described in one of the Hill biographies as "the antithesis of Pan's People."

      As for the song "Supernature" which was performed in the "Hot Gossamer" number, this club classic was originally recorded by disco artist Cerrone and released in 1977 as Cotillion single #44230 (US)/Atlantic single #K11089 (UK). The song was used for two different dance routines on The Kenny Everett Video Show, on the July 3, 1978 and August 21, 1978 editions. The dance routine which Hill parodied is believed to be derived from a dance segment set to Lou Reed's 1973 hit "Walk on the Wild Side" as broadcast on Everett's July 24, 1978 show.

    • Dennis Kirkland becomes producer/director as of this episode and remains in that post through the end of the run. He previously served on the show as a Floor Manager, Programme Associate (on Shows 16 and 17) and audience "warm-up" man.

    • Patricia Hayes returns to the show for this guest appearance as a favour to Benny, who let her out of a contractual appearance in 1971 to star in "Edna, the Inebriate Woman", for which she won great acclaim.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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