PHOTO MOMENT: Sheldon’s Catzinga

 

Cats make wonderful companions. They don’t argue or question my intellectual authority.

 

The Big Bang Theory‘s Sheldon Cooper is clearly a cat person. 

I originally shared this image on my Facebook account on the 16th April 2013.

In other news, the Half-Eaten Mind turned 4 yesterday. Happy birthday to us 🙂

IMAGE CREDITS:
a passion for procrastination, Svetlana http://sheldony.tumblr.com/
Sheldon Cooper, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Sheldon-Cooper-23519525029/?fref=photo
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PHOTO MOMENT: Happy Hallowe’en from Bottom’s Richie and Eddie

 

A scene from the Ninetie’s BBC comedy series ‘Bottom’ that starred the late Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson. In the Hallowe’en special, titled “Terror” and first broadcast on the 13th January 1995, scuzzy but hilarious flatmates Eddie Hitler (Edmondson) and Richard Richard (Mayall) decide to go out trick-or-treating to make some extra cash. In the above scene, they dress as a banana and devil to strike fear into the locals. Poor old Richie however falls victim to the laxative effects of an electric cattle prod they plan to use to extort Hammersmith‘s residents for a few spooky pennies. A highly amusing comedy gem that will have you reaching for a fresh new pair of tights in no time.

HAPPY HALLOWE’EN!!

SOURCES:
BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/
Bottom, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/HammersmithHardmen/?fref=nf

MR BEAN: Rowan Atkinson celebrates 25th anniversary of comedy by riding in style

British actor Rowan Atkinson, famous for playing the lovable bumpkin Mr. Bean and many other comedy roles in Blackadder and the Johnny English films, has celebrated the 25th anniversary of the character by taking Mr. Bean’s distinctive green and black Mini for a spin around central London, ITV News reports.

Atkinson, who still was able to effortlessly slip back into character even at the age of 60, took along the 1976 British Leyland Mini 1000 car for a celebratory ride through the roads around Buckingham Palace, the usual home of Queen Elizabeth II. Photographers snapped Atkinson at one point sitting on a drab grey armchair identical to the one featured in the Mr Bean series, which ran from 1990 to 1995 and warmed a nation’s heart to the bumbling and mumbling suit-clad man who went on adventures with his loyal companion, a teddy bear named Teddy. He also oddly enough was seen clutching a mop, one of his character’s ‘tools of the trade’.

Atkinson/Mr. Bean also presented a special cake in the shape of the numbers 25 to reporters outside the front gates of the Palace as part of the fun quarter-century stunt. The comedian also posed with a pyramid of gifts emblazoned with the number 25. His trusty little car got into the spirit too, its flanks marked with the hashtag #MrBean25. 

He also recreated a sketch from the show’s episode ‘Do-It-Yourself Mr Bean’ which first aired on ITV in January 1994. In that scene,  Mr Bean goes to do some shopping in the January sales and hilarity ensues when he lands himself some impressive bargains, namely the armchair, the mop, and several tins of paint. After tying the chair to the Mini’s roof, Mr. Bean stuffs the vehicle with the other things only to find that there was no space for him to get in.

In typical Mr Bean buffoonery, he figures out a way to drive the car remotely while sitting in the chair attached to the roof, surprisingly avoiding splattering himself all over the road while doing so.

Atkinson was said to have relished the chance to reprise the role, which he last reprised for television nearly a decade ago in films like Mr. Bean’s Holiday.  His friend and travel companion Teddy, however, was just glad to get some sleep after tiring out during the fun journey.

The original Mr. Bean sitcom was created and written by Atkinson and Richard Curtis, from a character Atkinson first came up with while studying in the hallowed halls of Oxford University. Atkinson’s creation, famed for his impeccable taste in both suits and facial expressions, was described by the comedian as a ‘child in a grown man’s body’  whose laughs come from the mishaps with other people he always found himself every time he left his humble rented flat in Highbury, in a posh part of north London.

The show proved a ratings success, with one episode attracting 18.74 million viewers in 1991 and won a fleet of international awards. Mr. Bean has been sold in 245 countries and territories worldwide and made appearances in adverts and shows in places as diverse as Norway and Japan.

Mr Bean made his first appearance in 1987 on stage at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Legend had it that Atkinson opted to perform his character in front of the French-language audience at the Montreal festival, despite Atkinson not knowing French. Mr Bean’s wordless humour proved to stand the language barrier, and then his career went global. After the run of the original episodes was finished in 1995, the endearing buffoon ventured into animation and film before Atkinson announced he was ‘retiring’ Mr. Bean in 2012 as he felt being a man-child was a ‘bit sad’.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com
Mr. Bean, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MrBean?fref=nf
“Mr Bean takes his mini for a royal spin for his 25th anniversary” – ITV News/ITV plc (4 September 2015) http://www.itv.com/news/2015-09-04/mr-bean-takes-his-mini-for-a-royal-spin-for-his-25th-anniversary/
“Mr. Bean” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Bean

 

ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES: A tribute to Trigger

with Sunny Atwal (idea contributor)

Today the Half-Eaten Mind has penned a special tribute to the actor who played one of the stalwart characters of the hit Eighties comedy Only Fools and Horses, which has gained a cult following among fans and which is still held up as a memorable example of British comedy.

On Thursday 16th January Roger Lloyd Pack, who played the slow-witted roadsweeper Trigger in Only Fools, passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was aged 69. He was born in north London in 1944. His father, Charles Lloyd Pack was also an actor, and likewise his daughter, Emily Lloyd followed both her father and grandfather into the profession. Co-star David Jason who played the lovable and roguish oddjob trader Del Boy, paid his own tribute to Lloyd Pack, in an interview with BBC News. Jason described his friend and fellow actor as “a very quiet, kind and unassuming actor who was a pleasure to work with“.

Although he played the simple soul of Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, he was a very intelligent man and a very fine actor capable of many roles,” 

I shall remember him with fondness and for all the good times we had together.

Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nicholas Lyndhurst, who played Del Boy’s younger brother Rodney, said he was “so saddened to hear about Roger”.

He was the most accomplished actor and loved by millions. I will miss him greatly.

In addition to appearing in Only Fools and Horses, Lloyd Pack also made appearances in the role of Owen Newitt in the more recent BBC  comedy series The Vicar of Dibley, about the adventures of a female village vicar. He started his acting training at the renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) before making his stage début in the small English town of Northampton. From the stage he moved onto the silver screen, appearing in the crime drama The Avengers during the Sixties. His first significant full TV début came in 1968, when he played a small part in The Magus.

In 1981, Lloyd Pack joined the Only Fools team as the character Colin ‘Trigger’ Ball. Playing the role of a simple-minded but affable street sweeper, Trigger was notorious for continuously calling Rodney by the name ‘Dave’. “If it’s a girl they’re calling her Sigourney after an actress,” he said of Del Boy’s child-to-be. “And if it’s a boy they’re naming him Rodney, after Dave.” Other than Del Boy and Rodney, Trigger was the only character to appear in both the first and last episodes of the comedy series. Though he enjoyed the role and popularity of Trigger, Lloyd Pack found it difficult at times to cope with the fame. In one archived interview, he expressed bemusement about his popularity with audiences particularly with his face being so recognisable in public. People often came up to him in the street and spoke to him slowly, having confused him with Trigger. Lloyd Pack found that an annoying irritation, but he played the role with a heartfelt and sympathetic realism – and many feel he had made it a natural fit.

Lloyd Pack’s last appearance as Trigger was in 2003, when he reprised the role in a one-off Only Fools Christmas special. After the glory days of filming the hit show, which was set in the south London district of Peckham, he went on to star in a theatre rendition of the English playwright William Shakespeare’s plays Richard III and Twelfth Night at the Globe in London.

Trigger was a regular at the Nag’s Head pub in Peckham, along with old mate Del Boy and his long-suffering younger brother Rodney. Though a roadsweeper by trade legally, Trigger also liked to dabble in the illicit side of things, namely petty thefts and handling stolen goods, as well as informal trading over the pub table with a couple of lagers. Very slow-witted but well-meaning, Trigger was notorious for arriving late to jokes told by his mates. Rodney once thought that Trigger got his nickname due to being a hardened criminal in the past, but it later transpired that he got his his nickname from a legendary 1960’s racehorse who was stuffed for display after his demise.

Trigger speaks in a fairly slow, monotone voice, but he is loyal, friendly and kind. However, Trigger’s most noticeable trait is that he is stupid beyond belief, which is a source of much humour in the show, despite his remaining deadly serious in his delivery. Del has often commented on Trigger’s painfully low intelligence; “You could tell the state our school was in; Trigger was head boy.” Another example is in one episode, Del had relationship problems with Raquel and a very bad tooth. Whilst talking about the problems with Raquel, Trigger confused the subjects, advising him to just “get shot of it,” and proceeding to say, “I know what it’s like, you give ’em pet names, I’ve done it, but take my advice, go to the dentist and have it taken out.”

Trigger did not know his father and in all seriousness says “he died a couple of years before I was born” when Rodney asks of his whereabouts in the episode “Ashes to Ashes”. He was brought up by his grandparents, with his grandfather having also been a roadsweeper. When Trigger is pushed by Boycie to say who his mother had written down on the birth cerificate as Trigger’s father Trigger says, reluctantly, “Some soldiers”. Trigger is unsurprisingly not married, although he occasionally mentions past relationships during the series and is seen on a blind date with a woman in the 1988 Christmas special, Dates.

In the episode Heroes and Villains, Trigger wins an award for owning the same broom for 20 years. He reveals that it has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles, but insists it is still the same broom. This has given rise to the expression “Trigger’s broom” (the Ship of Theseus paradox).

On several occasions, however, despite his general stupidity, Trigger has displayed some moments of cleverness, given his smart remarks and rather intelligent way of explaining the situation of his pregnant niece in the episode The Frog’s Legacy.” (from Wikipedia)

In honour of both the actor and the character he became renowned for, the Half-Eaten Mind presents a video gallery of Trigger’s best moments. This is a celebration of Lloyd Pack’s acting prowess and his immense success in not only bringing Trigger to life but the fact that he developed a simple, slightly dubious character from the shadier side of town into a persona who became loved by millions.

While attending a tenants association meeting, Rodney tries to explain to Trigger that his name just is not Dave. Rodney then suddenly finds himself elected vice-chairman.

Del Boy and Trigger at the local pub, talking about ‘charming birds’. Rather than being a hit with the ladies however, Del Boy ends up hitting the bar floor.

Trigger attempts to flog some dodgy suitcase made from “olde English vinyl” to Del Boy over a pub table. Rodney isn’t having it. Also we find out the origins of Trigger’s nickname.

Rodney introduces Trigger to the finer kind of music.

Mike enlists Trigger to discover the name of Del’s baby. Classic comedy starring the late Roger Lloyd-Pack. 
Best known as the lovable Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, Roger Lloyd-Pack, has died aged 69. 

Trigger gets an Indian independence leader confused with an actor who plays him. Trigger at his ‘dopiest’ best.

SOURCES:
“Roger Lloyd Pack, star of Only Fools and Horses, dies aged 69” – BBC News Entertainment and Arts, BBC (16 January 2014) LINK
“Trigger (Only Fools and Horses)” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. LINK
VIDEO CREDITS:
“My Name is Rodney! – Only Fools and Horses – BBC” – BBC Comedy Greats, YouTube GB (29 October 2009) LINK
“Del Boy Falls Through the Bar – Only Fools and Horses – BBC” – BBC Comedy Greats, YouTube GB (25 September 2009) LINK
“Trigger’s Dodgy Briefcases – Only Fools and Horses – BBC” – BBC Worldwide, YouTube GB (7 July 2010) LINK
“Only fools and horses – Mozart” – robthegob1, YouTube GB (21 February 2007) LINK
“If it’s a boy they’re naming him Rodney… – Only Fools and Horses – Series 7 – BBC Comedy Greats” – – BBC Comedy Greats, YouTube GB (17 January 2014) LINK
“Only Fools And Horses – Trigger and Gandhi” – SuperMWake2, YouTube GB (25 September 2011) LINK
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THE BOTTOM LINE: Remembering a great British comedy

Bottom opening title card (c) Wikipedia

Vijay Shah (feature writer & editor)

Sunny Atwal (idea contributor)

In the mid-1990’s while growing up in a modest terraced house in Plaistow, east London, I would sit down after dinner on a Saturday evening and be enamoured by the antics of two hilariously seedy gentleman living in a mucky flat in some God-forsaken part of Hammersmith. Whether it was constantly complaining about their woefully pitiful social and love lives, or booting each other in the crown jewels, this duo of stragglers, Eddie and Richie, left me in stitches with their smutty jokes and slapstick comedy routines. The fact that this programme was simply called “Bottom” gives you an idea of how risqué the comedy featured on it was. Although the condom vending machine skits and numerous whiny complaints about not being able to “do it” may rub some people up the wrong way, I looked beyond the seaside postcard humour and discovered a hallmark example of relatable comedy going ‘back-to-basics’. Nearly two decades after the last episode was aired, I still regard Bottom as one of the finer pieces of modern British televised comedy, something which seems impossible to reproduce now.

Eddie and Richie were lovable rogues. Laddish to the core and brimming with old-school Cockney swagger (but with posher accents), they were easy-ish to relate to, if you were a man that is. If you happened to be a woman, then Bottom was your crash course in how to avoid sweaty-faced bald weirdos begging to buy you a drink in the local, while serenading you with sordid chat-up lines like “That’s a smashing blouse you’re wearing”. They were so close to each other, they seemed almost like a couple – Eddie the perpetually drunk husband, Richie the stay-at-home wife with his constant verbal nonsense and houseproud habits. Every other hour though, marital bliss would be blissfully shattered as they commenced smashing seven shades of faecal matter out of each other. You easily could have thought of them as a pair of “sad desperate plonkers” – crusty societal rejects with a overinflated self-entitlement in the sacred arts of scoring birds and appreciating quintessentially English pursuits – at least in Richie’s case. At the same time, they were too funny and familiar to hate, and the characters grew on you to the point, where you found yourself involuntary quoting lines like ” Okey dokey smokey donkey me old china” while gossiping over the office water cooler.

Ade Edmondson (left) and Rik Mayall (right) as Eddie and Richie in Bottom (c) Wikipedia

After I saw Bottom in my school days (I was surprised my mum even allowed me to watch it at all, but then she would make a good supporting character in there) I moved on and largely forgot about it. Then my friend at work began showing me snippets of episodes he had downloaded onto his iPod and memories of Eddie Elizabeth Hitler and Richard Richard Esq. soon came flooding out faster than Eddie’s vomit post-sneaked-in bottle of cheap Scotch. Last year I managed to get hold of a torrent someone made of the official Bottom DVD boxset…and the rest is history.

SYNOPSIS:

Bottom was a UK comedy television series that was broadcast on terrestrial channel BBC2 from 1991 to 1995. Set in Hammersmith, west London, its main characters were Eddie Hitler (played by Ade Edmondson) and Richard Richard (played by Rik Mayall). Edmondson and Mayall were long-established comedians who had previously appeared in comedy show “The Young Ones” in the early 1980s. Richie and Eddie are two flatmates who live on the dole in a rundown flat above a newsagent’s opposite a kebab shop. 

The programme ran for three series and included a series of live tours of the comedy routine and even a feature film ” Guest House Paradiso “. The show was noted for its nihilistic, chaotic humour and its emphasis on traditional slapstick, with moderately violent and sexual overtones. In 2008, Bottom came at number 45 in a public vote on ‘ Britain’s Best Sitcom’ by the BBC.

Recurring characters:

Here’s a summary of the show for those not familiar with it, as provided by Wikipedia.

Eddie and Richie are two crude, perverted lunatics, with no jobs, very little money and only a filthy flat in Hammersmith (located at “11, Mafeking Parade”) to their name. The two spend their time coming up with desperate schemes to acquire s**, attacking each other violently, and getting into dodgy situations. Bottom is considered the most violent example of britcom, examples of violence include teeth being knocked out, heads crushed in fridge doors, fingers being cut off, penises set on fire, legs being chainsawed off, forks shoved in eyes, pencils forced up noses, poison being drunk, legs broken and faces shoved in campfires.

Richie is a clumsy, pompous dimwit who attempts to make himself out as being much higher in social status than he actually is, and is both deranged and desperate, as well as being obsessed with s**. Eddie, a cheerfully violent drunkard, meanwhile spends his time getting drunk and wasting the dole money and secretly steals Richie’s family heirloom, although he occasionally has moments of demented genius. Eddie’s friends—the gormless Spudgun and Dave Hedgehog—both fear Richie, thinking he’s psychotic. Although the pair sometimes venture out (the most common location being the local pub, the Lamb and Flag), many of the episodes are set simply within the confines of the pair’s squalid flat.

I have watched all the episodes from first to last at least twice now in the past year, and honestly it’s one of the best laughs I have had in years. Bottom was a landmark example of British comedy at its finest…and crudest. Though the jokes seemed smutty and childish at times, they worked with maximum effect. Both me and my mate have always wanted Rik and Ade to start a new series, updated for the 21st century, but it’s a wish which may or may not come true sadly.

The Half-Eaten Mind, in this special tribute article and homage to one of this country’s comic jewels, has put together a YouTube gallery and selection of quotes from some of the best bits and scenes from Bottom. We hope you enjoy these select cuts of fine Nineties’ comedy at its best. You’ll probably laugh so hard, you will end up in Accident and Emergency with a bruised bottom. You have been warned!

Videos are rated 15+ and are the property of the BBC.

The opening credits….(posted by “TelevisionOpenings”)

Richie gets it in the eye, Eddie gets the cold hard (forged) cash – from the third series (posted by cookieoffender)

The Chess Fight!!! (Robert G. Houston)

Bottom – The Hobnob Fight (Robert G. Houston)

Halloween Banana (BBCComedyGreats)

Ritchie falls down stairs making a TV programme (ooosaeed)

Best of BBC show ‘Bottom’ series 3 (Oliver Harper)

[Facing imminent death]

Eddie: You know, I think I might come back as a bra.

Richie: What?

Eddie: Well, all us Buddhists believe in reincarnation.

Richie: When did you become a Buddhist?

Eddie: About 5 seconds ago. And may I say it has completely changed my life!

Richie: But you can’t come back as a bra! That’s just stupid! You have to come back as something organic.

Eddie: All right, all right, I’m only a beginner you know! Errr… all right then, I’ll come back as… ah! Claudia Schiffer! She’s seriously organic!

******

Eddie: That’s it! I’m going to write to my M.P.

Richie: Why?

Eddie: Because I love her!

Richie: [emphatically] Eddie! Tony Blair is a man!

******

Eddie: [reads letter] What’s this? Annual membership to “Barbarella’s Aerobic Fitness Centre”?

Richie: Nothing to do with me.

Eddie: It’s got “Richard Richard” written on it.

Richie: Ah. Er…

Eddie: [reads] “Leotard”?

Richie: Well, er, Eddie, none of us are getting any younger. I just pop along every Wednesday afternoon and firm up.

Eddie: What, you stand at the back of a room full of girls jiggling their bottoms up and down and “firm up”?

******

[both watching a rented video]

Richie: It’s not very sexy, is it?

Eddie: No. I must say, I expected a lot more from “The Furry Honeypot Adventure”.

Richie: I think this is for kids you know Eddie. I think those Hussein brothers saw you coming again. Well, what else did you get?

Eddie: “Big Jugs”

[laughs]

Richie: “Big Jugs”! All right!

[reads box]

Richie: “A history of pottery in the nineteenth century.” Anything else?

Eddie: Well this one’s a sure-fire hit. Look. “Swedish Lesbians in Blackcurrant Jam”.

Richie: Yabba-dabba-doo!

[reads]

Richie: No Eddie, it’s “Swedish Legends in Blackcurrant Jam Making.”

Eddie: Aw, come on, it’s got to be dirty, it says “Swedish”!

******

Eddie: What was your Red Indian name then? “Running Mouth”? “Sitting Down”? “Talking Bollocks”?

Richie: “Dances With The Wind”.

Eddie: That’ll be the curry again.

******

Richie: Haven’t you got through to the Pope yet?

Dave Hedgehog: [looking at telephone directory] “Pope, G.”

Richie: What do you mean, “Pope, G.”? He’s not Pope Gavin is he? He’s Pope John Paul. Look under “Pope, J.P.”!

Dave Hedgehog: J.P. Oh, here he is: “Pope, J.P.” I didn’t know he lived in Twickenham.

******

Richie: Let’s just be economical with the truth, errrm, something, buck, yeah hot young buck.

Eddie: What about badger?

Richie: No, no I’m more a sort of…

Eddie: HEDGHOG!

Richie: No fox! That’s good, no that is good.

Eddie: Stoat!

Richie: Foxy Stoat? Yeah! It’s gotta a ring to it… foxy stoat seeks…

Eddie: Pig!

Richie: Foxy Stoat Seeks Pig! Oh Shut up Eddie!

******

Richie: You know mate, if we ever get through to the other side of this one, if we ever get back to Blighty, I’m really gonna change the way I live… find a piece of land, find a beautiful woman, hell, maybe even raise a few kids

Eddie: Aaaah quit dream’n skip, we’re never going to pull through to the other side of this one

Richie: No you’ve got to dreeeeam Eddie. You’ve got to hold on to the dreeeeeam!

Eddie: Can I ask you a question?

Richie: Shoot from the hip Eddie, that’s always been your style.

Eddie: WHY ARE WE TALKING SUCH COMPLETE AND UTTER BOLLOCKS?

[proceeds to beat Richie]

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SOURCE/IMAGE CREDITS:
“Bottom (TV series)” – Wikipedia LINK
“Section 3: Brainstorm of Content and Classifcation of film” – Ainsley Turton, Media (15 December 2010) LINK
“Bottom (1991–1995) Quotes” IMDb LINK

 

NICKELODEON CLASSICS: Bringing quality children’s television back

CatDog
CatDog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kenan & Kel
Kenan & Kel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Vijay Shah

One of the strongest memories I had in my later childhood and teenage years was spending time after school and on weekends watching the kids’ channel Nickelodeon with my siblings. We spend endless joyful hours laughing and commenting to each other about great programmes like CatDog, Hey Arthur, Doug, Kenan and Kel, Are You Afraid of The Dark? etc. ‘Nick’ as it was known for short, always had the very best in comedies, cartoons and wholesome children’s entertainment, all of which made for quality viewing and memorable childhoods. Who could forget how Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star annoyed the hell out of long-suffering neighbour Squidward Tentacles, or empathising with Doug as he tried to comprehend the complexities of being an elementary school kid, forever yearning after his friend Patty Mayonnaise…and who could forget Kel and his insatiable thirst for brightly coloured orange soda?.

Kenan would pull out a bottle of Chicago’s finest orangeade from the shelves of his employer’s nondescript corner store. Kel would spot that sweet orangey ambrosia and would look like all his Christmases had come at once, complete with goofy facial expression, and then that famous conversation would resound from our TV’s speakers…

KENAN: “Who loves orange soda?”

KEL: “Kel loves orange soda!

KENAN: “Is it true?

KEL: (After a lot of twitching and self-restraint)….”Mmmm-hmmm”…”I do, I do, I DOO-ooo!!!

English: A glass of Barr orangeade (also known...
English: A glass of Barr orangeade (also known as orange soda) and its can (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was Nickelodeon’s great mix of programmes that made me and my siblings crave for more. It was just too addictive, keeping us in the living room for far longer than Mum would have liked. Even she got hooked. But unfortunately, as anyone who tells you about the ‘good old days’ will acknowledge, they just don’t make them like they should anymore. After I moved out for university, I had little time for television and my love affair with old Nick was soon on the wane. Many years later, I was visiting my mum’s house where I was presented with the chance to have a reunion with an old friend, this time with the help of a amply-sized widescreen telly. I could not begin to tell you how disappointed I was with the choice of shows and cartoons that Nickelodeon is now showing. The highlights of that total of 20 minutes or so reunion?. Some boring saccharine cartoon featuring a blue rabbit with an oversized head, and a comedy series called “Fred”. A programme whose main character is a man-child with an annoying squeaky voice. The sort of voice that makes you want to break a few laws were you to encounter said Fred in the flesh. I was shocked. Is this it?. Had Nick really let itself go? Had one of the best things to come out of America since the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles really gone down the (cathode-ray) tubes?. With an air of exasperation, I turned to one of my brothers and asked “What the hell is this crap?“…”What happened to all the shows on here we used to watch?

Apparently from what he told me, Nickelodeon has stopped putting those shows on airplay a while back, and this was the saddened state of affairs that now was once one of the world’s greatest children’s channels (along with Cartoon Network and its Boomerang sidekick). All of the memories of the channel with the orange splash were now just that, memories. Tis’ was a sad day.

Still reeling a little from the shock, I was at work, it was a slow day and I was batting emails back and forth with my colleague and ‘brother-from-another-mother’ Sunny. We were talking about how Nickelodeon had changed to the point of non-recognition. He pitched an idea towards me that would probably would have the Nick execs falling about their chairs with incredulity at not thinking about that gem of an idea beforehand.

Nick Logo used from November 5, 1998 - Februar...

The logo used by Nickelodeon when I was watching it (circa 1998-2003)

Sunny’s idea was simple but smart. As the current Nickelodeon has pulled down its target audience by a notch of five or so years and neglected the over-12’s, why not launch a new channel to accompany the current channel and the toddler-friendly Nick Jr.? Sunny suggested to me that it could be called Nickelodeon Classics or “Nick Classics” for short. A TV channel, available for free on Sky or whatever, just as the other Nick outlets are, but with this channel, we will be bringing back all of the old Nick favourites that I and him, and countless millions of other children and nostalgic adults grew up with. Instead of begging a box-set of Kenan and Kel off a mate, or watching poor-quality mobile videos of the episodes on YouTube, or bursting into tears of grief every time you see a recycled Spongebob meme circulating from five different fan pages on Facebook, you could see the actual programmes in their original glory on a niche channel dedicated especially to them.

Lots of other digital channels have their versions specifically devoted to classic television. The channel Dave received huge amounts of success and increased ratings when it aired the entire series of Red Dwarf last year. Challenge, which broadcasts on both paid satellite digital and Freeview/Freesat, has built a formidable reputation on showing re-runs of classic game shows such as Catchphrase and The Crystal Maze which had long disappeared from the airwaves of what was then terrestrial television pre-digital switchover.

It would make good economic sense too for Nick Inc., being as it is that money makes the world go round and gives a reason for television executives bother to turn up to the boardroom at all. All those older children and young adults who presumably left in droves after Nick changed its scheduling and exiled poor old Kel to a life sentence in the archive room, would return like prodigal sons and daughters. Nick would reach out to a wider demographic, and with an extra channel, they would have more advertising revenue enabling them to re-licence any classic programmes that had been sold off to other broadcasters in the Great Clearout of Decent Television. In turn they would retain bigger returns which can be incorporated into their budget for newer cartoons, comic series etc. That means the other parts of Nick International (and their audiences) can also reap the rewards.

Squidward Tentacles
Squidward Tentacles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Squidward Tentacles Esq. of Bikini Bottom – someone who’s not pleased with being relegated to televisual history.

Even now, the Nick channel today has some great programmes on show, iCarly being a slightly more intelligent example, but I can’t see how shutting off a large chunk of older viewers makes any sort of business sense. Maybe Nick has revenue problems, maybe they thought older kids had better things to do, like sexting each other or making Harlem Shake videos. But I have a dream. A dream that maybe one day I can sit down with my family or mates, turn on the TV and once again see Kel push Kenan’s dad to the brink of yet another heart attack, or sit wondering why on earth Spongebob’s snail Gary mews like a cat, or how his pineapple house still keeps its shape while enduring the square-trousered one’s nautical nonsense under the sea.

Many thanks to Sunny Atwal for suggesting today’s article.

KENAN & KEL OPENING CREDITS

BEST SPONGEBOB MOMENT COMPILATION

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