Sunday, August 5, 2018

brothers in arms.

Just woke up (well not literally, I mean I've been awake for hours what I just typed was a figure of speech to set the scene but hopefully you knew that) to the news that top children's entertainer and scourge of the left wing Barry Chuckle has died.

This reminded me that over a decade ago (yes I've been blogging in undeniable obscurity for that long - tragic I know) I wrote a rather nice piece about the brothers celebrating twenty years as Britain's premiere comedy duo.

Many folk (well two) found it vaguely amusing so I thought I'd re-post it now (with some added stuff so you don't feel cheated) as a tribute.


Twin brothers Barry (born 24 December 1843) and Paul Von Chuckle (born 18 October 1870) were abandoned by their parents in the forests of Lithuania when it was discovered that they suffered from a rare form of Lycanthropy that caused them to be born with a full head of thick, spiky brown hair, mustaches and mullets.

The earliest existing photo of Paul and
Barry Von Chuckle, aged 3.

Saved from certain death and raised by a passing band of cannibalistic circus gypsies, the brothers were versed in the dark and ancient rites of 'knockabout comedy', entertaining the crown heads of Europe until a fateful night in 1907 when they found themselves shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland after a particularly violent storm.

Left penniless and homeless (but not mustache-less) the brothers survived the only way they knew how, desecrating graves and feasting on the flesh of corpses, absorbing the very essence of the recently deceased bodies before pawning their rings.

A rare (colourised) photo of the brothers parents, Lord Hailstrom and Lady Vindictiva Von Chuckle, Duisberg 1867.

It was during one such graveyard excursion that they discovered tickets to the ITV talent show New Faces in the jacket pocket of a murdered country singer - Wailin' Wayne Wilton and after consuming the singers face the brothers stole the tickets and decided to audition.

It came as a surprise to audiences and contestants alike when the duo won the series in 1974 after the bookies favourite, Wee Charlie Hadcock (an Edinburgh-based ventriloquist suffering from leprosy whose catchphrase "moldy bread!" had taken the nation by storm at the time) was found dead in his dressing room with his throat ripped out.

The last known photo of
Wee Charlie Hadcock.

The boys should have been catapulted to stardom had it not been for a terrifying incident during the final curtain call where the full moon like shape of the arc lights coupled with the over excited pheromones of fellow contestant Marti Caine caused the brothers to revert to their true form...that of giant humanoid dog-like creatures (with mullets) and attack the audience.

This incident went on to be known as the great Teddington terror and for many years became a favourite staple of the Dennis Norden gaffs 'n' gashes compilation show It'll Be Alright On The Night as well as inspiring the little seen 1978 Hindi horror classic Darwaza.

Grade: pseudo-sexual

Luckily too much bloodshed was avoided when one of Caine's fellow judges, Lord Lew Grade managed to calm the brothers by singing an old Lithuanian lullaby in his native tongue before subduing them with his silver topped walking stick and whisking them away to a top secret research facility hidden beneath Pinewood studios.

What happened to Paul and Barry in the intervening ten years is difficult to know, rumour has it that Grade spent millions trying to harness their sheer animalistic entertainment talent (and luxurious hair length) to create a new race of Teevee personality (ex Magpie frontman Mick Robertson was discovered to be part of this breeding programme), this would explain the sightings of large wolf-like beasts reported around the studio's in the mid seventies and the excessive amounts of missing persons the police have on file for the Pinewood area at the time.

Mick Robertson, Algarve 1978.

The brothers would have become a footnote in history had it not been for the efforts of world renowned animal expert and geneticist Rod Hull, who in late 1984, launched a daring raid on the studio to free Paul and Barry and offer them a lucrative BBC contract.

The mission (codenamed: Entertainment Express) did not go smoothly however, a spy in the ranks meant that Grades crack ITC elite were waiting for them, mortally wounding funnyman Peter Glaze. and had it not been for the sacrifice of Bernie Clifton's ostrich Oswald there would have been many more casualties.

Clifton and Oswald shortly before

the raid that would claim his life.

The story tho' had a happy ending (and a new beginning) for the Chuckle Brothers, thanks to the help and guidance of Hull and Barbara Woodhouse, Paul and Barry launched themselves onto our Teevee screens in 1985 with the spectacular Chucklehounds, a series of short shows (usualy featuring the brothers attempting to move pianos for pensioners) with no dialogue aimed at a pre-school  (and post pub) audience.

"To me to yooooooooooo!" The Chucklehounds attempt to move a piano.

The viewing public, caught up in the excitement of the show failed to realise that the brothers were not, in fact wearing costumes but still trapped in their Vulpine form and tho' ratings were high the duo were kept away from public appearances for fear that they may eat the children.

Pyke: Five fingers, never touched the sides.

In 1986 however a breakthru' occurred when famous Doctor of Scientific things, Magnus Pyke discovered that an enzyme secreted from the brother's forebrain - usually found at the ballooning end of the neural tube and located most rostrally (toward the nose) was the cause of their affliction.

In an average human the caudal end of this ballooning portion is the rhombencephalon (4th ventricle), the middle part of the balloon is the mesencephelon, and the anterior part of the balloon is the proencephelon/forebrain but in the brothers case it was discovered that the  proencephalon was divided by the ballooning inwards - rather than out.

Further studies showed that the telencephalic vesicles could be used to ferment a change in their physiognomy, returning them to their 'human' form permanently.

But you all probably knew that.

The procedure was a success and the brothers, with the the last vestige of their wolf form, razor sharp incisors cunningly hidden behind bushy moustaches quickly moved on to their most famous show, Chuckle Vision in 1987 and, with catchphrases such as "To me....To you!", "Fancy a spin in me motor?" and "Ooooh....he's a suave bugger!" the show was an overnight hit bringing in over 19 million viewers.

Suave buggers indeed!

There was nothing to stop the brothers now, wining the BAFTA for best children's series and launching the quiz 'To Me, To You', the basic format of which was deceptively cunning; involving as it did two teams, competing each round for prizes on a morticians trolley (albeit with a fake corpse attached). By rolling a dice carved from human bone the teams had to get the trolley to their end of the board. The 'squares' leading up to their end of the board often represented dangerous challenges such as piranha pools, quick lime pits and gun emplacements manned by ex-Soviet special forces.

The rounds ended when this was achieved and new prizes were put on the trolley, which was reset to the centre with a cry of "Oh how fortitude doth forgive the foolish!" delivered by a cage of lank-haired homeless ex- bus conductors.

The show lasted for three series before being banned under the UN war crimes committee.

"But who will help me with this piano?" Tensions run high as the UN arrest the brothers.

The brothers were soon acquitted of any wrong doing blaming co-host Dave Lee Travis for the numerous violations of human rights on show, even going as far as to give evidence against the so-called 'Human Cornflake at The Hague despite death threats from a sinister cabal of showbiz luminaries led by Jimmy's Savile and Krankie.

It was during the final day of the trial when the brothers escaped death for a third time (after the Scottish shipwreck and an ill-advised summer season in Weston Super Mare obviously) when comedy superstar Billy Pearce - brainwashed by Travis and high on Tizer - attempted to attack the courtroom with stinkbombs given away free with that weeks Whizzer And Chips comic.

Luckily Three of A Kind star and ex-SAS sergeant David Copperfield was present, managing to wrestle the bombs before they could be used, diffusing the smell by lying on top of them therefore allowing his brand new Arran sweater to soak up the stench whilst armed guards cleared the area.

Pearce: Hypnotized.

 Thanks to a massive multi-agency operation the evil cabal was eventually broken up allowing the brothers to return to their second love (their first being grave robbing) appearing on stage almost constantly throughout the rest of year as they toured with their semi-autobiographical show "'Boiled Onions and Bangers" across the UK.

And it was the success of the show that led to the brothers to concentrate more on stage than TV as over the next 18 months they premiered over a thousand new shows including  The Erotic Adventures of the Chuckle Brothers, The Chuckle Brothers in - Trouble at Sea, Raiders of the Lost Bark, Barry Potty and his Smarter Brother Paul in the Chamber of Horrors, The Chuckle Brothers meet Pol Pot, Star Doors, Pirates of the River Rother, Doctor What and The Return Of The Garlics, Spooky Goings On, Spooky Goings On 2: Prayer of the Crack Ho's and their biggest success to date the fantastic plea for peace in the Middle East Chuckling All The Way To The West Bank.

But all this success couldn't save Barry from the nightmares and flashbacks caused by his experiences with the showbiz terrorist group that tried to kill him.

And it would be these fears that would almost cause the brothers career to come crashing down around them as when researching a new show about an overweight feminist set on a 70s council estate - the controversially titled "Lip Up Fatty" that Barry was drawn into the world of fringe British politics, posting threads on Facebook regarding the banning of Foreign-made Spoons and bringing back the death penalty for the use of canned laughter during the recording of sitcoms.

Paul desperate to save not only his brothers sanity but a lucrative marketing deal that had just been signed with chemical giants Glaxo hatched a plan to kidnap his brother andtake him back to the wilds of Scotland to recover.

And this he did, leaving British TV and theatre bereft of any mustache-based monkey business for almost a decade.

But as suddenly as they'd vanished they returned with the news that after a massive bidding war (and at the cost of over 20,000 lives, mainly in marketing so no loss really) that The pair had signed a massive multi-million pound contract with well-respected arts broadcasters Channel Five to produce an in no way derivative (yet still hilarious) clip show cleverly titled Chuckle Time (with The Chuckle Brothers.

Harry Hill was unavailable for comment.

As was Lisa Riley.

Tho' that might be because the restraining order is still in force.

Riley: Twice.

But let's forget all the Dodgy politics and even dodgier fashion choices and just remember The brothers as they would have wanted.

As comedies (elder) gods.

And with this quote from their management when The Huffington Post asked for a statement on the rise of the right in the UK:

Barry Chuckle - (born 24 December 1843 - died 5 August 2018)

No comments: