Monday, November 19, 2007


I consider the "Time Crash" episode of 'Doctor Who' to be canon; it adhered to the mythology of its parent series. However, there were a couple of other visits to TV shows during the 'Children In Need' telethon that I would relegate to Skitlandia, the sketch comedy dimension of the TV Universe.

There were of course some shows which just "donated" some of their stars to come out on stage and sing (or in the horrible case of the 'HollyOaks' boys, lip-synch) or to be presenters, like 'Holby City'.

But others provided filmed bits that would have to be relegated to Skitlandia to become the representatives of the original shows there. (Or, in the case of the 'EastEnders' musical number, add to its already existing collection.)

The 'Hotel Babylon' sketch was reminiscent of the "crossover" between 'Alias' and 'Columbo' during the celebration for ABC's fiftieth anniversary. It used the original actors, on established sets, but it was all played for laughs.

The segment featured the cast of 'Hotel Babylon' as they awaited the new manager of the hotel. And this is why the segment now resides in Skitlandia: the new manager was Sybil Fawlty of 'Fawlty Towers'!

Sybil proceed to sack the established staff (Charlie Edwards, Tony Casemore, Anna Thornton-Wilton, etc.) and replaced them with her hand-picked choices - all from classic TV sitcoms like hers:

Captain Peacock of 'Are you Being Served?'
Yvette Carte-Blanche from 'Allo! Allo!' (A bit of time-travel there?)
Dorian Green from 'Birds Of A Feather'
Ted Bovis, back from Camp Maplins in 'Hi-De-Hi'
June Medford of 'Terry And June'
(Although I would have preferred seeing June Whitfield as Edina's mother from 'Absolutely Fabulous'.)

I've been looking for a video of the sketch online, and the nearest I came had already seen it removed from YouTube. The 'Children in Need' website offers it for a limited time, but only to visitors from the UK, apparently.

But I did find this archeaological treasure of a frame grab:
For the contribution from 'Robin Hood', the scene took us back to Nottingham Castle in 1192, just after tea-time. Maid Marian bravely faced off against Guy of Gisbourne to save the life of one whom she loved. And the object of their contention?

Pudsey, the bandaged yellow teddy bear who's the mascot/symbol of the Children in Need cause.

Within the context of Toobworld, Pudsey must have fallen through a time warp from 2007. And in Skitlandia, Maid Marian held the power of serlinguism - able to talk through the dimensional veil to the audience at home in the Trueniverse.

This latest edition of 'Robin Hood' doesn't even appear in Earth Prime-Time, by the way. It had to be shipped off to some alternate dimension - like the Michael Praed and Dick Gautier versions before it - because the 'Robin Hood' of Toobworld is the 1950s version starring Richard Greene.

Even so, there is only one Skitlandia - no matter from what dimension a sketch is spoofing a show, it ends up in the same world. The splainin for changes in appearance in particular characters who are popular in comedy sketches - American Presidents, for example - is that the DNA for Skitlandians is highly unstable and malleable. But that's over-analyzing what are just comic goofs all dumped into the same world.....

From 'Robin Hood' -
Guy of Gisbourne, Maid Marian... and Pudsey

The cast of 'EastEnders' revisited the Beatles to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was about nine minutes worth of the various residents near Albert Square to sing various numbers while acting out 1960s psychedelic fantasies. Not only does it belong in Skitlandia, but I think they may have been visited by the musical demon Mr. Sweet from 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'!
See it

And then there was a blipvert featuring the cast from the 'Life On Mars' sequel, 'Ashes To Ashes'. (I haven't seen this yet, as it won't be coming to BBC-America for a bit, so I can't say for certain it was supposed to be taking place after 'Ashes To Ashes'. I recognized the three blokes, including the great Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt, but I know the black girl in the car wasn't in the original series.)

The Gene Genie subjected the poor girl to a lot of white-knuckle driving through Manchester, although his two detectives in the back seat didn't seem to mind; they were used to it. And then he pulled over to hit up other drivers to make a donation into his Children in Need bucket. Once again, a time warp was involved, but it looks like Gene Hunt and his compatriots were catapulted forward into the present of Skitlandia from their past in the 1980s.

You can catch the blipvert here:

And so it goes. The telethon raised more than 19 million pounds for the Children in Need charity, so those sketches went a long way in drumming up the pledges.

Toby OB

1 comment:

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Sorry to hear they ripped the sketch off of YouTube--I would have liked to have seen that.