Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy. This column appears in the South Wales Evening Post, Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star. Website – www.philevans.co.uk
“Meet The Gang, ’Cos The Boys Are Here.
The Boys To Entertain You!”
Many readers will recognise the song that opened all 56 episodes of the BBC sitcom “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum!”.
It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and based on their wartime experiences with army concert parties in Burma and India.
It’s hard making people laugh in comedy clubs. How tough must it have been with gunfire and explosions close by?
One of the stars of the series, Windsor Davies, sadly passed away recently, aged 88.
His character in the sitcom, Battery Sergeant Major Bryn Williams, was truly memorable.
Viewers roared with laughter whenever he loudly voiced his disapproval of the hopeless entertainers in uniform – a motley crew he constantly failed to discipline into a fighting force.
The Sgt Major was always troubled by Bombardier ‘Gloria’ Beaumont, played by Melvyn Hayes, and ‘Mister Lah-Dee-Dah’ Gunner Graham, played by John Clegg.
The series ran from 1974 to 1981 and had regular audiences of 17 million! I’d better repeat that in capital letters – 17 MILLION!
Last Christmas, BBC bosses were delighted when “Call The Midwife” was watched by 9 million!
Times have changed and the BBC refuse to repeat “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” because they say it’s racist.
Although Perry and Croft denied these accusations, their protestations that the Indian characters always outwitted the ‘idiotic’ British officers were stifled by the BBC, who couldbe accused of hypocrisy.
Because not only are they happy to make money from a series they disdain – every episode is available on BBC DVD – the Gold channel, part-owned by the BBC, often repeats another Perry and Croft comedy classic “Are You Being Served?”
The sitcom features thinly-disguised innuendo about Mrs. Slocombe’s cat; the outrageously camp Mister Humphries; and ‘Young’ Mister Grace, a man so ancient he’s helped around by a busty young blonde nurse.
So that’s okay then!
In view of the BBC’s refusal to repeat “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum!”, I’ve rewritten the opening song…
“You Can’t Meet The Gang, ’Cos The Boys Aren’t Here.
They’re Not Allowed To Entertain You!”
They do say that travel broadens the mind.
It has its benefits no doubt – and for those that are blessed with the ability to get about and see the word, life can be enhanced in so many ways.
For me, travel takes me away from the day to day challenges, pressure of work and constant demands that many of us face, in this fast-paced world that we now live in.
I’m lucky to have work-related activities that allow me to travel.
Time away often gives me a chance to think and reflect – a welcome opportunity to clear my head and process the important things in life.
At times like this I find that I’m at my creative best.
Possibly because I have an opportunity to watch and observe other people and cultures, which over the years has provided me with some truly inspirational writing and comedy gold.
Yes, this is me watching you. Another blessing.
By the way – I’m not keen on camping. Let’s face it, life can be hard enough as it is!
You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales and www.philevans.co.uk