Thursday, October 11, 2007

Impressionists - why ?

Its been a subject that has puzzled me for the whole of my life - impressionists - why do we have them ?

Especially on big budget TV programmes the like of which were once presented by the BBC on a Saturday evening - back in the olden days when the Saturday 8pm slot was as coveted as a leprechaun's pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, the days when every single variety act in christandom, and some in allah-dom too, fought tooth and nail to get on whatever variety show was on at the time, and there was always a Saturday night prime time show that involved some sort of variety act.

With the huge budgets being bandied around at the time you might expect that the BBC could afford to invite the likes of Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and Ted Heath, or even Eddie Waring onto their 8pm schedules, but unfortunately history will show that instead of an array of real, actual, real life personalities, we had to endure Mike Yarwood.

Mike Yarwood was actually a remarkable man, remarkable in the fact that he managed to survive in show business for so long, and earn so much money in the course of his false career, without being uncovered as a rubbish impressionist years before he actually was uncovered as being a rubbish impressionist.

His impressions, on his own prime time Saturday evening variety show - which attracted huge audiences, once famously beating the premier of a Bond movie which had been deliberately pitched against him on ITV - never left you in any doubt that this was not the actual famous person on TV at all but in fact was Mike Yarwood doing.... whoever ...(usually Eddie Waring or Frank Spencer).

But its not just the hapless Mike Yarwood who was rubbish at impressionism, its the whole genre, huge swathes of impressionists eagerly jumped into the void on Saturday evening TV when Mike Yarwood took the the bottle to ironically make a very convincing tramp, and each and every one of them were equally rubbish, and probably more expensive to the BBC than actually inviting the real person to stand on stage and recite some of their own Mike Yarwood catch phrases in a Mike Yarwood stylee.

The absolute dead giveaway to a rubbish impressionist (ie all of them) is when they have to employ a dialogue between the impressions in order to tell you who they are going to do next, for instance ...

"...and as I'm walking down this country road, who do I see coming in the opposite direction but Frank Spencer..."
{applause}....{turns back to audience and puts on a beret and raincoat, turns around again}
"...oooh Betty, the cats done a whoopsie again..."
{wild appluase and racous laughter from the audience who are being paid to be there}
"...thank you, and now who do I see but, yes, its Harold Wilson..."
{pre-emptory laughter}....{turns back to audience and puts pipe in mouth, turns around again}
" I was saying to Mary at the Brighton conference..."
{gales of canned laughter}
"...thank you, and look now, its Frank Bruno..."
{paid-per-cheer cheers}...{turns back to audience and quickly blacks up and puts on boxing gloves, turns around again}
" yeah, y'know, fank you 'arry, err, y'know, ho,ho,ho..."

Rubbish, the lot of them, possibly working cheaply, or even free to the BBC, but still, there is no excuse.


Anonymous said...

You didn't have to watch it...

When did he die ? ;-)

Dan said...

Here here, I regularly rant about the crapness of impressionists. Monet in particular is rubbish (ho ho).

Spitting image was ok. As were parts of Dead ringers on the radio. But on the whole they are all pants.

Anonymous said...

Whats that all about, on your sidebar? :(

Gary said...

Its "the Broadcast" from Wings "Back to the Egg" album you have to recite it in a very posh voice :)

Anonymous said...

geroff wi ya.