Category Archives: video

The Greatest Show on Legs wearing Clockwork Orange noses for Dave Lee Travis’ Manfred Mann clown video

A couple of days ago, comedian Martin Soan was staying at my home and showed me a 1985 BBC TV clip he had found on YouTube in which DJ Dave Lee Travis introduced a BBC-specially-shot video for Manfred Mann’s 1966 song Ha Ha Said The Clown featuring The Greatest Show on Legs – Martin Soan, Malcolm Hardee and (as the clown) Steve Bowditch. You can see it HERE.

Steve Bowditch told me “I remember the director saying to Malcolm We need someone to be the clown and Malcolm said Bowditch can laugh... so I laughed and he gave me the job!”

“We never met Dave Lee Travis,” Martin told me. “All three of us went up to Birmingham. It was done in-house by the BBC. They gave it to young… they weren’t producers… Maybe they were trainees. They all had to put in ideas for pop videos and then a director shot it with a crew of about 20.

“I think it took three days to shoot. After two days, they’d done with Steve and Malcolm but I had to spend another day doing stuff in toilets and things like that.

“Toilets?” I asked.

“Toilets,” repeated Martin.

Clowning around on the sofa

Clowning around on the sofa – but Martin was being polite

“Steve and I had to get on top of the girl on the sofa. I did it very politely and got it out of the way within a couple of minutes. Bowditch then had to lie on top of her dressed as the clown and he took about three hours lying on top of her for that shot.”

“I was a bit dubious about the noses,” I said. “I seem to remember the rapists in Clockwork Orange wore those sort of noses.”

“I think President Reagan originally had Clockwork Orange eyebrows as well,” said Martin. “I’m not quite sure what they were trying to say. But the bit I remember most was where Steve, the girl and Malcolm marched across the screen.

“The director said: I just want you to go One-Two… One-Two… One-Two… Turn… One-Two… One-Two… One-Two…

Malcolm Hardee was completely out of step

Malcolm Hardee completely out of step with everyone

“When they did it, Malcolm was completely out of step. In the first direction, he was kicking the girl’s heels, then they turned round and he was treading on her feet. He was unintentionally completely out of kilter with absolutely everything. I was laughing and the director was looking horrified.

“They did it and Malcolm went: Alright! Oy! Oy! In the can! One-take Hardee! Stick a cheque in the post! and walked off, leaving everyone open-mouthed it was so bad… and then they all broke out laughing.

“I don’t think they attempted to do it again because I guess they thought: No… No… We could spend too much time on this.”

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Yesterday, I watched a pop video being recorded with a unicorn and a horned cow for an Edinburgh comedy show

Filming the energetic video yesterday in London

Filming Juliette’s energetic video in London yesterday

“Last time you blogged about me,” comedy performer Juliette Burton said last night, “it was about my mental health problems. I have hallucinated many a thing, but I don’t think I’ve hallucinated anything as enjoyable as today. All my time travelling and everything – This was much more fun today.”

I had just spent eleven hours at Tour De Force studios in London, watching Juliette record a pop video Dreamers (When I Grow Up) to promote her When I Grow Up show at the forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe.

She met video director Daniel Waterman of Carse & Waterman at the LOCO Kickstart Your Comedy Career course in January and, as I understand it, just enthused him.

Juliette is very big on enthusing people; Carse & Waterman are very big on CGI and animation.

“This is like a live-action cartoon,” I said to Daniel Waterman during the shoot yesterday. “You’ve got a seawoman, a unicorn and a cow of indeterminate sexuality dancing in what I think is a retro video game set.”

“I’m trying to make it as broad as possible,” said Daniel, who wore a horse’s head at one point, but no shoes.

“I’m not convinced Francis Ford Coppola directed The Godfather this way,” I told him. “And why no shoes?”

“So I can walk around on the green screen,” he told me.

“It’s blue,” I pointed out.

Daniel Waterman directs Junliette and a hermaphrodite cow

Daniel Waterman directs Juliette and a hermaphrodite cow

“Yes it is,” he agreed and blithely continued: “Doing what we normally do in CGI, it’s very easy to make everything look very clean and digital, but I wanted this video to be very physical and feel real. We do a lot of CGI and I wanted to merge the two together in this.”

“Fran Burgoyne, the girl playing the unicorn,” I said, “has been making occasional miaowing sounds all morning.”

“She thought she was going to be a cat,” Juliette explained, “but, when she arrived this morning, she found she had a unicorn costume.”

After the video shoot was completed, I asked Juliette what she felt.

“Being up at 4.00am this morning was quite a jolt to the system,” she said.

“Well you’re certainly getting ahead in publicising your Edinburgh show,” I said.

The downloadable Dreamers song

The downloadable Dreamers song is on iTunes & Amazon

“Yes, you can download the Dreamers song from Amazon and iTunes now,” said Juliette in full promotion mode. And, up to and including the Edinburgh Fringe, all the money we raise will be going to Children In Need.

“We’ve been told by a couple of people on Facebook who have played the song to their children when they were having tantrums that it has this mesmerising effect and calms the kids down – they just shut up and start smiling. So it sounds like it’s ideal for problem-plagued mothers having trouble with children going through the Terrible Twos. It might calm down people in pubs, too. You never know. It certainly makes me happy.

“We’ve been working on the music and on the video storyboard since January. Frankie Lowe from Castaway Audio Productions up in Edinburgh wrote the music and I did the lyrics, partly inspired by a poem I wrote when I was 12 years old.

“Before I wrote the proper lyrics, I had stand-in lyrics – We’re all pufflings, We’re all lovely pufflings… Pufflings are baby puffins and I learnt that from QI on TV. Eventually I turned it into We’re all dreamers. So let’s keep on dreaming

Dreamers (When I Grow Up) being shot in London yesterday

Dreamers (When I Grow Up) being shot amid a video game

“The whole vibe of the song is meant to be very much what the whole vibe of the stage show is about – which is about me trying to be all the things I wanted to be when I was a child – So, in the last few months, for the show, I’ve tried to be a ballerina, a baker, a princess, a pop star, an artist, a farmer and a Muppet. Today’s video shoot was for the pop star bit… and I will also try to be a pop star by performing this song at the T In The Park festival in Scotland in July. And I’m also going to be performing it at CC Blooms, one of Edinburgh’s premier gay bars, on 2nd June.”

“And the object of the song and the Edinburgh show?” I asked.

“It’s to encourage people to keep dreaming,” answered Juliette. “Because I think we need to keep on dreaming to stay young. I know I can be an idealist but it is such an amazing feeling when ideals are realised.”

The death of a dream in Juliette’s video

The death of a dream in Juliette’s pop video

“I was rather shocked,” I said, “to see the Muppet-like puppet prince die in the video today when you’re so in love with The Muppets.”

“I was shocked too,” said Juliette. “I didn’t realise the puppet was going to die and that was quite a bolt from the blue. I was quite heartbroken… I think you saw how dramatically it affected me.

“I had my heart broken today,” Juliette laughed. “Dreams have been made and dreams have been crushed… I thought I’d found my prince and he fell apart.”

“Talking of princes…” I said.

Juliette stalked Prince Harry this week

The Mall: Juliette stalked Prince Harry this week

“Ah, yes,” said Juliette. “On Thursday this week I was at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show in a bridal dress, trying to become a princess by meeting Prince Harry. I had an etiquette lesson with Diane Mather of Public Image Ltd.”

“Isn’t that the Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten’s outfit?” I asked.

“A different set of people,” Juliette reassured me. “I don’t know if they realise they’re also the name of a band. Diane Mather is very demure and beautiful and runs an arts festival and has asked to book me in May next year, which is very lovely.”

“But you did not find Prince Harry at the Chelsea Flower Show?” I asked.

“No,” admitted Juliette. “So then I went straight to Buckingham Palace in my bridal gown, but I was told by them to Please kindly go away. I asked them: Can I possibly get you on film saying that? and the Metropolitan Policeman on the gate said No, we’re not allowed to. Kindly please desist and leave.

“And you’re putting all these videos of you trying to realise your dreams online?”

Juliette is torn between Gonzo and Jimmy Carr

The Edinburgh Fringe show it is all publicising

“Yes. It has been a really hard few weeks – well, months, really – preparing all this for the When I Grow Up show in Edinburgh in August… The pop song, the princess adventures, ballerina, baker, farmer, artist… And more. And writing the show itself and trying to crowdfund the Edinburgh show and all the rest. It has taken its toll, badly, on me mentally. But I do see light at the end of the tunnel.

“This week has been really hard especially. I have been feeling very low and struggled to cope each day. As you know, this is related to mental health problems. But focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, being honest with friends and family and focusing on the positives as much as I can…We got to the end of the week… and we made it through the long day of filming… and I think it is going to look amazing.”

“Me too,” I said.

“Seeing it all come together like that,” said Juliette, “makes those moments where I want to hide in a ball crying on the floor all pale into insignificance. Nothing is more important than making this show the best it can be and days like the film shoot today remind me how much fun it can be.”

“So when is the music video that you shot today actually coming out?” I asked.

“The absolutely finished music video should be the first week in July,” said Juliette, “It will be available on YouTube in the middle of July. But we still have to shoot the very last scene in the video, which will be filmed in the middle of June.

“And tomorrow I am talking to Omari Carter, who choreographed the video, about a possible stunt at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.”

“Could it be a Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award possibility?” I asked.

“Could be,” said Juliette.

“My cup runneth over,” I said.


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