I had tea yesterday with the extraordinarily energetic and charismatic Miss Behave aka Amy Misbehaving, who was telling me all about the Edinburgh Fringe show(s) she will be staging in August at the new Assembly venue in George Square.
That’s an extraordinarily anarchic mind she has there and, as they say, staging anarchy takes a lot of organisation.
Something she said reminded me of Vier gegen Willi (Four Against Willi) – a legendary German TV light entertainment series of the late 1980s which was co-presented by a hamster. Willi helped to make decisions throughout the show and, at the climax, he was put in a maze with three exits and, depending on which exit the co-presenting hamster took, the winning family won their prize-money in either German marks or Italian lira or Austrian schillings. Ah! The glorious pre-Euro days!
At one time, the UK ITV contractor London Weekend Television showed interest in buying UK rights to either some of the Vier gegen Willi games or the entire format itself. When I was at LWT, much joy was certainly had by many, looking at tapes of the part-hamster-presented German TV series. However, there was a big drawback to production of the show.
It was that, under the very hot TV studio lights, the furry creature had a tendency to overheat excessively so, for each show, the producers had to have several lookalike hamsters on standby because it was not at all uncommon for the hirsute co-presenter to die in mid-show.
The great German viewing public, as far as I know, was never made aware of this, but it was thought unlikely that the British tabloid press could have been kept in the dark if ITV had run a Saturday peaktime entertainment series co-presented by a hamster in which the hamster often died and had to be replaced by lookalikes.
So, alas, the UK version was never made.