Supervising Animator / Contributor
Apr 1, 2006, 5:01 AM
Hi, Dave - are you rested after your holiday? Or just plain tuckered out!
"Bill the Minder" addenda
I tried to submit this via the BCDB submission form, but the SUBMIT button didn't work - is there a text limit, or is it not switched on yet?
Bill The Minder
Orginally broadcast on ITV (UK) 1985-6
Later compiled into one continuous hour-long programme (by removing all intervening title-and-credit sequences) and released on VHS by Castle Home Video in 1999. (Keeping the opening sequence of the first episode intact gives the misleading impression that the entire hour is subtitled “Old Crispin”!)
The 1990 PSB broadcast was a ‘special’ - but did it contain all 15 episodes, like the VHS (which actually runs 61 minutes)? The episodes fall into three groups of five (1-5, 6-10 and 11-15) with the first episode of each group starting with Boadicea and Chad at home, and ending with Bill taking them for a walk on the Downs; and the last episode of the of the first two groups ending with the children taking leave of the characters who had joined them and retuning home at the end of the day. This was largely to prevent the procession requiring too many cel levels!
Narration: Peter Chelsom
Rostrum Camera: Julian Holdaway; Bob Skeggs
Editor: Mike Murray
Music: Barrie Guard
Title Music: The Triumphal March from Verdi’s Aida
Episode #1 - Old Crispin
Old Crispin becomes sick of gathering mushrooms. So sick he takes to his bed and refuses to eat anything. Except jelly. So his wife Chloe spends all her time making jelly, and gets her nephew Bill to mind her two children, Boadicea and Chad.
But Old Crispin eats so much jelly that he gets very fat - and although he has recovered from his ennui he is now too bloated to return to mushroom-picking. So Bill invents an ingenious exercise machine for Old Crispin, then continues to wander across the Downs with his two charges.
Episode #2 - The King
Bill, Boadicea and Chad find an old King hiding in a pile of straw. His subjects had come to hold him in such awe that even his ministers were reluctant to bother him. To relieve the isolation he had taken to sneaking out to the henhouse at night, to play dominoes and eat roast chicken with his ministers until the cock crowed. But one night, having run out of chickens, they were forced to roast the cock. This meant they had no way of knowing when it was dawn, and as a result they were discovered by his subjects. The King was so humiliated he ran away at once and hid on the Downs. Bill reassures the King and builds a special wheelchair so they can take the King back to his Kingdom.
Episode #3 - The Navigator
Ron the Navigator wishes to marry The Enchanting Jane Osbaldiston de Trevor of Boulogne, but she finds him dull. So he set out to discover something unusual as a gift for her. He has brought back a seed of Australian Nose Plant, but lacks the ideal conditions to germinate it. Fortunately Bill is able to build a machine to nurture its growth. Unfortunately Ron receives a postcard informing him that The Enchanting Jane has married an Antiques Dealer. So Bill invites Ron to join them on their trek across the Downs.
Episode #4 - Aunt Galladia
Norris, Aunt Galladia's pet Very Rare And Beautiful Green-Toed Button Crane of Baraboo, has escaped from his cage and she can't get him down from the tree despite tempting him with his favourite Peruvian Yak Beans. Bill invents an ingenious device to recapture Norris, and Aunt Galladia is so delighted she gives him to Bill as a reward.
Episode #5 - The Respectable Gentleman
As Bill, Boadicea, Chad, The King, Ron the Navigator and Norris proceed across the Downs they pass a ice cream van. The King demands an ice cream, and eats it so greedily that a drop of it splashes onto the lapel of a Very Respectable Gentleman, who faints with shame at finding himself so besmirched. Fortunately Bill invents an ingenious machine for removing stains from lapels. In gratitude The Respectable Gentleman offers to escort The King back to his Kingdom, along with Ron and Norris, thus permitting Bill to take Boadicea and Chad back home.
Episode #6 - Chloe
Chloe is exasperated by the way Boadicea and Chad take her tools to play with and never put them back. Bill attaches everything to lengths of string so that Chloe can always reel them in, but she still has a problem with the children playing in the house. So Bill takes them out for another walk on the Downs.
Episode #7 - The Doctor
Bill, Boadicea and Chad meet The Celebrated Dr Ebenezer Sprout, whose cures were so popular that everyone wanted to be ill and he had to abandon his practice through overwork. Now he has no patients, and feels worthless. So Bill invents a machine called The Doctor's Friend - to make people feel ill, and the doctor joins them in their journey across the Downs.
Episode #8 - The Sicilian Cleaning Lady
Bill, Boadicea, Chad and Dr Scrout meet a Sicilian Cleaning Lady who is at odds with her employers, Mr & Mrs Pettigrew of Pimlico, over the incessant singing of their son, Basil Herbert. Bill invents a contraption to silence the tiresome Basil Herbert, but the Pettigrews are not happy with this and move to Scotland, leaving the Sicilian Cleaning Lady without a job. Boadicea invites her to join them on their expedition.
Episode #9 - The Button Crane of Baraboo
As they journey across the Downs Bill, Boadicea, Chad, Dr Scrout and The Sicilian Cleaning Lady meet up with The Respectable Gentleman, who is having a problem with Norris, The Very Rare And Beautiful Green-Toed Button Crane of Baraboo. Norris belches. After the Doctor's linctus and the Cleaning Lady's home remedy have proved ineffective, Bill creates a machine which finally cures Norris of belching. But it is not the end of the Respectable Gentleman's discomfiture.
Episode #10 - The Waiter
The Sicilian Cleaning Lady is in distress. She has received that morning a declaration of love from a handsome Waiter she had met in Florence. But a gust of wind had torn the letter from her hand, leaving only the corner between her fingertips. Tossing the scrap aside she had pursued the missive across the Downs and finally caught it - only to find that the return address had been on the corner she had thrown away, and so she could not reply. When she bends over to point out the spot where she discarded the scrap Bill, Boadicea and Chad can see where it has settled, caught in her stocking top. They are too embarrassed to tell her, so Bill constructs an ingenious arrangement of mirrors so that she may discover it for herself. When the Waiter arrives he is not quite as she remembered him, but she doesn't mind. The pair of them accompany Dr Sprout on his quest for new patients, leaving Bill free to take Boadicea and Chad back home.
Episode #11 - Bosworth
Back home the children find that Old Crispin has become convinced that he is being pursued by an invisible nemesis named Bosworth. Bill constructs a machine which drives Bosworth to take sanctuary in Old Crispin's matchstick model of a cathedral. This sacrilege enrages Old Crispin so much he jumps on the model with both feet, disposing of the irksome Bosworth for good!
Episode #12 - The Musician
As they roam the Downs Bill, Boadicea and Chad come across a Musician, playing a concertina. He tells them how he had once written a great symphony, which was to be performed in a famous concert hall. But when he had raised his baton to start conducting he had been overcome by emotion. Tears of joy had run down his cheeks and onto the manuscript, rendering it undecipherable. With the boos of the audience ringing in his ears he had fled to the Downs in shame. Now he has written another symphony, but has no orchestra to play it. Bill, Boadicea and Chad make some instruments, and an ingenious conducting machine, but the result is unharmonious, so to seek an orchestra the Musician joins them in their journey across the Downs.
Episode #13 - The Real Soldier
As Bill, Boadicea, Chad and the Musician cross the downs they meet a Real Soldier looking for his medal. He relates how he won the medal after he had been sent with the Gallant 53rd to relieve an Island being besieged by the notorious Reginald Benbrisket, who claimed it had been left to him in his aunt's will. Looking for somewhere to sleep the Real Soldier had crawled under a Bathing Machine on the beach, only to be awoken in the night by the sound of someone entering it. Seeing the bather was Reginald Benbrisket himself, the Real Soldier nailed shut the landward door of the hut while Reginald was swimming, and when he returned to the machine to get dressed the Real Soldier nailed shut the seaward door as well, trapping the rogue. But that was not the deed for which he was awarded the medal. It turned out that Reginald's claim was legitimate, and it was the new ruler of the Island, Reginald Benbrisket, who decorated the Real Soldier, for rescuing him from the Bathing Machine in which he had been trapped! Bill invents a contraption to help the Real Soldier find the medal, and they all proceed across the downs.
Episode #14 - Basil Herbert
As Bill, Boadicea, Chad, the Musician and the Real Soldier make their way across the Downs they are constantly pestered by the annoying Basil Herbert, who has heard that they are searching for an orchestra for the Musician and wants to join them. Bill invents an extraordinary musical instrument that disposes of the tiresome Basil Herbert once and for all.
Episode #15 - The Pilot
As they journey across the Downs Bill, Boadicea, Chad, the Musician and the Real Soldier come across Alec the Pilot and his wife Harriet (aka The Ground Crew). After searching in vain for a suitable retirement cottage, Alec had spotted the perfect property on the Downs only to crash into it - wrecking his plane and reducing the cottage to rubble. Bill finds an ingenious method of getting Alec's plane flying again so he can continue his search.
Back by popular demand -
"La-la-La-la.. I can't hear you!"