The TV Lark: Back to Portsmouth
The title appended to this week's episode says it all: after flailing about with TV spoofs for a few weeks, The TV Lark's makers sheepishly retreat back to the services comedy of its predecessor. The performers seem more comfortable in a maritime setting, though as a listener I think you need to have some experience of naval life for yourself to get the most of it - a lot of the references in Back to Portsmouth meant absolutely nothing to me (and I come from Portsmouth). This isn't helped by the fact that the tape of this episode's clearly in pretty bad shape - some of the dialogue would be difficult to make out even if you did have a clue what the characters were on about.
But what's the scripted reason for the return to the place Leslie Phillips describes as "a pretty little dockyard just past West Wittering"? Well, the blimpish Admiral Ironbridge (Michael Bates, seizing his best comedy opportunity so far in the series) has chosen TTV to cover the return to England of Field Marshal Sir Mortimer Bullingham-Trench, former governor of Bantuwisiland (or some made-up African name anyway - it wasn't easy to make out through the fuzz) and hero of the Siege of Government House (in which it turned out the enemy he held out against for weeks was in fact his own troops). "I say, he's lived, hasn't he?" sighs Phillips, admiringly. It's a bit concerning that the best joke in the episode is that Sir Mortimer's forthcoming memoirs are to be called Tanks for the Memory.
Pertwee's especially happy to be going back to Portsmouth - "I can't wait to see the matelots again!" he enthuses, which, in the light of my own experiences of matelots in Portsmouth, sounds distinctly dodgy. The usual silliness ensue when they get to the docks, only a little bit harder to hear than usual.