Nothing heralds the autumn TV season like a new series of The Arthur Haynes Show, though there are clearly some bits missing from the surviving version of the opening episode, notably the programme's title. As it is, we open with supporting players Leslie Noyes, Dermot Kelly and Nicholas Parsons lining up at a snooker table and being credited as they take their shot. The star of the show ends up covered in chalk, but doesn't get any billing for his trouble.
The first sketch proper casts Haynes as a gaga elderly lord, who after two years has only just noticed he has a different butler (Parsons). The sketch is a long way from prime Haynes, partly because the star's cast outside of his normal persona, but mostly because, like the aristocrat himself, it rambles on without really going anywhere. Until (for reasons too confusing to relate), Haynes reaches above the camera for a gun and shoots Parsons dead.
Those of you who've harboured a desire to see Nicholas Parsons topless will be satisfied with the following sketch, which sees Harley Street doctor Haynes getting his patient to undress and bend over before leapfrogging over him.
Tonight's musical interlude is provided by...
The extended final sketch is a slight variation on the tramp routine, with Haynes and Kelly as a pair of East End unsophisticates taking their wives (resident ratbags Patricia Hayes and Rita Webb respectively) to a swanky restaurant presided over by horrified maitre d' Parsons.
The abundant faux pas kick off with Hayes realising she's left her pinny on and Webb discovering her stocking's hanging down: "'ad your pennorth?" she growls at Parsons as he gazes on in horror. "Dirty perisher!"
On being told by her husband that no man would want to look at her, and that he only married her because he was drunk, she unsurprisingly bursts into tears.
The rest are intimidated by the menu being all in foreign, but Arthur insists that after four years in France during the war he'll be able to understand it: "There's a lot of things I picked up out there that you don't know about". He can't. Hayes wants jellied eels, Kelly wants cauliflower and potato soup. Parsons despairs. Haynes and Kelly decide to have a sniff round the restaurant to see what looks nice, and sample an outraged couple's hors d'oeuvres. "I'll give you a bit of mine when we order it!"
"What you got, cramp?" splutters Arthur when Parsons pours a tiny bit of wine in his glass to taste.
Arthur immediately recognises the wine as Spanish. It's French.
And when he learns it's 45 bob a bottle it's poured straight back where it came from. "It's Chateauneuf du Pape!" "Yeah, well you can Pape it back in!"
In the end the party help themselves to the entire contents of an hors d'oeuvre trolley, though, as promised, Arthur gives some back to the chap he took some from.
Somehow Parsons ends up sneezing into a bowl of soup, and the entire restaurant, with the exception of the Haynes table, descends into a food fight.
The episode ends with Arthur popping his head through the serving hatch into the kitchen. If you look very closely, you can just about see the shadow of a microphone in the below image.