I so wanted to love this, having really enjoyed the Hello Cheeky radio show as a youngster (I never watched it on tv). And the first episode gave me real hope I would get as much enjoyment from this; after a slow and shaky start, I wound up laughing so hard it hurt. The radio source of the material showed up drastically, as there was very little concession to visuals bar a few props, wigs, and some slapdash cso background work. The timing was a bit off as well, which robbed some of the jokes of impact. But once the cast got into their stride it improved, especially when I closed my eyes and just listened. Sadly, the rest of the surviving episodes rarely reached the level of humour that first one showed they could. Poor timing remains a problem throughout, possibly because the performers were having to wait for the studio audience to catch on to the jokes; in several places the laughter when they finally get what they last heard drowns out the next gag. Poor choice of material too lets it down, though I have no issues with the frequently non-pc jokes (it is a product of a less aware or less touchy time, after all). And the picture quality is not great either, not just on the green screen work. It looks as though there has been no real remastering for a digital release, or if there has then the original film quality must have been dire indeed. The sound could have been improved, too. Finally, the advert break points have been left in, and they are ridiculously long - I'd say, probably this is the original format sold to commercial stations round the world. I timed one and found there was two minutes of 'End of Part One' and black screen before continuing with 'Part Two'. I can't say I was impressed, overall, which is very sad. I just wish the BBC would release their radio archives of the show on CD, because the radio broadcasts were sharp, fast, and funny, instead of slow, halting and fuzzy. And I really wish this had been even half as good as I had hoped...
on 29 June 2012
I cannot agree with the other review. I enjoyed every second of 'Hello Cheeky'! I wasn't expecting to. I remember watching it back in 1976 and not being terribly enamoured, possibly I was hoping for another 'Goodies'. An unrealistic expection on my part. Tim Brooke-Taylor, John Junkin, and Barry Cryer recreated their hit B.B.C. radio show for Yorkshire T.V. I.T.V. were so convinced it would be a smash it comissioned a second run before the first went out. It was not, and the show was shifted to a later time-slot. Brooke-Taylor later complained that the original slot was wrong. Looked at now it seems amazing I.T.V. thought it suitable for peak-time Monday night viewing, normally reserved for domestic sitcoms of the 'Cuckoo Waltz' variety.
The show consists of old jokes - or to quote Barry Took from his seminal 'Laughter In The Air' book - 'new jokes in the style of old jokes'. The U.S. series 'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In' seems to have been a major influence. There is very much a hit-and-miss atmosphere to the thing, and as my friend has pointed out some of the humour is a bit un-P.C. Eddie Large once said that if you show two comedians whacking each other with frying pans at peak-viewing time, people will complain it is childish. But if you show the same thing on Channel 4 in a later slot, it will be regarded as anarchic comedy. 'Hello Cheeky' is not 'cutting edge' and it does not need to be. Besides, when we now have Ricky Gervais openly making fun of the vertically challenged and mentally handicapped ( and being acclaimed as a genius for doing so ), shows such as this look all the funnier.