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Can you 'Spot' Jon Pertwee...?
on 16 October 2014
I was obliged to send for this 36 episode 2-disc collection recently for my two little relatives (aged 6 and 9) purely because, frankly, I got the distinct impression that my description of the show and my memories of same were being treated, not as the reminiscences of someone with a decent appreciation of animated comedy, but as the ravings of a complete and utter lunatic.
I don't think they believed me when I tried to describe the star of the show (voiced by Derek Griffiths), for instance. He comes from humble and rather tragic beginnings, having started life as a shoddily-made teddy bear who, to the absolute disgust of the narrator, found himself being thrown away 'like a piece of rubbish'.
I think I might've lost them when I spoke of his rescue by a Spotty Man (voiced by Jon Pertwee) who was out and about on some kind of interstellar daytrip, and who just happened to be rummaging around in the factory bins when he decided to help himself to a bit of stolen property.
And they definitely didn't believe that a pinch of 'space dust', as dispensed quite liberally by 'Mother Nature' (which, to me, sounds like some kind of codename that's been assigned by the Drug Squad) can give one of life's rejects special crime-fighting powers, with just the merest hint of a secret magic word.
For all his impressive abilities though, Superted finds himself perpetually engaged in the fight against what is, quite possibly, the most inept gang of crooks in history. We've got Texas Pete (Victor Spinetti) as gang-leader, an especially mean-spirited cowboy who has his fingers in an awful lot of different criminal pies. Left to his own devices he might occasionally be a match for Superted and Spotty but, thankfully, he has decided to take two 'bumbling sidekicks' out of the unemployment queue instead.
First we have Bulk (Roy Kinnear), who possesses flabby brawn in spades, but who was very much short-changed in the brains department. And then there's Skeleton, who is (wait for it now!) a skeleton, voiced by Melvyn Hayes. Ah, not JUST a skeleton though, but a coward who seems to be, how can I put this, very much in touch with his feminine side. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course - there's nothing wrong with a man wearing pink slippers either, if it comes to that.
Do you know, I can sort of see why my little relatives were sizing me up for a straightjacket now...
Not to worry though because, having spent a while in the company of this 3-series complete collection themselves, they too have come to appreciate the wonderful weirdness that is, Superted. Jon Pertwee's rather cowardly spotted alien is the big draw, I think. But then, there's not much he did that isn't eminently watchable. And the show is funny. The three villains especially have a beautiful - if thoroughly hopeless - little dynamic.
The picture quality is not amazing, but that's not really a problem. In fact, I have only one complaint about this collection, and it's one that I don't suppose could've been helped, given how short each Superted adventure is (roughly ten minutes): but, by gum, hearing that closing theme so many times in one sitting can REALLY get right up a person's nose.
What makes it worse is that (a) it is so darn catchy, and (b) I have absolutely no idea what the lyrics might be. And yet I STILL find myself trying to sing along with it!