Top positive review
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Last orders at the Wheeltappers
on 26 July 2013
The sixth and final series of the Wheeltappers saw a few changes to the series' format. Firstly the running time was reduced from 40 minutes to 25 and instead of each show featuring a number of turns, there's just one act per programme.
This seems to have been due to a reduction in the series' budget and it's a shame that there isn't the variety of acts as previous runs. But on the upside, having just one turn allows them a decent amount of time to perform and this works very well.
The star turns featured in the eight transmitted shows are as follows - Bob Williamson, New Vaudeville Band, Paul Daniels, The Dubliners, George Melly and the Feetwarmers, Cannon and Ball, Fivepenny Piece and Mike Harding.
Pick of the acts for me were the New Vaudeville Band, The Dubliners and George Melly, with only Cannon and Ball being a little below par. Their act wasn't very different from their previous Wheeltappers appearances, so there's a feeling of having seen it all before.
Apart from these eight shows, there's an additional two untransmitted programmes. The first, featuring hypnotist Martin St. James, was due to go out seventh in the run but was postponed and never rescheduled.
The last - featuring Terry Webster and Dictionary - never reached the final edit stage so is presented on the DVD as an unedited recording block. Running to 67 minutes this is a fascinating insight into how the programme was made, including the chance to see all the bits that would have been cut out in order to trim the show down to the 25 minute length for transmission. Why it was never transmitted could be down to the fact that Terry Webster is desperately unfunny, although it's possible that a good edit could have made something out of it.
During the numerous recording breaks Colin Crompton has to keep the audience amused (Bernard Manning is absent for this one) and guide them through the procedures of how the programme is recorded. So whilst the turn isn't up to much, the behind-the-scenes look at the Wheeltappers is interesting. Kudos to Network for including it.
In summary, whilst there's fewer acts than previous series, most are top notch which means that the Wheeltappers went out on a high.