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Encyclopedia > The Mary Whitehouse Experience
The Mary Whitehouse Experience
Genre Live Action / Stand-up comedy / Sketch comedy
Running time 30 mins
Creator(s) Bill Dare
Executive producer(s) William Sargent
Marcus Mortimer (Producer)
Starring David Baddiel
Rob Newman
Steve Punt
Hugh Dennis
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original channel BBC Two
Original run October 3, 1990April 6, 1992
No. of episodes 13
Official website
IMDb profile
TV.com summary

The Mary Whitehouse Experience was a UK topical comedy show, both on radio and TV, in the late '80s/early '90s. Its main stars were David Baddiel, Rob Newman, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis. In film and video, live action refers to works that are acted out by flesh-and-blood actors, as opposed to animation. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Bill Dare graduated from the University of Manchester and went on to be an Actor, Director and Comedy Writer. ... David Baddiel (born May 28, 1964, Troy, New York, USA) is an English comedian, novelist and television presenter. ... Rob Newman Robert (sometimes Rob) Newman (born July 7, 1964) is a British stand-up comedian, author and political activist. ... Steve Punt is a British writer, comedian and actor, most famous for his long-time partnership with Hugh Dennis. ... Hugh Dennis (born Peter Dennis, 1962) is a UK actor, comedian and writer. ... BBC Two (or BBC2 as it was formerly styled) was the second UK television station to be aired by the BBC and Europes first television channel to broadcast regularly in colour (from 1967), envisaged as a home for less mainstream and more ambitious programming. ... October 3 is the 276th day of the year (277th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... This article is about the year. ... April 6 is the 96th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (97th in leap years). ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... David Baddiel (born May 28, 1964, Troy, New York, USA) is an English comedian, novelist and television presenter. ... Rob Newman Robert (sometimes Rob) Newman (born July 7, 1964) is a British stand-up comedian, author and political activist. ... Steve Punt is a British writer, comedian and actor, most famous for his long-time partnership with Hugh Dennis. ... Hugh Dennis (born Peter Dennis, 1962) is a UK actor, comedian and writer. ...

It started in 1989 as a radio show, devised by Bill Dare, on BBC Radio 1. The two pairings of Newman and Baddiel and Punt and Dennis were central to the show - they would later have spin-off television series of their own. Guest performers included Nick Hancock, Jo Brand, Jack Dee, and Mark Thomas. Bill Dare graduated from the University of Manchester and went on to be an Actor, Director and Comedy Writer. ... BBC Radio 1 is a British radio station operated by the BBC, specialising in popular music aimed at the 16-24 age bracket. ... Newman and Baddiel was a comedy partnership of the 1990s consisting of British stand-up comics Rob Newman and David Baddiel. ... Punt and Dennis are a comedy double act consisting of Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis. ... Nick Hancock (born January 25, 1962) is a British actor and television presenter. ... Joanne Brand was born 3rd May 1957 in Hastings, East Sussex. ... Jack Dee. ... Mark Thomas Mark Clifford Thomas (1963–) is a British comedian, presenter and reporter from south London. ...

It had four radio series, building up an audience and moving to better time slots. After the fourth series, it was decided to move the show to television. The television run started in 1990 on BBC 2. It lasted two series, a total of 13 episodes including its pilot. A spin-off book of the show was also published. BBC Two (or BBC2 as it was formerly styled) was the second UK television station to be aired by the BBC. History The channel was scheduled to begin at 7:20pm on April 20, 1964 and show an evening of light entertainment, starting with the comedy show The Alberts and...

The series was a mix of surreal sketches and monologues, in a format similar to shows such as Mr. Show and The Kids in the Hall. (The Kids in the Hall also had a sketch about a character who suffered from a disease that made him sound sarcastic much like this show's character 'Ray', although this appears to be coincidental) Mr. ... The Kids in the Hall was a Canadian sketch comedy group, consisting of comedians Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson. ...

The show was named after Mary Whitehouse, a prominent campaigner against what she saw as a decline in television standards and public morality. She became famous in the UK going after shows like Monty Python's Flying Circus and Doctor Who. She threatened legal action against the show for its name. Mary Whitehouse in her later years. ... Monty Pythons Flying Circus (also known as Flying Circus, MPFC or just Monty Python during the fourth season) was a highly popular, surreal BBC sketch comedy show from Monty Python, and the groups initial claim to fame. ... Doctor Who is a long-running British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC about a mysterious time-travelling adventurer known as The Doctor, who explores time and space with his companions, fighting evil. ...

The television series has never been released nor repeated by the BBC. Episodes of the radio series have been repeated on BBC 7. An online petition has been set up to lobby the BBC to release the television series on DVD.

A book The Mary Whitehouse Experience Encyclopedia, which was a spin-off of the series containing references to some of the sketches on the show and much new material, was released in 1991.

Recurring characters/sketches

Ray (played by Rob Newman)

A man afflicted with a disease that gives him a permanently sarcastic tone of voice, so that everything he says comes out sounding sarcastic, no matter how sincerely he means it. This sketch is presented as a medical case history told by Ray's psychiatrist (played by David Baddiel), who gives accounts of various situations in which Ray's affliction has got him into trouble. These are usually sensitive situations such as speaking out at a funeral, apologizing to an old man after running over his wife in his car, and complimenting a suicidal child on his drawings. At other times Ray has experienced near-fatal accidents, such as having an arrow shot through his brain, which are ignored by passers-by given that even his cries of pain sound sarcastic. Ray's disorder also affects his body language, as demonstrated in one sketch in which he converses with his deaf foster mother. Ray's psychiatrist discovers that the only things Ray's voice can say normally are those that he means sarcastically. In one sketch he makes friends with some goths, who appreciate his seemingly endless sarcasm, although he eventually alienates them when he says, with seeming earnestness, "Do you know who the best actress in the world is? Pia Zadora". In the final episode, on being given a Cure album as a present, Ray cannot bring himself to sound sarcastic when thanking his friend and, bizarrely, starts speaking Flemish. Ray has quite a successful run of appearances on Flemish chat-shows, before the inevitable happens, and he begins speaking Flemish in a sarcastic tone. Ray often uses the phrase "Oh no, what a personal disaster" which became one of the show's most popular catchphrases. Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that studies and treats mental and emotional disorders (see mental illness). ... Invasion of the Goths: a late 19th century painting by O. Fritsche portrays the Goths as cavalrymen. ... // Early Life Born Pia Alfreda Schipani in Hoboken, New Jersey, of part Polish and part Italian descent, she adapted part of her mothers maiden name (Zadorowska) as her stage name. ... The Cure are a successful English rock band, widely seen as one of the leading pioneers of the British alternative rock scene of the 1980s. ... The term Flemish can be a linguistic one, referring to the speech of the Flemings, inhabitants of Flanders, or a geographical one, referring to any attribute of Flanders, but not to its official language, which is exclusively Dutch. ...

Ivan (played by Rob Newman)

Ivan is a daytime television presenter who hosts a show similar to the BBC's Pebble Mill. Although his appearance is slightly unusual (his hair is permanently ruffled and he usually has a plaster on his face) he appears at first glance to be like any normal daytime TV presenter. But Ivan is very over-emotional and will fly into a tormented rage at the slightest mention of anything vaguely bad. One such example is when a professional gardener he is interviewing tells him in passing that someone has trodden on and broken a garden cane he was going to use, and Ivan proceeds to fly into a hysterical rage and smash apart the whole greenhouse. Likewise, when informed that the situation is not so bad after all, Ivan will similarly react in an overly ecstatic manner, much to the annoyance of his guests. In America, Daytime television is the general term for, as its name suggests, television shows produced that are intended to air during the daytime hours. ... The British Broadcasting Corporation, invariably known as the BBC (and also informally known as the Beeb or Auntie) is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, employing 26,000 staff in the UK alone and with a budget of £4 billion. ... Pebble Mill Studios are located in the leafy suburbs of Birmingham, England. ... A gardener is any person involved in the growing and maintenance of plants, notably in a garden. ...

Mr. Strange (played by Hugh Dennis, better known as the 'Milky Milky' sketch)

Mr. Strange is the archetypal 'man your mother warned you about', the weird man who walks around town in a dirty old mac, indulging in disturbingly eccentric behaviour. Mr. Strange's main trait is that he has an absurd addiction to milk, and is constantly carrying cartons or bottles of milk with him, not only drinking from them but obsessively sniffing them before uttering the words "Lovely- Milky Milky" (which became one of the show's most popular catchprases). This in turn led to a novelty tie-in single, Milky Milky (Take Me To The Fridge) released as "Mr Strange and the Lactose Brotherhood" in 1992, as well as Punt and Dennis' tour of that year being named "The Milky Milky Tour". A glass of cows milk Milk is the nutrient fluid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals (including monotremes). ... Lactose is a disaccharide that consists of β-D-galactose and β-D-glucose molecules bonded through a β1-4 glycosidic linkage. ...

One sketch features Mr. Strange as a contestant on Mastermind whose specialist subject is 'Milk and the way it smells' while another features him presenting a Party political broadcast offering himself as an alternative to the main political leaders because "I don't wash my pants - it's not nature's way". Look up mastermind in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A party political broadcast is a short television or radio broadcast made by a political party. ...

History Today

Probably the show's most popular and well-known sketch, which made its debut in the second half of the show's second TV series. History Today is a historical discussion programme presented by two elderly, scholarly professors, both well-spoken and well-groomed. The first of these professors, who introduces each 'episode' and its topic of discussion, is played by David Baddiel although the character is never named. The second is Professor F. J. Lewis, Emeritus Professor of History at All Souls College, Oxford, who is played by Rob Newman. Each 'episode' begins as a standard historical debate, but quickly degenerates into a plethora of insults and playground-style name-calling as the two professors fling all manner of typical schoolboy-like insults at one another. The humour lies largely in the manner in which the professors maintain their well-spoken, formal tones despite the childishness of their insults. This sketch spawned perhaps the show's most popular catchphrase "...That's you, that is", spoken after they had described someone/something completely pathetic and/or disgusting. This sketch was later carried over into Newman and Baddiel's own show, Newman and Baddiel in Pieces. All Souls College (in full: The College of All Souls of the Faithful Departed, of Oxford) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. ... Newman and Baddiel in Pieces was a sketch show aired on BBC2 in 1993, written by and starring comedians Robert Newman and David Baddiel. ...

Robert Smith (played by Rob Newman)

A parody of the singer Robert Smith, frontman with the British rock band The Cure. Each sketch features Robert Smith and The Cure performing a particularly happy, cheery song or nursery rhyme in their standard downbeat, 'doom and gloom' Gothic Rock style. These songs have included "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" originally by Rolf Harris, "The Laughing Policeman" and Tommy Steele's "What A Picture". Robert Smith himself also made a guest appearance on the final episode of the show, in the last of the 'Ray' sketches, in which he was seen to sing "The Sun Has Got His Hat On". Robert James Smith (born April 21, 1959 in Blackpool, England), a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, has been the lead singer of British post-punk band The Cure since its founding in 1976. ... The Cure are a successful English rock band, widely seen as one of the leading pioneers of the British alternative rock scene of the 1980s. ... Gothic rock (also called goth rock or goth) is a genre of rock music that originated during the late 1970s. ... Rolf Harris. ... Tommy Steele (born December 17, 1936 in Bermondsey, London, England) is a British entertainer. ...

Other notable sketches

Other memorable sketches and jokes from the show include:

  • The dad with the inability to dance - "What's this?! It's got a good beat!"
  • A criminal who roamed round town robbing banks and mugging people while wearing a Postman Pat mask
  • The use of the phrase 'M Khan is bent'- referring to an actual piece of graffiti on a railway bridge in London, which was written in huge letters on the bridge for over a decade. The joke focused around the fact that thousands of cars pass under the bridge each day, and so whoever M Khan is, his 'bentness' must have been made known to at least half the continent. Therefore, references to M Khan and his 'bentness' were inserted into numerous sketches within the show, in passing.

  Results from FactBites:
Mary Whitehouse (1072 words)
Mary Whitehouse was a 53-year-old art teacher at Madeley Secondary School in Shropshire, married to an industrial coppersmith, and the mother of three sons, when she launched the Clean Up TV campaign in 1964.
Mary Whitehouse's bête noire was Hugh Greene, the Director-General of the BBC from 1960 to 1969, who ignored her campaign and refused to meet her, and it was the renewal of the BBC's Charter in 1964 that gave her a chance to act.
Mary Whitehouse, CBE, founder of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, was born on June 13, 1910.
  More results at FactBites »



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