I Watched Jim Davidson’s Adult Panto (Because I Hate Myself)

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Jim Davidson’s long stint as the legitimate face of prime-time family entertainment, beginning in the mid-nineties, is bewildering to look back on as a nation. How did we let that happen? Were we all hypnotised? It must be what modern-day Germany feels like when recalling the antics of the 1930s, or how a sightless band of survivors staggering the post apocalyptic wastelands of 2030 will feel about President Trump. Millennials who only know Davidson from newspaper headlines where he’s cancelled a show rather then perform for fans in wheelchairs, or from a weirdly successful stint on Celebrity Big Brother, will find it hard to picture him as Mr. Saturday Night. But it happened.

Sinderella was filmed slap-bang in the middle of Davidson’s first season as host of The Generation Game, a role he held until 2002. People talk about 911 as the great cultural sea-change, as though everything can be categorised into coming before, and consequently being old, or after, and modern, but as the towers fell, Jim Davidson was still employed at the BBC, in that Strictly/X-Factor sweet spot, before we had broadband or Twitter to help kill time on our trudge towards the grave instead. Similarly, Jim’s snooker-themed gameshow, Big Break, went out on Saturday nights for 222 episodes over eleven years. That’s 111 hours of Jim Davidson making jokes about snooker and waistcoats; Christmas specials with celebrity contestants like Little and Large; and it was all just allowed to happen. Of course, now he’s about as welcome on our screens as a live feed of some lunatic in a balaclava folding a baby into a George Foreman Grill, and as the BBC have another pet fascist in Nigel Farage, it seems he’ll see out his career playing to increasingly-small club audiences of like-minded Tories.

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But to fully comprehend the horrors of Sinderella, we need the context of where we were as a nation in 1995. It was the summer of Britpop, and Lad Culture had begun to swagger over the horizon, in the form of TFI Friday and rags like Loaded Magazine. These were spaff-mags disguised as a style guide for the modern lad; heavy on a post-ironic embracing of ‘real’ men who’d previously been cast aside by political correctness, of whom the word “legend” was thrown around until its meaning had rotted. Cover stars were made of hatchet-faced old footballers; seventies actors; gangland figures and “hard men” — with drug smuggler Howard Marks the messianic figurehead on the prow of HMS Lad — and comedians whose decidedly un-PC material had become more laughed at than with, following the rise of Alternative Comedy in the previous decade. Maybe Jim was hoping to find a home there, on the walls of uni students, between ‘Chopper’ Harris and ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser, his portrait lit like a villain from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

knowles

“She turned them against meeeee…”

Christmas has always been the time for weird vanity cash-grabs, making stocking fillers of stand-up DVDs and expensive biographies with giant fonts. This year’s “what shall I get me mam?” trend is albums from men who look like they built a recording studio in the empty bedrooms of their estranged children. Nick Knowles’ Everyday Kind Of People, Shane Richie’s A Country Soul; who next for the mid-life crisis put to song, Yer Old Dad’s She Might Have Taken the Kids, But I’ve Still Got My Top Gear Box Set? It makes sense that Davidson, a ‘blue’ comedian both trapped by and made rich from a family friendly cage, and who saves his real material for off-camera, would make the move into “too hot for TV!” pantomime, with panto-themed Christmas specials a yearly Big Break tradition. Besides, he’d already released his solemn sad-dad album years ago, including intriguingly self-penned number The Gates of Heaven.

The very concept of panto must seem strange to American readers. Imagine going to see a play, but it’s a musical Christmas fairy tale. The humour is broad vaudeville style, and high in pro wrestling-like audience participation, with encouragement to boo, cheer, sing along, and yell “He’s behind you!” The phrase “camp as Christmas” surely originates from the medium, where it’s a sensory overload of glitter and lights, and earnest, beaming smiles; where men drag up as dames in outfits so ostentatious, RuPaul would tell them to take it down a notch. Panto is a land of handsome princes and snarling villains, as played by soap stars off the telly who can take a break from the drudgery of suicide and alcoholism-based storylines to devour the scenery, and pull in five-figures a week doing it.

gaffers

One of the many A-Listers to have blocked me on Twitter

So then, from this festive tradition aimed solely at families, and to a ‘rude’ version, beginning at the very title. Taking the traditional story of Cinderella, Jim’s outrageously naughty spelling of it with an S lets us know we’re in for a wild ride. Sins, like scoffing cakes, or playing with yourself in the bath, or the murder of an elderly neighbour. Put the kids to bed and drop your trousers, because from here on in, it’s adults only. But which to sin specifically does Sinderella refer? The priapic, cocks-and-wanking obsessed material might suggest Lust. But as we’ll discover, the entire thing’s so fucking lazy, the most applicable is Sloth.

I watched the home video version. I did not travel back to 1995. Although watching this is basically time travel to a period when Jim Davidson wasn’t a cultural leper. Sinderella opens with a to-camera address from Davidson, in 45 seconds which perfectly set the tone for what’s to come. He repeatedly refers to the high concept of a “mucky panto,” does a visual impersonation of Hitler, and explains that every character, including a pony, is trying to “shag” Sinderella, while mistiming a look into the camera, and not bothering with a second take.

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To no surprise, Davidson casts himself as the put-upon, lovelorn Buttons, recalling the rage of Keith Harris when he met Louis Theroux, upon reading a review condemning him as too old for the role. But that’s fine, after all, this is an auteur project. Like the films of Woody Allen. Or Roman Polanski. Or Victor Salva. For a naughty adult panto that never really goes further than saying the word “shit,” one of the few genuine shocks is the casting of Sinders herself. While the dancers, perpetually pawing at Prince Charming, are young enough to be his daughters, Sinderella, the object of pre-cum-soaked lust for every male character, is an age-appropriate actress of 45. Don’t misunderstand; she’s an attractive lady, but it must have gone against Jim’s chauvinist instincts not to hire a 22-year-old to stage-kiss with. It’s official; Jim Davidson is more progressive than Tom “in his fifties but always with a twenty-something love interest” Cruise. The actress in question is Dianne Lee from Peters and Lee, a British folk-pop duo who had success through the seventies and eighties, after winning Opportunity Knocks.

The plum role of every panto is the dame, with Cinderella-proper’s Ugly Sisters possibly the most iconic. Jim’s twosome are named Camilla and Madonna, with the former a reference to Prince Charles’ then-mistress, now-wife, that’d long since been beaten to death by tabloids and panel shows; and the latter, even by ’95, a badly-dated excuse to get an overweight bloke into a pointy bra. Of vague casting note is Camilla’s Roger Kitter, whose career highlights were taking over the role of Italian stereotype Bertorelli for one season in ‘Allo ‘Allo, and a minor hit with John McEnroe-themed novelty single, Chalk Dust – the Umpire Strikes Back. For the role of Prince Charming, Jim went back to the good ol’ days, with swinging sixties singer and personality Jess Conrad, dressed here like Evel Knievel, with a massive dick-bulge in the front of his tights, while Dandini, who has no further credits to his name, truly seems like someone they found manning the till at B&Q.

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SILF

But the selling point of every panto is the big celebrity name on the marquee. In recent years, the likes of Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff have spent their Christmases earning megabucks throwing sweets at kids. Hell, down here once, we had Wolf from Gladiators. Who then, for Sinderella? Ladies and gents, starring, not as Baron Hard-up, but Baron Hardon (like a stiff willy!), Charlie Drake. A popular oldschool slapstick comic in the fifties and sixties, Drake is best known for the incident during a live broadcast, when he was smashed through a breakaway bookcase that had been — as legend tells — ‘fixed’ by a disgruntled crew member because he was such a nob. Out like a fucking light, Drake’s floppy carcass was heaved through a window of the set, right on top of his head. Unable to break the fall, he spent the next three days in a coma after cracking his skull, and didn’t return to work for two years. But in the years leading up to Sinderella, Drake had made only a handful of cameos onscreen, with his last regular work, a role in BBC’s Bleak House, a decade prior.

As Sinderella gets under way, the wizened Drake’s big intro, with the dancers reverentially applauding and his arms outstretched like he’s finally come home, is played like the grand entrance of a showbiz legend, but his catchphrase “Hello, my darlings” gets zero audience reaction. I’m not overly familiar with the Baron Hard-Up character this is based on, but apparently he’s a paedophile munchkin. From the opening scene, it’s immediately clear that there’s no budget, and this is Hell.

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The first mistake was selling the illusion of a genuine panto by having the audience pretend that they’re children, and addressing them as ‘boys and girls’. The 40-something Davidson does his lines in a bouncy, schoolboy cadence, while the chorus line are likewise supposed to be kids, spoken to in baby-talk like one would a toddler, by men winking to the audience that they’re going to fuck them. It’s creative choices like these which mark Charlie Drake’s grim introductory scene as the perfect storm of post-Savile horrors.

As the dancers stand in a line, the gnomish seventy-year-old Drake lecherously shuffles along, stopping by each female to clasp their hands inside his, and to offer sweets. To a “little girl” who informs him “I’d do anything to be famous!” he gives two sweeties, while the next baby-voiced woman, who “hasn’t had it yet” gets a frantically tossed handful, as Drake makes a cum face. The whole thing feels like a Crimewatch recreation of Yewtree allegations, especially when the male dancer’s brushed past with a brisk “fuck off!” The final girl, when given a Mars Bar, asks “may I suck it later?” His excited reply — “a star is born!” Back then, this was just hacky shite, but as we stand in the nuclear winter of the Weinstein fallout, such routines accidentally work on a satirical level, exposing the regularly-groped underbelly of backstage showbiz. Even Drake’s asides to the audience — “hello little girl; like a sweetie?” — are straight up noncery, capping the scene by asking a woman to open her legs so he can sling a Mars Bar up there.

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Later, Drake gives his daughter Sinders a great big wobbly black dildo — black dicks always funnier than white ones to yer Davidsons — that vibrates so hard, it shakes the set. “What’s it for, daddy?” she asks, in that sickly baby voice, and proceeds to say the word “daddy” about a thousand times, giving Sinderella the feel of something that can only be viewed on the Dark Web. Eventually, he tells her to rub it three times to see “the genie of the prick.” At this point in proceedings, Baron Hardon disappears from the story. Given Drake’s performance, sleepwalking through muttered lines with the disdain of a man reading recently-discovered letters from his wife to her secret lover, presumably he was in the dressing room writing his suicide note, and cursing the fact he’s not tall enough to sling a belt over the light fitting. Though when he does return, it’s immediately obvious just how he spent that time [does the charades mime for ‘necking back a load of booze’].

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Like most times a comedian leaves the safety of their stage act, the terrible dialogue is created by crowbarring Jim’s existing stand-up observations into the empty spaces in the script. Quite often, punchlines stand aside for straight-up vulgarity, such as Prince Charming’s zinger — “A dragon in the woods? If it’s got big tits, I’ll give it one!” Jim’s erection honks whenever he touches it. A Fairy Godmother shits herself. Literally never does Sinderella surprise you with a well-crafted joke. In fact, the times it stops the farting long enough to present the structure of an actual joke, it’s this kind of thing:

Buttons: “The difference between Sinderella’s sister’s fanny and a cricket ball? If push came to shove, I reckon I could just about eat a cricket ball.

Or

Prince: “Now look here, you country person!

Buttons: “Don’t you call me a tree person. And stop using my first name!

This outrageously-clunky line, Jim decides, having failed to land with the audience at all, is so clever, we’ll need to rewind the VHS a few times to get it. But fear not, there are simpler yuks to be had for non brain-geniuses, such as the naked man being chased offstage by Camilla, who’s chased back by a pantomime horse with a 4 foot erection. This leads, when Jim opens a door to reveal her being fucked by the horse, to an odd dig about the Freemasons. Perhaps the Sin of the title refers to Jim’s Pride, constantly peppering the script with his personal gripes; expensive divorces, the police, getting done for drink driving; and all the repressed homophobia, with everyone going on about great big cocks all the time. Women get it too, with one non-sequitur where he points at his dick, rolling his eyes about the illness women get every month; in another, he breaks from the script to parrot other character’s lines in a ‘deaf voice’ while mimicking sign language.

Much of Jim’s regular stage act is of the “laughing at woofters” variety, but here, his homophobia mostly raises its head in the kind of latent obsession you see in right-wing politicians who spend their political careers denouncing the foul perversion of gays before inevitably being caught in a toilet cubicle with one. There’s one accusative catcall at the man in the orchestra pit — “he’s a homosexual” — and a couple of puns about big poofs, but the whole show is awash with a tsunami of jokes about enormous penises, with the running gag of Prince Charming’s massive nob, requiring a condom like a windsock, taking up at least a third of the script. The DVD cover shows a young lady (who doesn’t appear in the show) hiking up her dress to reveal stockinged legs and a bare bum, but any straight banter-boys watching Sinderella for titillation won’t even be able to rouse a semi, cos there’s not a sniff of boobs, and this show is all about the dick.

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Dick-pie

As anyone who reads my Twitter knows, I love a good cum joke, but every other line in Sinderella is “would you like to come on my boat” or “I’ve come all the way from the palace” or some other semen-based innuendo. I swear, there are at least twenty jokes based around ejaculatory double-meaning, and with the obvious obsession over giant throbbing cocks spraying cum all over the place, you’d be forgiven for assuming Jim spends all his time thinking about sucking on a nice thick one, the bigger the better. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, but this is the man who was kicked off 2007’s Hell’s Kitchen for referring to a gay fellow contestant as a “shirt-lifter.”

Heading into this, I had imagined the audience would be the kind of howling morons in jester hats you see at the darts, kicking their feet in the air and literally rolling in the aisles. But rather, in its frequent cuts to the audience, at least half of them look bored, sat next to spouses with their chins resting on their hands. Evidently, the sort of people who’ll laugh at Davidson’s blue material aren’t into the kind of audience participation required to make a panto seem like it isn’t conducted in a mortuary. Given the quality of the show, who can blame them? If I were to encapsulate Sinderella‘s script in a single moment, it would be the part when Sinders gives Jim a peck on the cheek, and he runs offstage with “I’m going for a wank!

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Sinderella is loaded with obviously-scripted bloopers, with none of the charm of those in the Bottom Live stage shows. One sees Camilla mistakenly refer to Prince Charming as Prince Charles, in a topical reference so witty, it puts a halt to the show while corpsing performers gather themselves. This is a constant theme throughout, with a purveying sense of false anarchy, where Jim’s perpetually doubled over in laughter, and every fart noise (of which there are many), sees the cast breaking character and meeting each other’s eyes. These kind of chuckling-at-your-own-lines performances exist solely to get across the great time the actors are having, as though it will magically transfer to the audience. The cast constantly breaks character at Jim’s lines, I suspect, to give the impression that he’s improvising the whole thing, and is such, a comedic genius, leading us through this fucking jazz panto, in the equivalent of a band noodling away as he runs through his material on big dicks n balls; “looks like a golf driver, don’t it?” “look at the drivers on him.” “what a pair of drivers!” Why, it’s like the glory days of Second City! Although it seems like Drake’s blunders, constantly forgetting lines and props, are genuine, because, in what turns out to be the real story of Sinderella, he doesn’t give a shit, and is incredibly drunk.

race

In such a broad setting, one might fear for an unrestrained Jim Davidson’s lack of subtlety in the arena of race-based humour; his trademark. His most famous bit by far is the Chalky White character. Though ‘character’ is a generous way to describe a gammon-faced prick doing a cartoon West Indian voice to act out the foolish antics of a fictional black mate; like Irish jokes painted up with boot polish. Jim even released a 7-inch single in 1980, performed entirely in Chalky’s voice (blackvoice?). Festively enough, it’s a cover of White Christmas, featuring steel drums, the line “break open a coconut,” and Jim breaking character at the end to wish the child backing singers a nauseating Merry Christmas — “Merry Christmas, Uncle Jim.”

While there’s not a single black face in the many shots of the audience, there is one in the small cast. Initially, this is surprising, but within the first three minutes, all becomes clear. In the opening scene, Jim exits the stage past a line of dancers, greeting the lone dancer of colour with “Skin one up, man!” in his Chalky voice, and slapping out a double high five. Because that’s what black people do; smoke weed and high five. Barring one scene, the black man is cast as the punch line in every interaction, and during Drake’s paedo-with-sweets bit, he’s told to piss off as he’s in the wrong show; “Five Guys Named Moe, up the road!” His one speaking line comes as a dame walks in brandishing an oversized prop piece of meat, for no reason other than to ask “Do you want a joint?” Now in dreadlocks, he replies in a Bob Marley voice, “No ‘tank you, me have one of me own!”, revealing a foot-long spliff. Even the cod-reggae riff of The Police’s Walking on the Moon is enough for Jim to sing a line from it in a fucking minstrel voice. But Jim’s an equal opportunities racist, and also has a pop at Chinese takeaways, informing us that “fish wipe their chads (?) on the seaweed,” before slitting his eyes and bucking his teeth to properly intone “you wan’ fishy or no fishy?!” The PC Police have robbed us of some real comedy gold, haven’t they?

Jim-Davidson-stand-up-and-007

But aside from the dick-stuff, noncing, and racist bollocks, how does Sinderella fill its 95 minute runtime? I was worried there’d be musical numbers. As evidenced by his discography, Jim’s not averse to singing, especially in earnest “and this is me” character-dropping power-ballad show-closers. But the closest thing to a heartfelt number occurs when he stuffs a whole apple into his mouth, core and all, and spends Joe Cocker’s Up Where We Belong spitting gob-fulls of it into the audience and Sinders’ face. It’s absolutely disgusting, though markedly less distressing than the other two songs, which we’ll get to soon.

Another oddity is the smattering of weird, always slightly-wrong Star Trek references, which suggest he was watching TNG videos on the tour bus, inbetween angry wanks over posters of the WWF’s British Bulldog. There’s “beam me up Data,” a Vulcan salute while referring to William Shatner, and a mumbled “elementary, Riker,” which gets silence from the audience, and seems to conflate Star Trek with Sherlock Holmes.

piss

When Charlie Drake eventually returns to the story, he’s even drunker than before. If he was a few sheets to the wind in the first half, after the interval, he could’ve belched over a lit match and roasted the entire audience to ash, Game of Thrones style. Actors are told to project to the cheap seats, but he’s so low-energy, it’s like watching someone use their dying breath to plead “just leave me here” from the bottom of a well after breaking every bone on the way down. What fine timing, then, for Charlie Drunk to lead the crowd through a lengthy musical number that’s literally just a play on the word arseholes (“what a beautiful fish… are soles”).

Where ‘adult panto’ doesn’t work is when it turns into audience karaoke, and the cameras repeatedly cut back to an audience rooted statue-like to their seats and self-consciously mumbling the lyrics under their breath. Children — the normal panto demographic — love joining in, but Jim’s fanbase of gruff brickies, Sun-reading dunces, and football men who think crying over their child’s cot-death is for poofs aren’t going to sing along. Consequently, like he wishes he would for real, Drake dies a horrible death up there, and you couldn’t have harnessed the energy in that room to power a lightbulb.

aresoles

Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

As the show creeps wraith-like towards its closing act, his drunkenness becomes too obvious for even the cast to ignore. Jim makes an aside about his stinky booze-breath, before Drake seems to improvise a ditty about being “a gnu, with shit on my shoe.” As bad as Sinderella was up to this point, from here on in, it’s an absolute shambles, as the elderly Charlie Drake, either in a scripted fuck-up, or just being a gross old drunk man, substitutes the scripted “fondling” for the line “fingerin’ a fuckin’ hitchhiker,” complete with protracted mime, and gleefully sucking on his fingerin’ finger. For ages. I’ve not eaten since. This entire section is chaos, with Drake barely able to stay upright and going on about “fuckin’ a fuckin’ lizard,” while Jim cackles in hysterics. In fact, Jim’s soft, off-camera “oh no” when Drake tries to put Sinders’ slipper on while it’s still in his pocket instead of in his hand is the most genuine moment of the show, and merely one of the punchlines ruined when the old pro forgets a prop. Charlie Drake’s visible contempt for the material, the audience, and himself for participating, makes this one of the great/tragic drunken late-career performances.

bell

Finally, I must tackle, at some length, the most extraordinary section of the show. For no reason at all, in a bubble outside of the story, Jim marches onto the empty stage and breaks into the song Nothing I’d Rather Be. You know the one. If I were singing it right now, it would go something like “If I were not a book writer, something else I’d rather be. If I were not a book writer, a serial killer, me!” It originated as a campfire song for scouts, but its structure as a ’round’, where everyone sings their lines over each other, like “row row row your boat,” makes sense as a panto standard. Each performer’s verse has associated actions, meaning the others standing in the line have to duck or react each time, like clockwork toys. With me? Okay.

So, the chorus for all posits “If I were not upon the stage…” Jim’s first out, and he’d be a bus conductor. “Full inside, two up top, and move along — ding ding!” The Fairy Godmother’s next, and she’d be a doctor. You get the idea. By number three, the brainstorm session over jobs has already run dry, with this wonderfully creative refrain — “If I were not upon the stage, an actor I would be.” If I wasn’t acting, I’d be an actor? Brilliant. But the cast keeps on coming. What next; another bus conductor? Here’s Ugly Sister Camilla — “If I were not upon the stage, a Gestapo officer, me!” Let’s take a look.

nazi

Nazi uniform with a Hitler tash, and a gigantic yellow star around his neck — you know, what the Jews had to wear during the holocaust — hanging there like a swinger’s medallion. He’s Seig Heiling and jackbooting, and it’s all a great big laugh. Though this is the first moment to made me sit upright and paw at my eyes with my fists to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, for all its obvious try-hard offense, it’s almost a child’s idea of a Nazi. “Jackboots… Hitler tash; they all had them, yeah? Eyepatch, Helga wig… big yellow star? Think I’ve seen them somewhere.” It’s at once trying for the easy shock laugh from its audience of morons, and wilfully ignorant of history. When the other Ugly Sister follows, the combination of one after the other somehow succeeds in making them both worse; a greater sum of their terrible parts.

rabbi

Dressed as the kind of portrayal of a Rabbi you’d expect to see next to an advert for bullets in a White Nationalist newsletter, the giant comedy scissors are there to aid the actions of his verse, which goes “Snip it here, snip it there, oy vey, I’ve cut it off!” As another example of how a man who uses Nazis as a joke in 1995 hasn’t moved on, Jess Conrad’s rather-be is a Teddy Boy, which is a spectacularly outdated reference. Because the song starts anew each time someone else comes out, this section goes on forever. Seriously, it’s 6 ½ minutes, with the final dozen or so verses, where everyone’s long-since given up, just a hellish cacophony of cluttered noise.

boobs

Starring Ricky Gervais

Anyone who survived the ordeal of Sinderella would find no respite, as Jim Davidson persisted with 1999’s Boobs in the Wood. I’ll confess, I had planned on reviewing that here too, but there’s only so much a man can take. Maybe next year, if I’m at another low point. Still, the nineties, eh? It was a different time. But this was pre-911, so as we’ve discussed, old. We’ve moved on since then. Except, almost a full decade later, Jim went touring with a sequel, 2004’s Sinderella Comes Again, taking his 70’s style mucky panto into the 21st century. Incredibly for how frail he looked in the first one, like a pickled homunculus of Mick Hucknall, Charlie Drake would reprise his role, aged 79. This would be his final credit. And what an indignant end to the career of Drake; chucking a raspberry flavoured condom to an embarrassed man in the front row, and telling him to “have a quick fuck and pass it round.”

The sequel also saw Jess Conrad and Dianne Lee return, again unlocking the strange realisation that Jim Davidson, of all people, has written a sexy leading lady role for a 54-year-old woman. Never one to use a reference while it’s still fresh, 2004’s Ugly Sisters are called Vagina and Viagra. Amazingly, in 2011, Davidson was aiming to complete the trilogy with Sinderella 3, but once written, he could neither afford to fund the production, nor convince his envisioned leads, Bradley Walsh and Junior Simpson, to join the cast.

finger

Where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to see

Though this show plainly belongs in the toilet, adult panto can be done well. Look at The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You. They’ve clearly paid attention to the medium, and it’s fun, camp, festive, and an absolute joy. Since its release, …Are Behind You has joined Scrooged as a yearly watch for me. Sinderella, on the other hand, is severely lacking in a panto feel, with a few static performers on a big, empty stage in front of a single backdrop. If Davidson wanted to emulate a British Christmas institution, he’s unintentionally succeeded, as it perfectly captures the grim, amateur tedium of sitting through a school nativity. Perhaps the whole thing is a Jacob’s Ladder deathbed vision of Charlie Drake, still laying on the floor of that studio in 1961, bleeding out from a fatal head-wound, as gaffers stand around to watch him die.

The worst part of all this is that it’s clearly pitched as a Christmas present. Christmas Day 1995, there were those, likely numbering in their thousands, eyeing an obvious VHS-shaped parcel under the tree, hoping to find Red Dwarf’s Smeg Ups, or Danny Baker’s Own Goals and Gaffs, but tearing off the paper to reveal this monstrosity. Just imagine having to sit through it after your turkey. Children, who in 2017, would be vainly arguing with their Daily Mail-reading parents about immigrants, spent that one bleak, mid-nineties Christmas afternoon putting on a brave face at all the jizz-gags, while in his chair in the corner, Dad was chuckling, while also secretly annoyed there weren’t even any tits in it.

But in all its failures, in a way, Sinderella is as representative of the British Christmas as anything. What’s more festive than going back to your childhood home and sitting through an episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys, stony-faced, as your parents rock with laughter, free to do so now we’re out of the EU? Keep your Snowman and your Muppet Christmas Carol; this is as festive as it gets. Whether you like it or not, that sound of audience laughter as Jim Davidson and a pissed Charlie Drake shriek about big dicks; this is the Merry, oh the very Merriest, British Brexit Christmas.

Alright? I’ve got a Patreon now, with loads of stuff like this. Check it out and maybe sling me some cash.

 

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~ by Stuart on December 11, 2017.

6 Responses to “I Watched Jim Davidson’s Adult Panto (Because I Hate Myself)”

  1. Absolutely blinding deep dive into Sinderella — I always at least expected that it would be a lavish romp, but it turned out to be a proper sad spectacle.

  2. Cunt.

  3. My word, that is a spectacularly good piece of writing. Really enjoyed reading it. The bit about charlie at the bottom of the well put me away! I had to re-read many passages just to properly take in their brilliance.

  4. About 20 years ago, I went to a NYE party at the house of friends of my girlfriend’s parents. When we arrived, at about 6.30pm, the husband was about three quarters of the way through watching Mike Reid’s own “blue panto” video (one of his Christmas presents), so we all had to watch it to the end with him.

    His elderly mother was there too, and she was clearly uncomfortable with the constant barrage of “fuck” and “cunt”. It was thoroughly surreal and one of the most awkward experiences of my life.

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