BENTINE'S POTTY TIME - THE COMPLETE SECOND SERIES
DVD region 0. Network.
I was a kid, ITV's children's programming was, for some reason,
the forbidden fruit. While the commercial channel was perfectly
fine for evening viewing, the kiddie TV slot was firmly reserved
for the BBC, and so I only ever caught rare glimpses of ITV stalwarts
like Magpie, The Tomorrow People
and Potty Time, usually when I'd flicked channels
while unsuccessfully trying to retune the Tv to pick up distant
ITV regions that were showing things like Return to the
Planet of the Apes and Batman.
But although I only ever saw a couple of episodes, Potty
Time stuck in my memory for years, with it's strange
puppets, weird sets and madcap humour. And thankfully, for once
memory hasn't played tricks on me, as this double DVD set proves
the show to be hugely entertaining stuff.
by Bentine - the very definition of dapper - and his puppet assistant
Professor Potsworthy, the format is simple - the pair look up
a subject in the Potty Encyclopaedia and then meet the protagonists
in assorted historical or literary tales, who tell their story
in a decidedly potty manner. And what is a potty? Well,
it’s a four-fingered puppet about a foot tall that has its
face obscured by a mass of hair. Not the most sophisticated of
characters perhaps, but entirely suited for the stories, written
by Bentine, that have enough of his Goonish comedy traits to work
for both kids and adults.
The stories took two formats – either the full sized Potty
characters would tell a fairly character-led tale, or else we’d
have elaborate sets where invisible Potties would enact larger
scale tales, with rickety cars wobbling across the scenery with
hilarious ineptness. You can sometimes catch glimpses of the puppeteers,
which rather adds to the fun.
Silly, surreal and low rent, Potty Time remains
entertaining - I imagine this might be as much fun for kids today
as it was back in the 1970s, and adults will get a nostalgic thrill
from it too.
IT NOW (UK)