Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dear Ladies, the fairest of all to see

Dame Evadne Hinge (George Logan) and Doctor Hilda Bracket (Patrick Fyffe) known as Hinge and Bracket, were an old-fashioned musical act, with a speciality in gentle "old lady" comedy.

I got to see Hinge and Bracket perform live in Morecambe a few years ago, shortly before Hinge died. They were great. Their audience was made up of pensioners and gay men. Bracket sat at the piano, while Hinge sang, and the pair of them reminicised about their lives in the fictional village of Stackton Tressle while keeping up a steady flow of bitchery.

Their tv series from the early 1980s ran for 3 seasons. The BBC has never bothered to release any of it on video or DVD (preferring to flood the market with a seemingly bottomless pit of naff Only Fools and Horses DVDs) but the following clip from youtube should give you a taste.

They live a life of complete Englishness, trapped in a timewarp from just after World War II. New-fangled inventions, such as lifts, cash card machines and a self-service garage are all sources of confusion. Both of them appear to be bordering on Alzeihmers Disease, judging from the cheerful obliviousness that they conduct their lives with.

And fabulously, you can get every episode from The Hinge and Bracket Official website. My DVDs arrived yesterday, so I've been enjoying them for the first time - I was too young to know about them when they were first shown on BBC2. A lot of the humour comes from the mannerisms of the two comedians, especially Hinge, who has a wonderfully comic face.

I find it hilarious that on the links page to the Hinge and Bracket website, there is a link to the Anthony Newley Appreciation Society, who happens to be another of my favourites. His rendition of "The Joker" (theme tune to Kath and Kim) is about the most fun you can have in three minutes.


KAZ said...

I missed out on Hinge and Bracket - but Anthony Newley was the first love of my life.
I saw him at the Floral Hall in Southport of all places... Southport and Morecambe - how urbane can you get?

jetpack said...

I used to like their show when I was a kid. I knew there was something unusual about them but was surprised when my mum told me they weren't really women

Old Cheeser said...

I remember "Dear Ladies" on tv quite well. They were a great bitchy double-act, with Hinge more often-than not taking the p*ss out of poor old Brackett. They also had this wonderful time-warped sense of gentility, yet there was something almost subversive about them I can't quite put my finger on (perhaps one reason is that they were really men...?)

My favourite episode was one in which Hinge got Brackett an radio-controlled model of Concorde for her birthday. They took it out for a test-run whist having a birthday picnic out in the countryside. When Hinge announced that the birthday cake was ready, Brackett forgot to "land" / switch-off the model plane properly and it ended up nose-diving into the cake. Very silly.

In fact thinking about it, what exactly was going on with these two? Two old spinsters living under one roof, who sniped and bitched at each other constantly, yet who were almost "married"? Mmmm...