What better time to discuss a pantomime DVD than in the middle of February! It’s been a rather chaotic few months, but in a good way. I’m currently writing this in my new ‘home’ in a converted mill in Otley, which will serve as the Skerratt Media nerve centre until circumstances necessitate another move! Until such times, I’m very comfortable, and grateful for the opportunity to commit these musings to virtual paper.

These musings come with the usual preface – Skerratt Media doesn’t own / produce Sooty etc. etc., (count your lucky stars!) But yours truly is guilty of writing some of the scripts, which is why I’m talking about the Sooty: Panto Palaver DVD, which came out in… October? Or was it November? It was ages ago, anyway!

And on this particular, shiny edition, I contributed three scripts. Note the words ‘contributed’ and ‘scripts,’ because a lot of the ideas were born of other brains. But I kind of broke those ideas into scenes and added a few jokes of my own. So if anyone is wondering where ‘Giggleswick’ suddenly sprung from in the pantomime episode, just ask! Or, delve into the depths of TV comedy history…

So yes, the pantomime episode was my first non-original contribution to this splendid and varied digital versatile disc. It was actually based on a Matthew Corbett episode of the 1980s, which is one of my absolute all-time favourites. In the original, the gang are house-bound, thanks to the Teddy Town snowstorm of 1981, so they decide to host their own production of, erm, Little Blue Riding Hood…! But in the 2013 version, the setup is slightly different. Some travelling thespians, known as The Giggleswick Players, have failed to turn up at Slater’s Holiday Park, meaning that Sooty, Sweep and Soo are forced to play all the pantomime parts themselves, with disastrous results! The episode stirs up really happy memories for me, so I’m glad that it made the cut in the Sooty Series Two line-up.

My next contribution was Sooty Takes Off, which uses the same name and some of the ideas from a Harry Corbett episode of 1962. But, truthfully, this endeavour was a joint attempt between myself and Richard Cadell. After watching the episode in the top-secret viewing room of the Harry Corbett archive, we bashed out a scene breakdown over a brew and a banana, which I then scriptified on my return to the Menston-hood. Personally, I love this episode, and not just because I was involved in its conception, (anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m far too self-deprecating to admit that my work is anything but passable at best.) Nay, I just love the visuals – the miniature aeroplane, the gang’s cute outfits… The whole thing has a warm, fuzzy appearance which harks back to the 1960s, and this old gent totes digs dose tings, yo!

Finally, and most interestingly, we have Disco Disco! The brainchild of uber-fan Aaron Price, this episode went on a real evolutionary journey. I believe it first surfaced on Facebook in 2011 / 2012, and Aaron, employing the finest techniques of cyber detection, managed to land it on the desk of the Cadell-meister himself, who chose to adapt it for the upcoming season. So candidly, and not at all self-deprecatingly, this shenanigan owes a lot to himself and Aaron. Yours truly mainly structured the thing, and subtly suggested Lily Allen for the part of the pop star who comes to the crippled disco’s aid. But of course, the gig ultimately went to the estimable B*Witched, so sorry Lily – c’est la vie!

As an aside, I think it’s a testament to the awesomeness of this modern age that three writers can work on a script without being in the same room. In fact, I still haven’t met the mysterious Aaron Price, and yet we continue to work together, (check out Skerratt Media’s upcoming animated project, The Trimmings.) I fear that if our paths ever cross outside the confines of cybserspace, the whole fabric of the space-time continuum will unravel, and we’ll all tumble headlong into the abyss…!

Bye bye, everybody… Bye bye 🙂