Eighties TV Season: Sticky Moments Episode 3

Continuing a series of posts about 1980s TV shows which haven't appeared here before. It's actually giving me some difficulty because I'm finding so many shows are well nigh impossible to write about (what can you say about Alas Smith and Jones, for example?) or not from the eighties at all.

Which brings me nicely to the show that was on my original list of possibles but that I didn't think I would actually write about because nobody would believe it. It's Sticky Moments with Julian Clary. Unusually for this blog I'm going to be more descriptive than usual because frankly you don't criticise this show for fear of getting a razor sharp put down, you just have to experience it and be glas you're only in the audience and weren't chosen as a contestant while you were waiting to go in. You can see this show in its entirety on YouTube because, let's face it, nobody is going to give this show a commercial release. However if you have familiy who vote Tory/Republican it may be useful entertainment over Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Julian had a stand up act through the eighties where he would go through the audience's handbags and make Fanny the Wonderdog do tricks. This is all the introduction you will get to him and don't say you haven't been warned.

Julian starts the episode by saying that he wanted to call the show Stick Your Hand Up but they wouldn't let him. Then he greets his pianist, the lovely Russell Churney (a brilliant pianist and entertainer who has since died) and comments that he can feel the audience's empathy for Russell coming across in a whoosh. Or thrush.

Can you tell that this programme is bang up my street?

Then Julian's glamorous assistant Hugh Jelly, brings on the first three contestants who have been chosen by Julian from the queue outside. Julian asks Andrew, the first, what he has come as tonight, but it turns out he has come as himself. Julian comments that he obviously doesn't have children. The second centestant is Duncan from Tooting who makes models. He would like to spend the night on a desert island with Samantha Fox, and so has lost all his support from the audience. The third contestant is Jan from Romford who gets a cheer. She's married with four children who she thinks are boys, she's not sure about Jamie. Luckily Jamie is in the audience and Julian makes him stand up but merely comments that he is the fruit of Jan's loins. Jan has met Pele, and comments that he dribbles a bit. Julian comments that he is very much like Duncan in that respect.

I won't trouble you with the next three contestants apart from Adrian. Julian brushes some dandruff off his shoulder, and Adrian says his ambition is to leave the country. The others are Stephen and Angela.

THe first game is called True of False where the contestants in turn have to say whether statements made by Julian are true or false. Stephen doesn't get a point because he says it's true that King Kong is a film about a big monkey, but Julian says it's clearly a satire on Stalin's Russia.

The next game is called Find a Friend. Julian asks Hugh Jelly to take his question cards away and put them where the sun don't shine. The first three contestants have to find a friend among the second three contestants, so they pair up. Then the pairs have to dance to music, which is Strauss, then the Charleston (they actually do really well to this), then some rock and roll. Marks are awarded according to how they did. 

After the interval we lose the two contestants with the lowest points, who get a consolation prize of a bust of Fanny the Wonder Dog.

The next game is called Complete the Quotation, with the first part naturally being given by Julian. Of course nobody would expect the quotations to be sensible and Adrian is commendably not floored when expected to complete 'Gor blimey said the Duchess'. For the record, the full quotation is 'Gor blimey, said the Duchess, as she waved her wooden leg'. It turns out this was an expression Julian's grandfather used to say.

For the next game the contestants get on big yellow couches because it's called On the Couch with Julian, where he puts them in a theoretical situation and they have to choose from a multiple choice of reactions. This is to enable Julian to get under their skin to get to know their character better. Duncan gets an absurd 51 points for saying that if he caught his brother stealing from their mother's purse he would expect a cut.

Imaginative Painting is the next game, and the contestants have to paint a portrait of Julian, which must be a flattering likeness and uncanny and unnatural. Russell plays some Debussy while they're painting and Hugh calls out comments. Do I need to say that they're rude? Duncan's painting Julian's costume in purple paint even though it isn't purple and Julian and Hugh go into a discussion of whether he is merely colour blind or high on drugs. Adrian hasn't given Julian a nose at all, and Julian comments that the portrait looks very much like Judith Chalmers. Adrian comments that it would have been better if he's had another two minutes and Julian retorts that that's what they all say. We lose Jan and Andrew at this point, which leaves Duncan and Adrian in the final.

THey have to face the gruelling challenge of the Sticky Moments School of Acting and perform First Man on Mars with Julian. One is Julian, the captain's assistant, and the other is an alien, and they are given a script to read from. They're in a space ship but there's something wrong with the rest of the crew and they can't be roused. Of course the Captain is named Gorgeous, which gives very much the effect of Captain Darling in Blackadder. Julian naturally winds them up to huge over-acting and honestly this is one of the best dramas you could ever wish to see. Then they all sing This Old House together.

And so we come to the last game which is called Sticky Moments and the contestants each have a plate of marsh mallows and they eat two if they get questions right, the winner being the one left with fewest at the end. THe questions are all about sticky substances or moments. For example Lee Harvey Oswald had a sticky moment in February 1963 when he forgot to take his library books back.

Duncan is the winner. He gets crowned and we see him being driven off in a Rolls at the end, while Adrian is driven in a motorcycle sidecar.

The show ends with Julian singing a song he's written himself called Uncanny and Unnatural. As it happens there is a video of this online so you get a song to end the blogpost (if it hadn't been, you would have got Julian singing Anarchy in the UK):

There is a home-spun, DIY quality to the show despite the sets and costumes, because in reality you could play all of these games at home,  and it's quite different from any other game show. I love this approach.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, explains Channel Four's reputation in its early days. The world would be so much better if TV was still like this.

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