After what must be more than ten years, Laurel & Hardy are finally returning to UK television, via Talking Pictures television.
It’s really good to see them back. Talking Pictures might not be a high profile channel like the BBC, but it cares about these films, and is giving them primetime airings, which has been virtually unheard of for the last 20+ years.
This is a crucial time for these films to be on TV, with many of the younger generation less aware of who Stan and Babe are (Eugh…that sentence makes me feel very old!). So, if you can access Talking pictures (Freeview 81 – but you need a Freeview HD TV), let’s all watch them to boost the ratings and share the screenings with family and friends.
There will be an autumn season featuring their best Roach features, beginning with BLOCKHEADS on September 1.
You can find the schedule for the channel here.
UPDATE: here are the L and H showing times in the next week. I’ve had a lot of traffic to this post, and some messages from some people new to the team so I’ve included brief synopses for those discovering them for the first time (you lucky people!)
Mon 4 Sept : PARDON US – 1400. Their first feature film, a prison spoof. Uneven and dated, but some great bits in.
Tue 5 Sept : PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES – 1800. The boys act as surrogate parents for the daughter of their army buddy who has been killed in WW1 and try to reunite her with her family. Not easy when the family name is Smith… One of their most underrated features IMHO.
Weds 6 Sept, 1800: SAPS AT SEA. the boys take a sea voyage to cure Ollie’s ‘hornophobia!’
Thurs 7 Sept, 1800: WAY OUT WEST. The all time classic featuring the boys having misadventures in the Wild West, complete with ‘The Trail of the Lonesome Pine! This one and BLOCKHEADS are the ones to show your kids first – they’re the ones that got me hooked 20-odd years ago anyway!
Fri 8 Sept 1800: THE BOHEMIAN GIRL. One of their operettas. The plot and singing are tedious but the boys have some great routines.
Sat 9 Sept, 1800: A CHUMP AT OXFORD. The boys are gifted a scholarship to Oxford when they stop a bank robbery. Whilst there, it emerges that Stan is actually a long lost aristocrat, Lord Paddington… Slow to start but the second half is some of their funniest material.
Sun 10 Sept, 12.35: SWISS MISS. Another operetta, telling the boys’ tales selling mousetraps in Switzerland, and getting mixed up with a composer and his wife. Highlight: trying to carry a piano across a ravine rope bridge, as an escaped gorilla wanders the mountains!
Mon 11 Sept: 1400 WAY OUT WEST.
Followed by another screening of BLOCKHEADS at 1830
Tues 12 Sept: 1400 PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES
Weds 13 Sept, 1400: SAPS AT SEA
Thurs 14 Sept, 1400: THE BOHEMIAN GIRL. One of their operettas. The plot and singing are tedious but the boys have some great routines.
Fri 15 Sept, 0835: SAPS AT SEA
1600: SONS OF THE DESERT. Their other all time classic!
SUN 16 Sept, 1700: OUR RELATIONS. Another rather underrated, marvellous comedy – the boys have twin sailor brothers, which causes no end of mix ups.
Then, a bit of a hiatus, picking up again at:
19.50 on Sun 24 September: THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE. A curiosity rather than a comedy classic, this is a short (mute) colour film the boys made to promote wood products.
14.00 on Tues 26 September: PARDON US
13.35 , Weds 27 September: THE STOLEN JOOLS. Another curio, an all star charity short for respiratory disease, bizarrely promoted by Chesterfield cigarettes. The boys are the brief highlight, but also look out for Buster Keaton, Wheeler & Woolsey and the Our Gang kids.
19.50, Thurs 28th September: Another outing for that gorilla and piano – it’s SWISS MISS again.
12.00 on Sun 1st October: PARDON US.
Finally, set your record buttons for the early hours of Sunday night/Monday Morning on 1st/2nd October for these public domain L & H chestnuts:
03:50 THE LUCKY DOG. A Stan Laurel solo short with a brief appearance from L & H
04:10 THE FLYING DEUCES. The boys join the foreign legion to help Ollie forget a beautiful French girl
05:30 L & H HOME MOVIES.
That’s as far as the schedule currently runs. I’ll update when more appear.
L & H are a regular feature in the blog here, why not check through the archives for film reviews, rare images and forgotten corners of their careers?