Bona Birthday Greetings

I was leafing through an old copy of “The Corselet and Cummerbund Enquirer”, which I read for the spot the ball competition, when I discovered that I share a birthday with two of my favourite fictional characters, for 50 years ago, the BBC broadcast the wonderful, sorry, that should be, the fantabulosa Julian and Sandy, created by Marty Feldman and Barry Took and bought to life by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams.

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The radio show “Round the Horne”, was into the fourth week of its first series. The show was basically a sketch show with straight man Kenneth Horne at the centre. Mr Horne was an unlikely comedy star, a balding, aging, business man possesed with nothing more discernible on first appearance than a rather fruity voice.  He was, in fact, the perfect foil for the motley crew of subversive outrageous characters that surrounded him – Ms Julie Coolibar, Daphne Whitethighs, J Peasmold Gruntfuttock, Gerald Monkshabit, Dame Celia Molestrangler and Rambling Syd Rumpo to name but a few.  But the most outrageous of them all were Julian and Sandy, played to perfection by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams.

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The initial appearance of Jules and Sand, as a pair of out of work chorus boys, in-between jobs, on 28th March 1965, is hardly auspicious and only hints at the great things that were to come. But the indications are there, “Ooh, look Sand. A parquet floor”, along, of course with the polari, with all its double, if not triple, meaning – “I’m not washing that!  The dishes are dirty.” “Speak for yourself.”. Any road up, before long, Julian and Sandy were the highlight of each show, with each episode climaxing to much audience appreciation with the beseeching tones of Mr Horne asking,

Kenneth Horne – Hello, is anybody there?

Hugh Paddick – I’m Julian and this is my friend, Sandy.

Kenneth Williams – ooh, how Bona to vada your dolly eek.  What brings you trolling in here?

This initial exchange was then be followed by whatever outrageous enterprise the couple were involved in that week.

Explicitly camp and implicitly homosexual, Jules and Sand were groundbreakers at a time when homosexuality was criminalised and gays could only be portrayed in the media, if at all, as tragic victims, Julian and Sandy were welcomed into every family’s home on a Sunday afternoon.  They were never victims and never figures of fun to be pitied or mocked.  They were outrageously effeminate and boldly unapologetic about who they were and how they lived their lives.

So, Bona anniversaire (that’s your actual French) Julian and Sandy.  I’m off to the Royal Marine Commando Club, Paddington, where they’ve got creme de menthe on tap, and I’ll raise a glass to those two dolly omipalones.


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