Friday 13 October 2023

Frank Bellamy on TV - Quick on the Draw

"Mikeluxy" has done us a favour. He has uploaded the complete 25 minute episode of "Quick on the Draw" in which Frank Bellamy appears.It's not a great copy but beggars can't be choosers! The video is hosted on the always busy - the link to his original is here but I've uploaded an edited version above which shows the introduction and Bellamy's bit. If you want to watch the whole programme, Bellamy appears at around 19 minutes and 24 seconds in the link to Mikeluxy's version.


The format of the 25 minute show (including an advert break) was devised by Denis Gifford and the compère, Bob Monkhouse was a close friend. The format was for Monkhouse to sketch a visual joke and then ask the three other members of the panel to do the same in a given time. Each work would then be reviewed and nominal points added. Bill Tidy, the cartoonist famous for the Daily Mirror's "Fosdyke Saga" appeared regularly and this week, we see Leslie Crowther (of "Crackerjack" fame) and Diana Dors, the actress whom Bellamy got to know well, exchanging greeting cards. Monkhouse has Diana Darvey - an ex-Benny Hill girl - assist him. 

In a letter dated 8 April 1974, Bellamy received his contract to appear on the show and on  23 April 1974 David Clark of Thames TV (Producer) thanked Frank Bellamy for his appearance and confirmed the transmission date as Wednesday 19 June 1974 at 3.55pm. Bellamy received a nominal £5 for his appearance. The programme was part of the post-school afternoon broadcasts (one wonders whether this was suitable with its seaside innuendo?) and was followed that day by "Little Big Time" at 16.20 and the very popular "Follyfoot" at 16.50. This episode's Director was Daphne Shadwell.


The transcription was rather difficult as the audio is not good in places. Any corrections, please let me know. I have only transcribed the Bellamy section (c.3 minutes 11 seconds). 

Bob Monkhouse: And this is a gentleman for whom I have the deepest possible respect. A great many of you who read one of the most popular daily papers in this country will follow the adventures in a strip there of a truly fantastic character. The character was created long ago, but only within the last three years has the finest dramatic illustrator in the British comic world taken on the job of bringing his adventures to the world. The only dramatic illustrator in fact to appear in this series, Quick On The Draw, is behind that door and I invite the panel to tell me, do you know the character that’s taking form?

PANEL : Garth

BM: Garth it is! Can you name the much celebrated……


BM: FB, indeed it is Bill,  BT: Frank Bellamy, BM: Frank Bellamy, come out Frank, you’ve been caught at it.


BM: Frank, you know, I follow you around and pick up scraps of paper, that you happen to have …used for anything, quickly if you draw on them, so you know that I’ll do anything you say. But we want to find out if the panel will do as you say. Can you set them a problem?

Frank Bellamy: Something to do with a superhero, you know the old strong man, similar to Garth.

BM: Similar to Garth. We have the Garthfield ladies in the audience tonight….


BM: Right, A strong joke please in 30 seconds, and could you give us something similar please Frank? Thank you, draw away on my board, it’s um, fun to watch.


Camera 2 is peeping at you, from over your shoulder, or trying to. Can you just err, give a little bit that way [helps position FB for the camera], thanks. Ah, now camera 3 has a view. All our panellists are working away to try and produce a joke, about strength. It seems to me that Diana’s making a nice simple clear job of it. Diana would you like to tell us what the err, what the strength of that one is? [Background music fades]

DIANA DORS: Well that’s about the strongest thing I can think of, it’s a piece of Danish blue.


BM: That’s strong. Out of 5 Frank?

FB: Three

BM:  Just three points for that. Bill Tidy, can you tell Frank what you’ve done?

BT: Yes, this is the strong lady, at the circus and the, err circus chief is saying to the clown, as he watches her struggling with his giant barbells, “By Jove, she’s come on a bit since “Plucky Postmistress Foils Nine Masked Intruders””.


BM: Maximum marks for that one don’t you think…[FB: Yeh].  That’s a definite five. Leslie, what have you got for us?

LESLIE CROWTHER: Well, this, is, .. is designed to show the strength of the animal world, as you can see, it’s the zoo,  this giraffe, but what you can’t see is the zoo keeper inside the house, who’s saying, “Shut that door. There’s a tremendous giraffe in here!”


BM: Your job

FB: Um, er..4

BM: Another 4, another 4, and what have you done for us here Frank?

FB:  Well, I haven’t time to draw Garth so I’ve just drawn his chest.

BM: That’s his chest.


BM: Frank Bellamy thank you so much [for being here]

FB: Thank you so much, thank you



Finally, more on the TV Show on NostalgiaCentral and Denis Gifford created a book Quick on the draw!  with a cover and caricatures by Chas Sinclair. It was published Arrow Books, in 1978 in conjunction with Independent Television Books.

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