Smashie and Nicey: The End of an Era
“On the 22nd Nov 93, an event was to happen of such earth-shattering proportions that it was to shatter the earth to its very proportions…”
Or maybe that should be 4th Apr 94. For that was the day Smashie and Nicey: The End of an Era was first broadcast on BBC1: a spoof documentary featuring your favourite loveable Radio Fab DJs… acting not quite so loveably. Not that “spoof documentary” feels like an adequate description for this trawl through four decades of British pop culture – which, with absolutely no hyperbole, is one of the funniest, most affecting, most beautifully made pieces of comedy I have ever seen. If Norbert Smith – a Life is the best thing Harry Enfield ever did solo, then this is the best work Enfield and Whitehouse produced together.
Following on from the broadcast, the special was released on VHS: and rather than just the usual odd bit of music substitution, it was actually an entirely different, longer edit – a full five minutes longer, in fact. If you know me or this site even slightly, you can probably see where this is leading. So join me now, as I detail every single last difference between the two versions – and if you never saw the VHS edit, enjoy some extra moments of pure joy.
A few notes: firstly, all timings refer to the VHS release unless otherwise stated. There are also a few instances where a shot is slightly longer in the VHS version which I have not listed, because I am not a complete dick. All dialogue present on the VHS but cut for broadcast is indicated like this.
Johnny Beergut (0:00)
Some additional and extended shots of Johnny Beergut running to the press conference at the beginning of the programme, totalling 9 seconds of footage. This points to the VHS release being based on an original, longer edit of the programme, which was then cut down to time for broadcast – I can’t see why anyone would bother to add these shots in after the fact purely for the VHS release, but why not release a longer edit if it’s already sitting there?
DJ patter (00:52)
A huge chunk of material edited out for broadcast, but present on the VHS:
SMASHIE: You’re listening to Radio Fab FM, quite literally home of the world’s most popadopadabulous DJ.
NICEY: I think David Attenborough should take a leaf out of Johnny Morris’s book and do a few funny voices when he meets those animals. Cheer us all up a bit.
SMASHIE: I’ve got a bit of a confession to make to you, listeners – I actually once took a puff, on a cigarette.
NICEY: What I want to know from the government is why aren’t there any little girls called Wendy any more? There were a lot when I grew up. Come on, John Major, what’s going on?
SMASHIE: My favourite colour is red. Although lately I’ve actually enjoyed looking at green.
NICEY: So Victor goes into the bathroom as Mrs. Meldrew’s coming out, and he sees there’s another man in there – er, what was he doing in there, well of course we know (the viewer) that he’s there for legitimate reasons, but Victor says ‘What the hell do think you’re doing’… very funny. That’s what I did last night anyway, here’s Hawkwind.
SMASHIE: What’s your favourite burrowing animal… drop us a line and let us know. Mine’s the rabbit.
NICEY: Finders keepers, losers weepers – the Elgin Marbles are ours. Got that, Greeks? Good. (He swallows some water, and gargles into the microphone.)
SMASHIE: Oooh, I nearly forgot – I went fishing last week… but I didn’t catch anything.
NICEY: “Biscuits” means twice cooked in French – but are they really twice cooked? I mean, do you have to put them in the oven then take them out for a bit then put them back in the oven again, or is it all just a giant con by the biscuit marketing board? Here’s Showaddywaddy.
SMASHIE: (Plays clackers) Olé! I love socks, don’t you? They’re sort of great in a inside-your-er-shoe-yet-outside-your-foot-at-the-same-time type way.
NICEY: Before Take That and the cafetiere, was Boy George and instant coffee – before that the Rolling Stones and espresso – and in the beginning, Lonnie Donegan and Camp Coffee. That’s Pop & Coffee: A History of their Association, tonight at 9 on Fab FM.
Jingle: National – Much More Music!…
Some absolutely wonderful stuff here – my favourite is Nicey’s “Wendy” speech.
Press Conference (2:49)
Some extra business in the VHS:
NICEY: We therefore emphatically announce that heretoforth from this date – the 22nd of Nov 1993 – we do most humbly resign from the aforementioned station, Radio Fab here and after to be known as The Station.
SMASHIE: And what a great station it is! Literally quite literally the world’s most poptabulous… er, except that it isn’t any more. No… no, we don’t like it.
REPORTER: So what is the nature of your disagreement with the management?
NICEY: No no – you’ve heard our statement, we have nothing more to add at this stage.
SMASHIE: Except that I’d just like to add at this stage that I’m absolutely flabbergasted at being resigned. In fact, never has my flabber been so Frankie Howerd-ly gasted.
A couple of things to note: the broadcast version dubs Nicey saying “FM” out-of-shot after the first edit, to make the sentence sound complete. Also, the two versions use a different choice of shot for the final section after the reporter’s question: the broadcast version uses a one-shot panning between Smashie and Nicey, whereas the VHS uses a two-shot.
A short scene is present in the VHS but missing in the broadcast version, about Smashie and his pigs:
SMASHIE: Although DJing is my work, farming is my life. These fellas here – aren’t they great? – I’ve named every single one of them. They’re called, er… what are they called again, Bob?
SMASHIE: Pigs, that’s right. The important thing to remember about these pigs is that some of them are big, and some of them are small. And the small ones are called baby pigs.
The broadcast version replaces this with a short clip of Smashie – “This is me farmstead kitchen – clean, isn’t it?” – which appears far later in the VHS.
Trip to Nicey’s House (4:52)
This whole sequence is an entirely different edit, with many changes and re-ordering of scenes – lasting 1:25 in the broadcast version, it’s 2:10 on the VHS. Extra bits in the VHS include more stuff about Nicey’s helicopter, and extra Smashie dialogue in the car: “Ah, bingo! Or perhaps ‘Ah, bisto!’ Calm down, Smash…”
You can watch the two versions here:
Nicey Art (9:14)
Extra business in the VHS with Smashie reacting to Nicey’s artwork:
SMASHIE: Wow! (…I’ve been here before…) This one’s great mate – it’s cheap, gift-shoptastic in a sort of poor person’s idea of art, kind of 3D Alsatian dog hanging in the hallway type way.
NICEY: Yes, yes – I’ve put in my will that when I die they should all be donated generously to the National Portrait Gallery to be viewed by a grateful nation for all time.
SMASHIE: Well, I’m lost for words mate – all I can say is… So, Nicey, when did the pearly-gate-type-doors of pop first smother you with their majestic cloak?
NICEY: In 1963, Smash.
SMASHIE: Right – was that when you were a presenter of a pop and youth type prog on telly?
NICEY: ‘Tis true. It was almost a 60s version of The Word in a pop and youth type way, only better.
CUT TO BLUE PETER TITLES
It’s also worth noting that the section common to both versions actually comes from two different takes, with some slight changes in dialogue: the broadcast version has “In 1963, mate”, and Nicey’s “pop and youth type way” is omitted. An interesting little insight into the production process of the programme: Enfield and Whitehouse weren’t saying each line in the script to the letter with each take.
Beatles (8:31 in broadcast version)
Ah, the most famous edit of the lot. Present in the broadcast version, but removed from VHS due to rights issues, a young Dave Nice interviews The Beatles… and flirts with Paul McCartney. An extraordinary combination of brilliant acting, scripting, and technical prowess, it’s one of the highlights of the whole show. (Just what was Paul’s issue in the original interview, anyway?) Go on, have the whole thing:
I dunno Paul, I find Nicey rather attractive there.
Pirate Radio (15:16)
Our heroes talking about their time in pirate radio; Nicey’s “Great days!” is in-vision on the VHS, but a voiceover on the previous scene in the broadcast version, SAVING LITERALLY A SECOND. There’s also the following extra dialogue:
SMASHIE: Superb days! And it really was a great way for young DJs to cut their teeth in broadcasting.
NICEY: Certainly was. I lost four teeth during one particularly heavy storm.
SMASHIE: …guh-huh. And the experience we gained then really did prove invaluably invaluable in honing our skills into the fine art that they are today.
This is worth it purely for Smashie’s “guh-huh”.
The VHS at this point inserts an additional scene – it starts with Smashie introducing his kitchen (which was used earlier in the broadcast version), and then continues as follows:
SMASHIE: This is my farmstead kitchen – clean, isn’t it? And look at all these jars of chutney. I love chutney, don’t you? I always say a kitchen’s not really a kitchen without plenty of chutney – it really is picklemongous… but music’s important too.
Interestingly, the voiceover into the next section is slightly different in both versions, to smooth the transition between scenes:
Broadcast: “Of course, before I had my funny farmstead in Frensham Wood, I had another farmstead – which came into being with the 1967 launch of National Radio Fab.”
VHS: “Of course, before I had this farmstead, I had another farmstead – which came into being with the 1967 launch of National Radio Fab.”
Clearly, proper care was taken preparing both versions of the show, rather than one just being hacked down clunkily to fit a timeslot.
Some slightly superfluous dialogue cut in the broadcast version, but present on the VHS:
NICEY: The Radio Fab original line-up. Look at us, what a great bunch of guys.
SMASHIE: Look, look, there’s Jimmy Old, who went on to become the housewives choice…
NICEY: And there’s Tony Loony, the ladies fave, of course. And who’s this ugly fellow in the middle?
SMASHIE: That’s right, it’s me – the breakfast DJ.
NICEY: Oh look, there’s Terry Wig-on.
SMASHIE: Where’s Dave Decrepit, the hairy armpit?
NICEY: Oh, no no, he didn’t join for a couple of years, remember? Same time Sir Jimmy Savlon and Diddery Doddery Duddington.
SMASHIE: Oh right, the Tiddler on the Roof.
SMASHIE: And who’s this four-eyed fellow in the front?
NICEY: He’s the chap who did the six o’clock slot. Serious rock, and seriously popular. Good old Dave Nice. Yeah, that’s me.
Some extra nonsense in the VHS from Smashie in the present day, sandwiched between the 60s radio clips:
NICEY: When Smash handed over to Nice, the nation stopped as ordinary people like you gathered round their trannies to hear our wise words fill their hearts with joy.
SMASHIE: Er, is there lots of crumpet about?
NICEY: There certainly is. Lots of lovely crumpet out in the lovely weather.
SMASHIE: Housewives stopped a-cleanin’, typists stopped a-tappin’, factories stopped a-chuggin’, cow-milkin’-device-type-things stopped… cow milking, dogs sat up in their basket and pricked up their soft little ears. Have you ever touched a dog’s ear? It’s so soft, isn’t it. It’s almost silken. Birds stopped a-twitterin’… [Nicey falls backwards] Clocks stopped a-chimin’, traffic screeched to a halt!
SMASHIE: …and of course, hot weather means no bras for better bouncin’ bristols, eh Nicey?
NICEY: OK fellas, so if you’re out there working on a building site or in a factory, and you see a terrific bit of crumpet walking down the street with lovely bouncy bristols, why not give her a good old wolf-whistle and brighten up her day?
Again, Nicey’s fall backwards makes this extra section entirely worth it.
Top of the Pops (23:03)
Some extra dialogue in the VHS with the pair chatting all over Rod Stewart:
NICEY: Got a great line-up tonight – Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, The New Seekers, and starting off with Rod Stewart.
SMASHIE: Not yet, Rod. So, what you been up to, mate? Anything good?
NICEY: I’ve been mowing the lawn, mate. Hush, Rod! I’ve got a quiet new lawnmower, and I just love mowing the lawn whenever it needs mowing I’m out there mowing the lawn.
SMASHIE: Right, now, do you have to rake up those grass clippings yourself mate, or do you have a special sort of unit attachment that goes on the back of your mower that automatically collects it up for you? Which reminds me – I borrowed my next door neighbour’s lawnmower the other week and I’ve still not given it back yet.
SMASHIE: So, Mr. Johnson, if [indistinct] I’m sorry about that, I’ll bring it round tomorrow, alright?
SMASHIE: What is it, mate?
NICEY: It’s an automatic grass collecting unit mate, so no raking involved there.
Oddly enough, an extra joke is added in the broadcast version – in the VHS, the star containing Smashie and Nicey goes to the corner and stays there. In the broadcast, the star gets smaller and smaller until it disappears, hinting at an exasperated production team just getting rid of them. I prefer the broadcast version.
Straight after this section, there is a music edit – the broadcast version uses Whole Lotta Love, whereas the VHS reprises the previous TOTP theme instead. Oddly enough, the broadcast version also includes an extra shot from the TOTP titles here.
Buckin’ Horse (24:59)
The VHS and broadcast versions each use a different take of Smashie’s marvellous “Buckin’ Horse” song, although they’re very similar. The VHS version also includes the following extra bit:
SMASHIE: I’ve got a second verse… “Buckin’ Horse, Will you eat some hay? Buckin’ Horse… Neigh! The horse showing some defiance, there… and it’s also kind of a play on “nay” and “neigh”.
I think I’d quite happily pay for an entire album of Mike Smash songs.
Over the “PUNK!” montage, Anarchy in the U.K. in the broadcast version is replaced with Oh Bondage Up Yours! by X-Ray Spex on the VHS. Being unable to clear Sex Pistols tracks for commercial release brings up levels of irony impossible for me to comprehend.
Smashie’s punk song I Don’t Care has extra lines in the VHS:
I don’t care
No no, yeah yeah, I don’t care
Cos I’m on the dole
I ain’t gonna get a job
And climb to the top of the greasy pole
No no, yeah yeah, no no
Punky guitar! And a sort of swearing crescendo:
On the ruddy rotten dole! Grrrrrrrr.
[Extra nonsense strumming in wideshot]
Radio Wilderness (33:06)
Some rather disturbing extra dialogue in the VHS:
SMASHIE: This is Mike Smash on Radio Wilderness, the greatest radio station in the Swindon area. We have a whole lot more fun here than on national radio, don’t we? And thanks to Jean, for that phone call earlier with her great cookery tip – and Jean, if you want a bun in the oven, why not give Mike “twelve inch” Smash a ring, cos now I’m a bachelor boy, and I’m having a whole lot more fun with the ladies. In fact, Jean, why not send me some of your knickers? In fact, any ladies out there listening, why not send me some of your knickers? Please.
A very short extra bit in the VHS:
SMASHIE: Hiyyyaaa! It’s great to be back here on National Radio Fab! Uh-oh, who’s this on the phone?
Nicey’s remark about Steve Bright is partially laid over this scene in the broadcast, but is completely in-vision in the VHS, saving two seconds. (Though little adjustments like this actually make the broadcast version flow slightly better at times.)
The Word (39:08)
The usual edits to put some dialogue out of vision to save precious seconds, plus this extra dialogue in the VHS:
KATIE PUKRICK: Viewers – it’s been 25 years since the launch of National Radio Fab, and am I ever fuzzed up because I’ve been invited to this exclusive party to celebrate. I’ve just seen two of the station’s founding fathers, Smashie and Nicey – hi boys.
SMASHIE: Hi Teri.
NICEY: Hello Teri.
PUCKRIK: So guys, the place is bulging with Fab FM DJs – you looking forward to the party?
NICEY: Certainly are – it’s going to be great to see all our great mates from over the years. We’re going to have a great time tonight, down memory lane.
Oddly enough, the broadcast version has an extra bit from Smashie here that’s missing in the VHS: “Certainly are – except that I can’t actually see anyone we know, mate…” Strange that this is omitted from the VHS.
A swapping round of scenes: the broadcast version has Smashie entering Tessa’s plastic-coated bedroom (“I’ve over her now, thank God…”), whereas the VHS has the scene featuring his mother’s grave (“She’s not actually dead yet…”) After the end credits, the situation is reversed: the broadcast features the grave sequence, and the VHS features the bedroom. The edits of the two scenes are identical.
Answers on a postcard as to why they bothered swapping round these two scenes – I can think of absolutely no reason whatsoever.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (45:38)
A couple of different shots during the aftermath of Smashie and Nicey’s final show. In the broadcast version, Nicey nicks a couple of speakers – in the VHS, he steals some CDs, and then goes on to steal one of the speakers. A small thing, perhaps, but I much prefer the VHS – here there’s an escalation of the joke, where you think he’s going to just nick a few CDs, and then he dumps the speaker in his bag. The broadcast version lacks the same impact.
Immediately afterwards, there’s an extra shot in the VHS of Nicey stealing some beautiful Radio Fab mugs. Which, incidentally, I would do anything to own.
Butterfly Flutter-by (48:33)
And finally, yes, the very final moment of the show is different in each version. The broadcast simply has Smashie sitting in his kitchen asking “Would you like some chutney to take home?” The VHS version, meanwhile, ends with the following loveliness:
As we wave goodbye to Smashie, I leave you with a final thought: next year marks 20 years since the first broadcast of this special. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a brand new DVD and download release, of whatever version they can clear? The programme deserves nothing less.
To say nothing of DVD releases of Harry Enfield’s Television Programme and Harry Enfield and Chums. But that’s just crazy talk, obviously.