Friday, December 09, 2011

The Three Keiths

One of the many serendipitous delights of parenthood is discovering children's television. Not rediscovering - I mean discovering for the first time. There may be North Country funnymen who make a career out of recalling how kids TV "were better in them days", but in my case they are wrong.

In Welsh Wales, children's television consisted of "Miri Mawr" ("Big Fun"), a programme hosted by a yeti farmer, Japanese war criminal and the thing you see at the end of "The Fly II", all cooped up in Osama bin Laden's utility cave. You don't believe me? Then watch:

Apart from a programme about poaching hosted by a cardboard cormorant, that was it.

Nonetheless, there's a lack of role models for children in current cathode fare as well, unless they aspire to be Rastafarians, "mangas" or relentlessly perky Mexican moppets. That's why I've come up with my own proposal for pre-primary entertainment:

"The Three Keiths" are a trio of superheroes, each equipped with special powers to deal out kinetic justice rather than the usual self-righteousness to adults, wrongdoers and those boys in Year 6. And they are all real.

Keith 1 - Keith Richards, alias "Keef". Fashioned entirely from inside-out crocodiles and "Accessorize" tat, Keef is the leader of the pack. His special powers are immortality, demon-summoning riffs and the keys to "The Magic Pharmacy", where he distills potions to ward off squares and help the other Keiths relax - "just take the edge off things with this, man".

He speaks proper English too, not the semi-Canadian nonsense children hear elsewhere.

Keith 2 - Keith Floyd, alias "Floyd". Made out of three old uncles bound together with bow-ties and raffia, Floyd provides the trio with all they need to keep going in the fight against tedium - top tuck, refreshing elixirs from his "secret cellar" ("The steps are a bit steep for you children, and even for Old Floydie of an evening!") and an array of grown-up ladies whom girl viewers can totally identify with.

Floyd's special powers are immunity to weights & measures and indifference to human laws.

Keith 3 - The Right Hon Sir Keith Joseph Bt, CH, PC alias "Sir Keith Joseph". The ganglion that connects the twin synapses of the team, Sir Keith Joseph is often called upon to get Floyd and Keef out of a terrible fix - in all senses of the word. His swivelling gaze can hypnotise reptiles, and he conjures up bad ideas decades ahead of their time to tie up gangs of villains long enough for our heroes to get away in the Bentley.

Sir Keith Joseph also carries a mysterious object loaned to him by the fearsome "Magg Witch". Called simply "The Handbag", it has voodoo economic qualities that keep afloat Floyd's various front organisations for the Three through fire, submersion in lakes and the wretched inflexibility of magistrates.

I chose these three Keiths from a highly competitive field - Chegwin came close - because they alone address the main banes of pre-teen life: bad music, dull food, and inadequate transparency in the management of public finances.

Having got that far during an episode of "Fifi and the Flower Tots" - a sort of nursery take on "The Invasion of the Bodysnatchers" - I decided to celebrate with an amphora of Makarios's Revenge, and so have managed to outline only the following pilot:

At their secret Berkshire base - a picturesque inn-cum-recording-studio-cum-monetarist-think-tank - the Keiths prepare themselves for battle through a training regimen of bushido rigour, designed by Keef and featuring feedback, flashbacks and blackjack.

The lady of the manor, Penelope Keith ("The Fourth Keith"), alerts them to various dangers gleaned from sherry-laced parsonage gossip. Keef immediately cranks up the Bentley, which Floyd has left parked either side of an oak tree, then has a bit of a lie down in the barn while Floyd packs a hamper. Sir Keith Joseph bores a hole through the estate gates with his unblinking emerald eyes, and they're off!

This week, jobsworth music teachers Bono & Sting (frequent villains) persuade the village fête to play their listless ditties over the public address system while a mantis-like Mrs Sting from the cooperative Café Ortega doles out quinoa-burgers with "Amazonian chewy grub salad", thereby compounding the misery of parents who've driven children with computer-withdrawal symptoms 20 miles to meet a pregnant goat.

The Three Keiths lope to it. Keef drops some "magic pirate potion, man" in the eco-punch before plugging the PA into his amp and launching a 12-bar open-G rasp through "Rocks Off" that paints the village green a bluesy shade of black.

Meanwhile, Floyd has set out a trestle of truffled turkey and trifles to tempt teen and termagant alike, as the punch works its wonders on the mums and dads. Everyone's having a good time by now, but - oh no! - Bono and the Stings are complaining to Ms Polly Tecnick the Headmistress and Mr Spendthrift the Mayor. This is a job for Sir Keith Joseph!

Quick as a slide-rule, Sir Keith delves into "The Handbag" and whips out a brace of Magg Witch talismans - one in Mrs Sting's name for employing non-unionised Paraguayan waitresses in her cafe, and another in recognition of Mr Spendthrift's discreet acceleration of a council house sale shortly before the local ban.

"And how is your holiday companion Fräulein Proll settling in there?" Sir Keith asked of Ms Tecnick, before handing over a Krugerrand pendant for her elegant redrawing of the school catchment boundary just short of the Reg Varney Estate and that Irish tinkers' site. He then let the Invisible Hand of Recrimination go to work on the gruesome quintet.

The Three Keiths slip away from what is now a seriously happening free festival, their work done for another week as rainbows, brandy butter and sink estates light up the Chilterns - but not before offering the Paraguayan ladies a gallant lift home or somewhere.

I believe "The Three Keiths" will inspire, educate and alarm in the correct proportion, thereby forewarning tots of all the gluten-free golems out there who want to keep them in locked-rhythm serfdom.


Ms Scarlet said...

Why waste this script on the children? I'd like to watch it too.

Cambria Politico said...

I see a slot for this between Dwdlam and Cwm Teg on S4C sometime around 'elevenses'.

Sauti Ndogo said...

Don't be disheartened by the paucity of comments on this posting, Boyo. It's because tout le monde is busy grappling with the questions raised by the comment from that French diplomat at last week's Euro summit, that Britain had behaved like a man who turned up at a wife-swapping party without his wife.

If Britain had turned up with its wife, who would that have been? And who would have been sought as a suitable swap? Who did France turn up with, and who did they want to swap with?

The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again until these questions are answered.

No Good Boyo said...

It's quality not quantity we want, Sauti, and I am well pleased with these comments.

Britain should have taken Helen Mirren, before whom men and a large proportion of the more adventurous sorts of women bow down.

As for France, I don't think they do anything as tawdry and suburban as swap wives. They have ménages, cinq-à-sept and other ways of complicating their otherwise childlike, carefree Latin lives.

Although I do have an enduring image of Frau Merkel drawing a Maginot Line up Sarkozy's back then marching up and down on it. but that's just me.

Ian Plenderleith said...

Thanks for reminding me that in the 1980s we let people like Keith Joseph into positions of power. Thank God we learnt our lesson, eh? Aside from that, an excellent idea. I would add former Bristol City striker Keith Fear and make it a quartet, just for his name.

No Good Boyo said...

Your Bristolian hoofer deserves a spin-off series of his own, called "Fear of...", in which Keith tackles a new challenge each week and triumphs through the application of footballing skills - gobbing, crying, rolling around in faux agony, hugging, jumping in the air, shagging skanks and, for the younger viewers, running up and down with his jumper over his head.

This week: "Fear of... God". Keith literally tackles all deities one by one, even slipping a goal past the many arms of Shiva.

Ian Plenderleith said...

I think that could work. I'll have my TV people look into it, and we'll be in touch.

M C Ward said...

I wonder, does it matter that two of the three Keiths are dead, and the third is walking dead?

Keith Evans, a contemporary during my school days, may also add some spice - expelled from both my middle school and upper school for various acts of criminality/violence, but very caring with his Cocker Spaniel. I leave the detail to you.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Blimey, I never knew Keiths had so much in 'em! (So, Miri Mawr is responsible for the ongoingly bloody-minded Welsh mindset - I salut it.) Keith Moon would add (perhaps superfluous) anarchy, but I do feel that a case could be made for Keith Harris - sans Orville, thereby helping the young viewers learn some hard lessons about reality.

No Good Boyo said...

Harris, Moon, Chegwin, Evans - all giants, and each with his special power. It was a tough decision to make, guys.

Gadjo, it is a fact that Keith Richards (a Welsh, of course) cannot be killed by conventional weapons:

Ron Combo said...

Keith Floyd could be piercingly perceptive. He once said a magnum of Champagne was too much for one person but not enough for two. So true, so true.

No Good Boyo said...

Precisely why he's one of the Keiths, Ron. He understood the measure of everything. I should say that a magnum is enough for two plus a footbath.

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