First transmitted in 1984, Terry Wogan interviews comedian Larry Grayson, prima ballerina Lesley Collier and film director Mel Brooks.
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MUSIC: "Wogan Theme"
Heaven's benison on you for joining us this Saturday e'en.
I'm going to make it worth your while, but I say that every week.
My first guest, when a lad, he used to say to his peers,
"When I grow up, I'm gonna be a star. I'm gonna star at the Palladium."
And they'd say, "But you can't dance, sing, play a musical instrument,
"you have no talent whatsoever!"
He did become a star and he did do it at the Palladium.
And he still can't dance, sing...
..act, play a piano.
What is the secret of the boy? Larry Grayson!
COMMENTS DROWNED OUT BY APPLAUSE
- It's always a pleasure to see you. - And to see you, Terry.
It's a joy for me,
cos I'm not stuck in a box up there somewhere, with five other people.
We never get to talk like this, do we?
When I do Blankety Blank with you,
I'm up there with Beryl Reid or somebody,
and tonight, I can talk to you. What a joy it is.
Normally I have to share you with others. And, of course,
I don't like doing that.
No, ain't it the truth. LAUGHTER
- You're looking ever so well. - Thank you.
I could return the compliment.
- Pardon? - Is it the Torquay air?
I think it must be, yes. I have moved to glorious Devon.
And I love it. I call it the Arthur Marshall country.
But, Torquay, where you live now - it's rather hilly.
How do you and Arthur negotiate the hills?
- Well, you see, I've a tandem. - Ah!
And I... LAUGHTER
Why do you always bring such a common audience?
- They're not with me! - Aren't they with you?
- No. - Oh!
Well, anyway, I've got this friend and we go out on this tandem.
- So I manage the hills like that. - What about Arthur?
- Arthur? - The dog.
- My little dog? - Yeah.
I've a basket at the front, like in The Wizard Of Oz.
Miss Gulch. And he sits in the front, you know, and we ride about.
Nobody knows, because I wear a fur hat.
They think I'm Coral Browne. LAUGHTER
- You love all those Coral Brownes... - Oh, yes! I love...
Did you see that marvellous, marvellous thing she did?
What was it called? An Englishman Abroad.
It was a marvellous thing on television.
The BBC did it so well, with Alan Bates.
And I wear a fur hat the same.
I went out the next morning, shopping, in Wellswood -
it's where I go shopping. All the best people go to Wellswood.
And an old lady, she'd very bad eyesight.
She said, "Oh, look, there's Coral Browne!"
But, in fact, in your early day...
Well, luckily you weren't taken for Vincent Price.
LAUGHTER No, you were.
In your early days...you used to impersonate film stars, didn't you?
Oh, yes, that was when I was at school.
I used to impersonate Katharine Hepburn and people like that,
Bette Davis. I did it all the time.
And I used to get the cane more often than not for doing this.
I wasn't interested in ANYTHING at school.
All I wanted to do was for half past four to come around
so I could get out and get off to the pictures, which I loved.
- Do you still do... - No.
- ..the female stars?
Oh, yes, of course!
But, you see, I loved the, er, the other channel...
Daren't mention it.
But the other channel that shows all the old movies.
- What? BBC Two? - Er, no. The other one. I love...
Because they have all the old films on, you know,
Smiling Through and The House Of Rothschild - George Arliss -
and things like that
which I loved. Don't keep laughing at me, Terry! I'm serious.
It's those wonderful names - George Arliss...
Mr George Arliss, if you don't mind.
He was always billed as Mr George Arliss.
And all those marvellous films. I remember them all very well.
Do you know, Terry, I could go into a cinema when I was a kid
and you know they open the door and tear your ticket?
And I could look at the screen and tell you who made the picture,
whether it was Warner Bros, Metro Goldwyn Mayer,
20th Century Fox,
Paramount, Monogram, GB - Gaumont British - I could tell you.
By just the look, just the film. It's funny.
And I could tell also with the music.
I could tell Max Steiner's music from Warner Bros pictures.
And Metro Goldwyn Mayer. I could tell right away.
Was it the female stars that particularly appealed to you?
Oh, of course it was, yes.
I mean, look at the Joan Crawford coat I'm wearing now.
She always had shoulders like this, Joan Crawford. Don't stare.
When you were in America last, you were confused with Myrna Loy.
Oh, yeah, well, that's a lovely story
because Jack Klugman, who's a great mate of mine,
you know, Quincy, all those lovely things he does.
And he was coming to take me out to his place at Malibu.
So I was in the hotel and the door...knocked my door.
And I went to the door and this bellboy's stood there, you see,
with this basket of fruit and the ribbons and everything.
And I said, "Do come in. Come in." I was in one of me moods.
Well, he came in... LAUGHTER
..and I said, "Put it down there."
And I said, "Don't go, wait a minute."
I was acting, you know. So I took...
- It sounds very like you. - Does it really?
You know me so well.
And I got the card, you see, and I said to this boy,
"Isn't this wonderful? All this and my picture hasn't been released yet."
And he went...
And I looked at him and I said, "You don't know me, do you?"
He said, "No, sir." I said, "My name's Myrna Loy."
And he just looked. I said, "You may go now."
Of course, when I told Jack Klugman about this,
he was in fits. And I have a picture in my home
and it says on it, "To Larry, all my love, always.
"To me, you'll always be Myrna Loy. Jack."
That's the nicest thing he could've said to you.
Well, of course, he could. Of course.
I went with him to tape the Vidal Sassoon show over there.
And he's coming over very soon.
I'm going to his birthday party. Have you been invited?
- No. I'm asked nowhere. - Pardon? Haven't you been
- invited to Vidal's party? - No. Vid.
Well, the BBC are doing it, it's being televised. Aren't you going?
- No. - Fancy.
Well, you're everywhere else, aren't you?
Would you like to have been a Hollywood star?
I mean, apart from being Myrna Loy,
would you like to have been a Hollywood film star?
Oh, in the old days, Terry, yes, of course I would.
Not now. I don't know.
I suppose the films are very good today,
but they're not like they used to be.
But they are to other people growing up and everything.
But, to me, I love the old movies. You see,
I can't bear all this getting into bed with everybody. And, er...
But you don't have to get into bed with EVERYBODY.
No, but it frightens my dog. I mean...
You see, when you have a television,
it starts, you see, and they're almost in bed together,
you know, and it's awful.
Um, er, and I don't... I'm a bit, um...
- I'm very broad-minded. - You're not!
Yes, I am!
But I don't like things like that.
- Perhaps it's cos I'm getting older. - Oh, nonsense!
- I'm in the doctor's... No, listen! - No, no!
- The doctor said to me... - Well, perhaps you're right.
No, listen, the doctor...
the doctor said to me, he said, "Larry," he said,
"Laz..." - he calls me Laz.
He said, "Laz..."
"When you're..." Listen!
He said, "When you're 39, you'll find that you'll change."
And I have. And, er...
That's it, you see. And, of course, now I notice -
I mean, I hate to mention my age to anyone.
It's a secret, you see, like Mary Astor.
And I find that I get this throbbing in the morning.
And my ankle swells, you know, and I get...
But I won't give in,
you know, I, er...because I don't feel my age, you know.
I know you do, because... LAUGHTER
..I hear you in the morning on the radio and sometimes I feel for you.
LAUGHTER But I'm not there.
You are there for me.
What has this got to do with your dog throwing up
whenever there is sex on the television?
I don't know. I can't think what made me say that.
You see, I wander a little bit now. Have you noticed?
I do wander a little bit.
You're very young to be wandering, because you're just 39, aren't you?
That's the nicest thing you've said to me, Terry.
That's why I always come on your shows, cos you say the nicest things
and you have such a lovely smile as well...I was told to say.
I'm sorry you're leaving Blankety Blank and all that.
I'm ever so sorry about it, you know.
Well, I think I've probably peaked now, Larry. It's downhill now.
- Ooh, no, not you. - Oh, yes.
- Oh, no! - Oh, yes!
No, you'll go on till you're 90.
But I don't know.
Did I tell you that lovely story the other week?
What my landlady said the other week.
She said about going to the moon and all carryings on.
She said, "I can't understand it."
She said, "We're living now..." she said, "..in the 20th Century Fox."
She said... LAUGHTER
She didn't know. She thinks it's the 20th Century Fox we're living in.
When you went to Hollywood, was it a disappointment for you
or was it as you expected it to be, all glamour and excitement?
Well, of course, all the great ones have gone, but, no, I loved it.
I went to the Chinese Theatre, put my hands in those things, you know,
where Nelson Eddy and Eleanor Powell...
- He had small hands, Nelson Eddy. - ..Judy Garland.
- Who? - Nelson Eddy.
How do you know? LAUGHTER
- What?! - He was known for his small hands.
Who told you that?! LAUGHTER
He was a very big mate. He had very big hands, did Nelson Eddy.
It was Jeanette MacDonald had the small hands?
Who told you?!
I don't know where you get your information from.
I'm... I'm riddled in Hollywood. What's he doing there?
I'm riddled in Hollywood and all that.
Nelson Eddy never had small hands.
I'm surprised that you'd say a thing like that.
I don't think he had small hands. LAUGHTER
So that's what you did in Hollywood?! Just put your hands in the cement?
Oh, no, no, no. No, I went everywhere, I loved it all.
It was... It was super. I mean, to be there,
to me - of course it's all gone -
but to be there and walk down the streets...
I suppose a man of your age, you see, that's what it'd be.
You remember all the old silent movies.
- Of course I do! - The black and white movies...
- Yes. - ..that we don't. Do we?
I remember, um... LAUGHTER
I saw Trader Horn, the original,
and Jekyll And Hyde.
You see, I loved...I loved the movies. I loved the films,
right from when I was a child.
And the wonderful thing was when I used to go to the cinema, years ago,
and see people like Anna Neagle in Nell Gwyn and Peg Of Old Drury.
And Evelyn Laye with Ramon Novarro in The Night Is Young,
things like that.
Well, you see, I used to sit there and look at the screen,
thinking, "Oh, how marvellous."
I'm still stage-struck and film-struck just the same.
Is that not just in retrospect, as you look back on it?
There must've been times,
during the hard graft, when you thought,
- "Why am I doing this?" - No.
"I'm not getting anywhere."
No. No, I didn't, honestly.
I didn't. I never envied the stars at the top,
because if the stars weren't up there, I wouldn't have been working.
I was only that big on the bill.
But I never... I never, you know, I never bothered about it, really.
I used to think I'd be a star one day, but, as I got older,
I thought, "Well, it's too late for me now. I won't be now."
Why did it take you so long, do you think?
I don't know.
I mean, you must've shown the talent.
People must've seen that you had this talent.
People must've said, "You're gonna be a star."
Well, only one person did, actually.
I was at Chiswick Empire
and I was on the bill with Dorothy Squires and she watched me one night.
And when I finished my act, as I walked off,
she said to me, "You're a very funny man. Why aren't you a star?"
I said, "Well, I keep telling them, Miss Squires, but nobody listens."
And she laughed.
And when I did my first television show for Saturday Variety,
she was topping the bill.
And, as I walked...she cried and she put her arms round me.
She said, "I told you years ago you'd make it."
I'm writing a book at the moment, you know, my life story.
I'm doing it right now.
Are you going to cut out all the unsavoury bits?
No, you're in it. LAUGHTER
I'm a toucher as well, you know.
I asked Matthew Kelly this in a previous programme...
- He's one of the newer fellows. - Oh, I see.
- You wouldn't know him. - No, I don't.
And...um... he tends to be
- a bit like that sometimes. - Oh, does he?
What a shame. He'll grow out of it.
LAUGHTER Let's hope so.
But I was asking him, and I wonder, can you answer?
Why do you think a British audience
reacts so well to
- what's known as "camp"? - Yes.
To that kind of... The limp wrist...
Well, of course, the audiences are camp that come and see us.
You see... LAUGHTER
You see, it's very funny.
There's that lovely story about two ladies sitting on a bench in a park
and one lady said, "They say he's a camp comic."
She went, "Well, I've seen him at Butlin's twice."
You know, it's the... You can't define it.
Years and years ago, they had those marvellous revues in London
with Hermione Gingold and Baddeley and Henry Kendall,
Douglas Byng, wonderful Douglas Byng.
And it was all that, um... It was all West End, you see.
All very camp and everything. And I took it out to...to the masses.
- Yes. - You know, they used to laugh at me.
"Ooh, you must go and see Larry Grayson at the theatre."
Well, you say that, they used to say,
"Go and see that chap at the theatre
"with the chair. He says, 'Shut that door.'
"And he talks about aches and pains and his legs swelling."
But you've played some very tough spots...
- Very. - ..in that kind of...
How does a sort of working, tough, say,
a stevedore audience, a docker audience, react to that?
Well, they've always been marvellous to me, Terry.
They say, "All right, Larry, great. My mother loves you. All right."
They laugh, you see. They go, "Oh, Larry, what a gay day," and all that.
And it's done like... It's done for fun.
I don't offend anybody.
I don't... I hope not. Because I'm me, I say the things I feel.
Cos I'm a very loving person, as you know.
I mean... LAUGHTER
Because, you see, the...
It takes your breath away sometimes, but...
Where was I? Oh, yes, I mean, it's, er...
It's in here. You have to have warmth
and be sincere in what you're doing, you see.
And I believe...when I say I've got to lie down, I've gone all limp,
I do go limp.
- You feel like... - Pardon? You what?
- I said you feel like lying down? - I do.
Yes, sometimes, I do.
As I say, I do - I go like that.
And, er, you know...
What has life to hold for you now?
Well, I mean, I love...I love the people of audiences.
That's why I loved doing The Generation Game,
cos I met people all the time,
like you do. I mean, you love people.
- I don't. - Don't you?
Oh, it's true then(!) Anyway,
all this... I like meeting people.
I love travelling, I love seeing people.
I've always done it. I think...
You're like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, aren't you?
I didn't know you'd remember her!
Anne of...Green Gables.
Yes. Anne Shirley played the part. She was wonderful.
Fay Bainter in White Banners.
You see, if I didn't know you better,
I'd say that that was all artificial, but it isn't,
because that is the kind of person you are.
I'm delighted you could come and join me.
Thank you, Terry.
Thank you, Larry.
And, now, for a much-needed burst of culture in the programme.
"High time, too!" you cry.
So, let's meet, for the first time, on Wogan, a prima ballerina -
Lesley, Larry Grayson is a bit like me.
We're rarely without pain.
- Indeed... - Oh!
That's true of ballet dancers as well, isn't it?
It's a continuous ache.
It's always an ache, yes.
You've been in some pain yourself lately?
Oh, I've had a little problem with a foot.
What is it about the ballet that -
well, apart from the prancing about -
that causes so much pain and aches? After all,
you're terrifically fit, all of you.
Yes, we are fit.
But, unfortunately, when we get under pressure and dance a lot,
bad habits creep in, which injure the body, before you realise it.
I'm afraid most injuries are caused by bad dancing, one way or another.
What did you have wrong with you? What have you had wrong with you?
I had a tendonitis, which is inflamed tendons.
And how long would you have to rest for that,
before you could leap onto the barre again?
I leapt onto the barre this morning.
I actually leapt into my pointe shoes this morning
and I've been off for five weeks.
Did you put on weight while you had the lay-off?
- Yes. It's normal. - It doesn't look it.
Um...thank you! That's nice. It's a good dress.
How can you...? You'd have to...
I wish this suit was like your dress!
What...? No, we won't change now.
What can you do, though, if you put on the weight,
obviously that must be crucial for a ballet dancer?
No, it's normal. I mean,
the thing that really makes you lose weight is being nervous.
And I'm losing weight right this minute.
Well, it's always the same when you're doing something that...
Are you nervous before a big night, a gala night, at the ballet?
You must be!
I'm nervous before I do anything.
I mean, this morning, I did my first rehearsal and I was nervous.
- Before a rehearsal? - Yes!
- I know it sounds ridiculous but... - Is that because the corps de ballet
stand there jeering you if you're not doing it right?
Oh, no, they're a lovely company.
Come on! There must be a bit of bitchiness goes on...
Not at all, no, not at all.
Honestly. It's a lovely company.
It's like a family.
- We all went to school... - But families fight like mad!
I know, that's very true.
When it's attacked from the outside, it's a lovely company.
I wasn't attacking it!
But, no, I wouldn't expect you to tell me
all the little bitchiness that goes on.
- Talking on the matter of... - I would if there was some.
- Yes, quite.
Talking of injuries and...
I now have a mental picture of most ballet dancers
going round swathed in bandages, quite often.
Do people like Nureyev, do they... do they carry bad legs
a prime example of somebody who will dance with injuries.
He will never let his audience down.
And I remember going to his dressing room one evening,
cos he was going to have supper with us later,
and he took off his tights and I went...
So I believe!
It was lower than that.
Foot to knee, completely taped up.
- Yes. - Thank goodness for that!
You had me... LAUGHTER
It was fine.
- Foot to knee...? - Foot to knee, taped up.
- Really? - Yes.
Wouldn't that show, 'neath the close-fitting tights?
Um...probably would close...
Cos nearly everything else does, doesn't it?
- Is he...? - It's all right, though, isn't it?
Whatever turns you on...!
Is he difficult to work with, the great Nureyev?
Is he a firebrand? Temperamental?
for me... I mean, I'm very biased, cos I'm madly in love with him.
You're probably sorry for him, cos he's bandaged.
No, it's nothing to do with that! He's, um...
By generous, I mean he will always help you
if you're having technical problems with steps.
He's always got an answer for them.
He's very loving and he's also the most genuine person,
which is why, when he throws chairs through mirrors,
you know how he feels.
LAUGHTER And it's over in a flash.
And it's got it out of his system and he's fine.
And he can afford to pay to compensate
whoever's mirror he's smashed.
Of course, of course.
When you dance with Nureyev,
for whom you've admitted an undying passion...
Like, the great dance teams, even the Torvill and Deans,
between the pair of them, they seem to generate a kind of eroticism.
Is it necessary to have that kind of...?
Is it necessary to have an emotional relationship with
whoever you dance?
it isn't necessary to have it off the stage.
But it depends very much on the role you're doing.
If it's a passionate and emotional role,
then you are passionately
and emotionally involved with that partner.
Yes, and when you're dancing, I mean, obviously male dancers,
they get to touch you in places that, really, you wouldn't normally...
LAUGHTER ..allow anybody else to...
- That... - ..lay a finger on you.
Well, actually... I know it's silly to say this,
but you don't really feel that.
Cos you're so carried away with how you're feeling,
you're not aware of hands grabbing.
I mean, you're glad of those,
to get you wherever you've got to go.
To add... To add to the frisson,
to help the moment, in, say, a pas de deux,
do you whisper sweet nothings to each other?
Or do you say things like, "Get off me foot!"?
What... Do you actually say anything to each other?
Anthony Dowell is the best whisperer in the world.
- Anthony Dowell? - Yes. Fabulous.
I mean, you've only got to stay on balance, and he'll go,
Have you ever had a partner
who whispered less than sweet nothings in your ear?
Who was almost offensive, or, indeed...suggestive?
- Rudolf. - Rudolf?
- Mm. - It's why you like him, isn't it?
I had a problem with him, once, in New York.
In the lovely ballet - my favourite ballet, actually -
probably because it's the first one I ever did the leading role in -
La Fille Mal Gardee.
And, at the end of the, um, the harvest scene,
there's a wonderful lift, where the girl sits on his hand,
and up it goes. And the girl's up there. It's wonderful.
And there you are, smiling, like this.
Well, I went up, but I came down very quickly.
And I...I couldn't really believe it was happening to me,
so I kept going...
And I was going...
over the back, round the side
in a fish, sort of upside-down fish,
held by my legs, by Rudolf.
And after a few scrambles, getting up, we took our bow.
We went into the wings and I thought...
"He's going to kill me.
So, I burst into tears, "I'm so sorry!"
And then we had the usual abuse
and we went on with the ballet and he was wonderful.
How long does the abuse last for?
No... No, the boys in the company, when Rudolf came to England,
they taught him the dirty words first. So he knows those in English.
What's the dirtiest word in ballet?
Good Lord, I'm not going to tell you!
What do you think... What do you think makes a prima ballerina?
What...what caused you to stand out from the corps de ballet?
From the chorus?
- Um... - In all modesty, of course,
but what would you say it is? What's the quality that's needed?
Well, I don't really know.
I mean, I was a very lucky girl in the company.
I mean, I always did a solo. Um...
..quite early on, when I was still doing my corps de ballet work.
I mean, I did the white cat in Sleeping Beauty.
very early on.
I know I was behind a mask,
obviously, the face wasn't quite right yet, but...
I clearly had the personality that would come through a mask.
Um, often, I've had my chances through other people being injured.
Whether I would have had them or not, I don't know.
It's a very competitive world, ballet, isn't it?
- Yes. - People are trying very hard.
Apart from the physical strength which you need,
do you have to be emotionally strong too?
Do you have to be more ambitious?
I... Well, ambition in the right way.
Ambitious... You do have to be single-minded and very dedicated,
which is a form of ambition,
but you don't have to tread on people to get there,
because if you work hard enough, and you've got something...
that you really believe in and you really love doing it...
It all sounds very idyllic.
Well, it's not, obviously.
I mean, it's not idyllic for all people.
I mean, I've just been exceptionally lucky.
It tends to take over your life, though, ballet.
It requires perhaps more dedication than anything else, doesn't it?
- Yes. - Than any other pursuit.
Cos you've got to practise every day. Even when you have arrived.
Yes. And it's hell when you have a bad foot
and you don't practise every day!
Yeah. Does everything sort of bind up again?
Well, no, it's a funny thing, because while you're working hard
and you think, "I'd love to have a day off
"and I could answer all my letters,"
and then you get something like four weeks off
and all you want to do is get better so you can dance again.
It's a very strange sort of mental push one has, to want to dance.
Yes, that need to dance. Many great ballet stars,
male and female, come from a working class
- or a poorer class background. - Mm-hm.
Why do you think that is, when almost exclusively,
and probably for reasons of pocket, or reasons of money,
the audiences for ballet, or the interest in ballet,
seems to come from the middle and upper classes, almost entirely?
- Why do the dancers...? - Does it?
Well, I think so, yeah.
I mean, had your family a lively interest in ballet?
Oh, none at all. None at all. It was my grandmother that set me going.
I've... I'm not a great ballet fan,
- I have to say. - No,
- I don't think I've seen you there. - No.
If you had, you would certainly have
hurled a flower in my general direction.
Of course! Of course.
I think it's slightly archaic.
Oh, don't be silly.
I mean, really. Pull yourself together!
It's wonderful - beautiful, young girls, dancing there,
practically nothing on.
Modern ballets. It's not all old-fashioned ballets.
And, anyway, old-fashioned ballets aren't archaic, really,
cos they've got fresh youth brought to them,
practically every week.
It's all a bit old-fashioned.
Oh, come on!
- Don't you think? - Well, some.
Somebody's agreeing with you.
I know there's modern dance, of course.
I never think of that as ballet.
I always think of in terms of Swan Lake or something like that,
- which seems, to me, very dated. - Well, what about...
Well... Well, because it's an old ballet.
It's been around for a long time.
What about something like Romeo And Juliet,
which is beautifully classical?
Um, it's not, sort of, people pretending to be swans.
I agree, that's a bit strange.
But do you think it'll ever reach
a stage where it can become a popular art?
- It is a popular art. - If it ever was.
- It is a popular art! - It doesn't get many of the people.
More... What are you talking about?!
This Christmas... This Christmas, we had the Opera House full,
we had the Festival Hall full, there was Wayne Sleep at the Dominion...
- It just worries me... - ..Song And Dance at the Palace.
Oh, I don't think of that as ballet.
- Packed! - That's not ballet.
- I... - They are dancing.
That's true, but... Yes, they are, they're ballet-trained,
I'll certainly give you that.
But I often wonder if a lot of the people who go
to the Royal Ballet, or the Sadler's,
I often wonder if they go just to be seen there.
Well, you don't, do you?
Which is why, naturally, I take the view that I do.
But do you sometimes feel like you're out there dancing
and they don't really understand what you're doing?
No, we only feel like that about the critics.
You're married to a critic, aren't you?
I know. It's the only way I could get him not to write about me.
Margot Fonteyn danced until she was... Ahem!
Do you intend to dance that long?
- Depends, doesn't it? - What does it depend on?
It depends on, well... it depends on the body,
how it holds up.
Um, it depends on whether I still love it as much as I love it now.
I think that's all it depends on, I think.
We hope you'll continue dancing and delighting everybody.
- Thank you very much. - Thank you, Lesley.
Lesley Collier. APPLAUSE
The lovely Lesley Collier. We must try and get some more ballerinas,
or ballet dancers, on the programme.
From the dance to the song.
Now, this particular group that I'm going to introduce to you
haven't had an LP for some time,
so it must be very gratifying for them to produce one
and then find that the first track taken off it becomes a very big hit.
They've flown over specially to be on Wogan, I'm delighted to welcome them,
with their hit, The Spice Of Life - Manhattan Transfer!
# Down on the corner there's a reason to smile
# When those evening shadows fall
# Some kind of feeling that it's hard to deny
# Once the neon lights start to call
# People out there searching for action
# Daytime distractions slipping right on by
ALL: # Tonight
# Let's taste the spice of life
# Keep it sweet until the morning light
# Watch fantasy unfold
SOLO: # And let the lovin' flow
# Caught in the madness of a summer romance
# At a moonlight rendezvous
# Lost in the spirit of a sensual dance
# That can cast a spell over you
# All you need's a night to remember
# Flying together on the highest high
ALL: # Tonight
# Let's taste the spice of life
# A little music and some candlelight
# Put passion in control
SOLO: # Oh-oh and let the lovin' flow
# I want you to know
# Could it be the start of a million dreams we share?
# So, lay back in the feelin'
ALL: # Let the evening take you there
# Ba-ba-ba-da, ba-ba-ba-da
# All we need is a night to remember
# Flying together on the highest high
ALL: # Tonight
- # Tonight - # Let's taste the spice of life
# I want to taste the spice of life
# A little music and some candlelight
# Put passion in control
# Oh, and let the lovin' flow
- # All night - # All night
# We'll taste the spice of life
# Got to taste the spice of life
# Keep it sweet until the morning light
# Make it sweet for me, baby
# Watch fantasy unfold
# Ooh, that's the only way to go
- # Tonight - # Tonight
- # Let's taste the spice of life - # Mmmmmm
# A little music and some candlelight
# A little music, baby
# Put passion in control
# Ooh, you know that's the only way to go
# All night... #
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
That's the splendid, the splendid Manhattan Transfer
and their current success, The Spice Of Life.
Continuing the cultural thread that has been running,
elusively, through the programme, I'd now like to introduce to you
a gentleman who made flatulence acceptable on the big screen.
A gold banana! How funny.
- Very nice. Is it a paperweight? - It's a very BBC touch, isn't it?
You keep this in your pocket, you'll be a rich man.
Because a paperweight will keep your trousers neat.
You'll always have a good crease.
Watch this, look.
Think of this as a gun, right?
You put it in your pocket - nobody's gonna hold you up, I promise you.
- See how nice that is? Right there. - That is good!
It does create a line of its own.
- Shall I wear it during the show? - I wish you would.
I've been trying to get it off the table for a long time.
Why do they have the two nuts there? I mean, what are these?
They're bronze strawberries.
No, they're not, they're walnuts.
- Bronze walnuts, then. - Bronze walnuts.
- It's the eyesight. - There was a man in the army...
All right, let's talk. OK, OK.
You are known as the master of bad taste.
Yes, I am, I am. I'm, er...
Is this justified, or are you sorry now?
No, no, no, it's justified.
I... I am known for my, er, exquisitely bad taste.
In America, people say, "Mr Brooks,
"you are in bad taste." I say, "Up yours."
That's now we talk. It isn't nice, but...
It's a sign of the entertainer, eh?
You know I've been watching the show from the wings.
I'm not going to criticise it, I love it.
The cameras seem to have some problems knowing when...
you are going to speak and when your guest is going to speak.
So, it occurred to me to warn them,
so that they don't come in on a second syllable or a second word.
If you say, "Ba-ba," and then talk, on the "ba-ba" they will cut to you.
If I am going to talk, I will say "Ba-ba," and they will cut to me.
Now, it may sound like some African language,
but the cameras will get it right,
even if the audience gets it a little mish-mushed.
This sounds very... Cos this is where you...
That's why you're a director and producer
- and I'm just a common or garden... - Ba-ba!
I'll tell you...
I hadn't finished.
I like that! That was good.
I didn't "ba-ba" - get the hell off!
Stay on him! Wait for the "ba-ba"!
Are there any subjects...
Are there any subjects you wouldn't touch upon?
Well, I mean, um, things of a papal nature, I never touch.
Why not? The Thorn Birds did.
Oh, well, The Thorn Birds, The Thorn Birds. They had no right to do that.
That was in execrable taste, I thought, don't you?
I mean, a priest actually... making amorous advances
to a virgin on a moor...
I mean... I mean, I wouldn't do that.
Not even in Blazing Saddles would I do a thing like that.
Ba-ba! I would turn...
I would turn his collar around before I'd have him touch anybody.
Just as a matter of good taste, good form, you know.
I was just thinking about you and your sense of humour.
Obviously, it's very difficult, cos humour - we won't go into all that -
- but it is a very subjective thing. - Hard to... Ba-ba!
Hard to coalesce the vapour of humour.
It is. Humour is that indefinable thing. I...
There's a Greek person who shall be nameless -
his name is Andreas Voutsinas.
- No wonder he's nameless(!) - He was in...
He was in... Ba-ba!
He was in...
He was in The Producers. He was in The Producers.
He played the roommate of the gay director.
I've forgotten it.
And his name... Yes, Andreas Voutsinas. He's wonderful.
And Andreas says... You know him?
And Andreas Voutsinas says, off-camera, he says,
"Or you got it or you ain't."
And I know what he means. He means it's a gift.
Comedy is a gift. It's a gift of timing.
Has it a lot to do with being Jewish?
I doubt it, I doubt it, because there are...
I mean, Sean O'Casey and GBS began...
founded great theatrical worlds of comedy.
Yes, but it just struck me -
would you be different, would your sense of humour be different,
- if you were Irish? - No. I'd be taller.
I would be taller, but it would be the same humour.
The Irish and the Jews, I mean, they have the same sense of humour.
They began... They feel deprived.
And, because of their deprivation, they overcompensate
by being extremely witty. Now... Ooh, ow!
Get off me, ba-ba on him for a while!
That's the nicest thing that's happened all evening.
- Get off me. - Like Mr Grayson,
you were a late developer, weren't you?
Do you wish that you'd developed a bit better and, indeed, earlier?
In what manner?
- Nearly every way. - Yes. Well, in that way, yes.
In that way, I wish I'd developed better,
because I would've attracted
a lot more people of the opposite persuasion.
Now, that was fast. Half of you got that!
- You didn't say ba-boom. - No, I didn't say ba-ba.
Yeah, yeah, I missed that.
Now that you've become a Hollywood mogul yourself,
with the Brooks films and everything, has that changed you a lot?
I mean, you were a sort of innocent, open-faced Jewish boy,
writing comedy and all that.
Now, you're a mogul and it's different, isn't it?
Now I'm a mogul, it's different, yes.
SWEETLY: I used to be innocent and writing things.
GRUFFLY: Now I'm a mogul. A fiend.
I'm a mogul - fire them and hire them and hire them and fire them.
Hire and fire and fire and hire.
Show me a...and...
SWEETLY: But I used to be innocent and quite wonderful and intransigent.
No, the last bit was more like you. That's more...
- Yes. - There, that was you.
- This is closer? - That's you.
- This is closer? - Yes. That's like...
Dr Jekyll and Mr Goldberg, right? Have you got that? Have I got it?
Yes, very... I don't know, I don't know.
To tell you the truth, I miss... I miss the innocent lad that I was.
Where does the director in you come into it?
Do you like bossing people around? Do you like telling people what to do?
Well, I mean, to be perfectly honest, yes.
There's no sense... There's no fooling you.
- Bright. - I knew you were power-crazed...
- You're too damn bright. - ..the minute you walked in here.
You know, in the beginning,
in the dressing room, when they were making me up, I said,
"Why the hell did Parkinson leave?
"I've got to work with this stupid Irishman."
No, no, but...
I said that in the dressing room as well.
But, then, I thought. I thought on it. I thought hard on it.
And what I came up with was I love your vocal ping-pong,
I love your alacrity, I love your quickness of mind, I love your wit.
And I love that most of your hair is your own.
- Yes, yes. - Yes. Success, however...
..has not unspoiled you, has it? I mean...
I'm not crazy about your tie, I can tell you that.
I shouldn't say that on the air.
- Well, you're a guest. - Yes, it's true.
You know, solid ties have been in for six years, now, you know that?
- And out again. - And out.
They probably will go out again.
We're wearing something different in Britain, you know.
All over, yes!
I understand you're a bit of a wine snob?
- Well, no, no, no, no, no. - Come on!
Come on. You bring your own bottle of wine to dinner!
Yes, yes. I drank some of the swill that you had in the dressing room.
What's this about bringing your own bottle to dinner?
I do, I do. I bring my own bottle to dinner.
Does this not offend your host or hostess?
Who gives a...?!
Who cares, rather...
- Yeah. - But this does not tie in...
Why take a chance on Muscadet or something?
Who knows what they're gonna serve?!
But a simple boy from the Jewish ghetto, bringing his own wine?
Chateau Lafite, Chateau Lafite, made by the Jews, drunk by the Jews.
What's the matter with it? Nothing wrong.
Rothschild, Rothschild, old boy. Rothschild.
Built the Suez Canal, helped the Empire out,
Benjy, Disraeli, remember?
You never knew when that knee would come up under the skirts, did you?
She was tough as nails.
Tough as nails! I loved her.
Best monarch that ever ruled England.
Queen Victoria, a thousand skirts, "Watch it, Benjy!"
The greatest woman that ever lived - Queen Victoria.
Do you admire the British system?
You're not going to be one of those Americans...
You're not going to say in a minute,
"London is my second home. I love it over here?"
- No, no, no. - You're not going to say that?
But I am an Anglophile and I'm taking something for it.
Three times a day, you take it.
And it takes away your love of the little postage stamp squares,
the red brick, the white Victorian trim,
the V&A, John Constable,
the, er... Sheila, who lives in Chelsea.
What a girl! Jesus.
She'll do... She'll do anything, if you beg.
You know what Jewish foreplay is?
Let me tell you what Jewish foreplay is.
- May I? - Please!
20 minutes of begging.
Do you know,
Terry, you're a saucy devil.
I watched your interview with Bob Fosse, who was very good,
and you were wonderful, but you did ask questions that were really...
- unseemly. - Saucy?
Yes, saucy. You said...
- You're a fine one to talk. - Well...
I mean, I'm vulgar, so I can say anything.
But you said, er, is there still a casting couch?
Is there still it the practice of having a casting couch?
- I was going to ask you that. - Yeah. And...
And then you said, "Do you use...?" I mean, what could he say?!
- Yes. - Yes...!
Well, I mean, even if he did, would he admit it?
- Would he admit it? - He nearly did!
- He nearly did? - What about you?
I admit it.
- I admit it. - But, look,
you don't need a casting couch.
With your attraction, you could have got the girls without it.
- And, yet, why... - You'll pay for that!
That hasn't gone unnoticed, old boy.
I like you, Wogan, I do, I swear to God.
Yet you married an Italian?
Wogan, there's a little green thing
on this side of your nose. Get it before...
DROWNED OUT BY APPLAUSE
Don't try and evade the issue.
And yet you married an Italian.
Yes, I did. Well, she's an American, born in the United States of America,
of Italian ancestry, Italian parentage.
- That's easy for you to say. - Yes.
Her mother and father were born in the US,
but her grandparents were born in good old Italy.
- Is she taller than you? - Ba-ba. Yes.
When she wears her spiked Cuban heels,
which I demand that she wear on Sunday nights...
You can drive the audience insane
- with this kind of talk. - Yes.
All she wears is spiked Cuban heels...
- Enough! - ..a large feather...
..and an Indian bathrobe.
No, my wife is actually a very conservative lady.
She's a dramatic actress.
She adores me because I'm the other side of her life.
I'm merriment, I'm fun. I'm silly.
When are we going to see that side of you?
But you've actually worked together.
Is it the first time you've worked together on your new movie?
I don't like it when you're really funny.
I like it when you're... when you're nearly funny, I like.
Because then the audience at home says,
"The Irishman thinks he's funny,
"but the little Jew, he's the one. He's funny.
"But the other...the other one thinks he's funny.
"The little J...he's really funny.
"The Irishman is nearly funny,
"but the little Jew, he's hysterical."
But then sometimes, you're really funny and it's very disappointing.
When you really get funny sometimes,
it takes the heart out of one, I'll tell you the truth.
Now, you've just worked together with Anne.
How did you lure this fine dramatic actress into this kind of dross?
With a giant Jew magnet. I said, "Come this way!
"You're mine, you're mine!" Ba-ba, schmuck! "You're mine!"
You call your wife schmuck?!
- No, no, no, the cameraman! - Oh, I see.
- Do you mind if I put my feet up? - Not at all.
- Are those your own feet? - No.
They're my own shoes.
- Oh! - Yes.
So, the straight actress.
I lured her with a modicum of wit...
..some grace, some poetry, some charm...
- a taste of wine. - Can't have been easy.
You'll pay for that.
Er, bonhomie, some cultural aspects,
a love of life,
and a million dollars.
- I paid for my wife. - She can be bought?
Yes. I paid 17 camels, 14 goats, 40 rubies,
and a Buick.
What are you going to do next?
I'm going to be a tailor. I'm gonna get pins and needles,
I'm gonna get cloth and I'm gonna cut suits to fit the perfect man.
I like that.
Are you gonna get rid of those ridiculous turn-ups on your trousers?
Yeah. I am, yeah.
Do you mean the vegetable - turnips? I mean,
what are you referring to?
I don't quite understand.
No, we don't wear those any more over here.
- Oh, you don't? - No, they're out of date now.
Well, let me... Can I...?
You'll all pay for that...
We call them cuffs in America.
Cuffs, you see. C-U-F-F-S, cuffs. We don't call them turn-ups.
Or carrots, or celery, or anything like that.
You've never really grasped the language, have you?
Well, if truth... Well...
We don't say "cent-ree", we say "cent-er".
You say "cent-ree" - C-E-N-T-R-E.
What about... What about lever?
All right, what about "composite", schmuck?!
What about "aluminium"?
What about it?!
Mel Brooks, I could sit here all night...
You could, you could, but you're not, are you?
No, cos I'm bored.
The old clock on the wall has beaten us, I'm afraid.
In my house, it's a sundial.
This has been, I swear to you, this has been almost a pleasure.
Even with Johnny Carson, and I'm very good on that show,
- I'm very good. - I don't believe it.
I'm wonderful on the show, in America, really. I sing.
I didn't sing on this show.
We were lucky.
Why do I like you? I shouldn't like you.
I could listen to that kind of talk for ever.
Yes, yes, it's easy, isn't it? Yes.
- But can you be quiet now? - Yes, I'll try.
- I'll do my best. - Mel Brooks.
Thank you, Terry.
- Want to try ba-ba? - Ba-ba.
My thanks to Mel Brooks and Manhattan Transfer
and Lesley Collier and Larry Grayson. Thank you for joining us.
I hope you'll make it a date next week at the same time,
when my guests will be Noel Edmonds, John Mortimer QC,
- Victoria Principal... - Victoria Principal's coming on?!
- Little Pammy from Ewing. - Ooh, I'm coming too.
You'll just have to take your turn.
Little Pammy Ewing from Dallas.
So, join us if you can, about ten to ten, next Saturday, BBC One,
for another Wogan. Have a nice weekend. Bye-bye.
MUSIC: "Wogan Theme Tune"
First transmitted in 1984, Terry Wogan talks to Larry Grayson about his approach to comedy and prima ballerina Lesley Collier shares anecdotes of her life at the Royal Ballet and dancing with Nureyev. The show ends with a one-off performance from 'Wogan and Brooks' as the interview with film director and comedian Mel Brooks turns into one long comic routine. The Manhattan Transfer are the musical guests.