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The Two Ronnies p2

Variety, also known as vaudeville, was a form of live entertainment, where people would go to a hall or theatre and see a variety of acts on the one night: singers, comedians, dancers, acrobats and other features. It’d be nice to see it make a comeback actually. Variety came out of the Victorian era, if not earlier, and crossed to radio and then tv.

The Two Ronnies used the variety format for their tv show, which ran on BBC 1 from 1971 to 1987. They performed comedy sketches together, sang ridiculous songs in character, and there were guest singers like The New World Trio. The Two Ronnies opened each show by reading mock news stories at a news readers’ desk.

Here are some samples of these news gags from The Two Ronnies. The Best of the Ronnnies’ Dialogue. Published 1980 by Star Books; and edited by Ian Davidson who was The Two Ronnies’ script editor.

RB [Ronnie Barker]: The Department of Juvenile Health today published the results of its enquiry into why children should eat green vegetables. Chiefly, the document reveals, is that if they don’t, they won’t get any pudding.

RC: [Ronnie Corbett]: In Spofforth today, the funeral of Britain’s most successful door to door salesman was called off because every time they tried to close the lid, he jammed his foot in it.

RB: Librarian of the year Elspeth Pickles has at last had her baby. It was a month overdue and was fined 48p.

RC: An unfortunate fire at New Scotland Yard today destroyed hundreds of criminal records, including Deck of Cards by Max Bygraves.

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