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Appearance on House Party (1998)

Director:
Richard Valentine

Producer:
Jim McHughe

Host:
Noel Edmund

Broadcast by:
The BBC

"[??]" is used to indicate uncertain transcription phrases.

A rowdy soccer team has just been on. Edmund's transition to the next spot was "Well done, the Hammers, . . . and well done, Wendy Richard! Gotcha!" At that point, the camera swung to the balcony overhead, where Ms. Richard waved to the studio audience, who responded with sustained applause. She came down the stairs -- rather cautiously -- where Edmund took her arm, saying "Just mind it here, it's very, very slippery; we've had some hooligans in..."

Wendy and Noel

-- evidently, there was a lot of loose debris left around on the stage as a result of antics earlier in the show. The two then settled in a couple of chairs in a talk-show setting to discuss the hidden camera set-up.

Ms. Richard looked gorgeous, and was dressed quite sharply in a lovely dark dress.

{Wendy}

NE : "I thought you were very, very good to accept the invitation of taking part in sort of an actor's workshop, really, wasn't it . . ."

WR : "Yes, I do quite a bit for Radio Four, so I just thought it was another job."

NE : "Yeah. We told you it was Radio Four, but of course it was us, and we hid the cameras away."

WR (smiling): "Yes, I know now. . ."

NE : "There was this amateur dramatic society who Wendy was going to help with a bit of coaching. What she didn't know was that there was a bit of a love thing going on, a bit of infidelity, so that was one plot; and there was a terrible producer, and the hall had a double booking. It was just one drama after another.... "

At this point they began to roll the footage.

There are a number of folks up on a stage at the back of a meeting hall. The actors are clustered on the right, about six of them, with a director; Ms. Richard is over on the left side of the stage, sitting with the director's assistant, holding a script. The 'actors' she is working with clearly give a new meaning to the word amateur. . . they're terribly hammy and unprofessional and they don't listen to her advice at all (actually, sound advice such as: "I think you're being a bit too pointed on some of your words there...").

Wendy directing

The director wants to keep the pace going: "Can we move on now? The play's going to take seven hours now...." Wendy apologizes. The actors then put her on the spot by denigrating the director and praising her. They continue on. The camera catches Wendy as she smiles as the bad acting inexorably continues.

Wendy bemused

One of the hidden cameras focuses in some snuggling between two of the younger actors. It's unclear whether Wendy notices or not, but finally, the assistant next to her leans over and whispers: "Those two are having an affair." Wendy: "You're joking!".

Next, a woman walks in the door of the hall with a large dog on a leash. "I'm afraid there's a dog obedience class in the hall now." The director argues with her, as more folks come in with all sorts and sizes of dogs. He tells the people to get the wretched dogs out of the hall. The director is losing control of situation, and appears to becoming increasing irate, demanding the dogs be removed, but none of the owners listen to him. Wendy watches with a fascinating play of emotions; surprise, disbelief, and bemusement in spite of herself: "I wish I'd brought my dog now, she needs obedience class!" she says at one point to the assistant beside her.

Wendy watching dogs

Things become increasingly chaotic. Finally, a man with hair like "Weird Al" Yankovic and a backpack walks in. The audience watching the footage recognize him as Edmund in disguise. The actors see him. and quiet down for a moment. Evidently, he is a person of some import. "Nigel!" "Nigel, where have you been?" The man climbs the stage and begins arguing with the director and the actors. Many of the words are unintelligible, but he is certainly loud and obnoxious, shouting at the woman and the man who are having an affair, telling one chap to shut up, almost hits other people, threatens the director and then strides over toward the left side of the stage. Wendy isn't expecting anything, because she appears to be politely concentrating on the script while all the shouting is going on around her. 'Nigel' puts his hand on her shoulder and Wendy jumps, startled, and screams, scattering her papers. Embarrassed, she apologizes for her action, and shakes hands with him. He then sort of apologizes for his group there, and then rather puts her on the spot by asking what has been going on. Standing next to Wendy -- who is clearly ill at ease -- he continues to abuse the actors. Finally, she queues up her courage and says: "I just want to say that I think these dogs have been better behaved than you lot."

Then 'Nigel' brushes aside his locks, and Wendy begins to recognize him. He then reaches into his backpack, pulls out a Gotcha trophy, and Wendy start laughing. She recognizes Edmund by now, and gives him a kiss on the cheek. Edmund says, "I'll take that as a compliment. Wendy: "It is!"

Back at the studio . . .

[Wendy laughing]

NE: "You were shaking for about an hour after that..."

WR: "I was! I thought you were going to hit me! You know, you came in with all this shouting. . . But could I just say: the chap with the glasses in the play; he said at the beginning when they were introducing themselves, that he was an insurance salesman -- and he really struck me as being an insurance salesman -- and he got on my wick SO much when we were doing the play; I really wanted to slap him. At one point he came up to me with [a fake moustache] what looked like a dead mouse and said 'You think I should wear this? Would it add to the character?' Oohh!"

NE: "Wendy, we gotcha!"

Hands her the Gotcha award..

WR: "I shall treasure that [trophy]."

Applause and final credits.


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