MOURNING THE LOSS OF LIGHT/LATE LUNCH
On Wednesday 4th March 1999, at 6.57pm the credits of the last ever
Light/Late Lunch rolled. As the "I" on Princess Productions pinged
for the last ever time, a national institution was lost for ever.
A nation of students, unemployed and anybody else attracted to daytime TV,
were left mourning the exit of two people who have
dominated their life for the last 188 shows.
It was two years ago that I first came across Mel & Sue, the Queens
of Daytime TV (it was disputed at first as Richard and Judy laid
claim to being the King and Queen, but opinion would agree that
Mel & Sue are the newly crowned Queens). I was at home, supposed
to be working on my Dissertation, but as usual the pull of the TV
was too much. By chance I happened to switch to Channel 4 where
two woman were presenting a cookery and chat programme, with a
mixture of jokes, puns and what can only be described as messing
about. In their own words, they were a couple of berking ninnies.
But they immediately struck a chord. They had the same sense of
humour as me, they revelled in corny jokes and if a pun could be
used, however cheesy, they used it. And so my obsession was born
on that day. I went back to University, ready to spread the word
but this new discovery I had found and got my friend Lynz as
hooked as I was. Unfortunately, living in Chester and having to
put up with the Welsh lack of humour, I had to watch S4C, which
showed the Welsh version of Eastenders. But I was not to be
deterred and I managed to tune into a fuzzy picture, but I was
prepared to put up with this, just so I could watch what were
fast becoming my comedy heroes.
And so my obsession developed. I finished college and that summer was
one of blissful enjoyment. I was able to watch a clear picture and
every lunchtime I was there glued to my TV. If I was not there
physically, I would video it, and there began my policy of
videoing every episode and keeping them if I thought they were a
classic (a difficult choice, as to me everyone was a classic). I
became familiar with all their phrases and so started to use
them. My brain was becoming addled, everything was quality, and I
didn't want to go down that road! My friends even noticed a
change in me and I was often told that I was like them. A claim
in public I dismissed but in secret I was pleased.
Soon just watching the programme wasn't enough. I wanted to be there,
and after an unsuccessful trip in October, my dream finally came true
when on February 12th 1998 (a date etched in my mind) I was in the
audience. This trip increased my obsession. I now knew what happened
at breaks, the reaction Mel and Sue gave to guests. I was now a
true and dedicated follower of Mel and Sue.
When Light Lunch came to an end I shed a slight tear, but I knew that
they were to return in the from of Late Lunch. Although it has not
been as good, (a fact I blame on those evil Princess Production
people) I have still not been able to tear myself away from them.
I was still there at 6.00pm taking in every joke, pun and
I have often asked myself why Mel and Sue have had such an impact on
my life. And it has been a huge impact. There have been
programmes that I have had to watch and could not miss, but not
in the same way. I like French and Saunders but I did not feel
the need to watch every programme they were in. Never before have
I felt the need to buy magazines which I would never ever dream
of buying, just because Mel & Sue were in them.
Never have I visited a website everyday to chat to fellow obsessive's
and even meet up with them. It felt I was living through my
adolescence again, although I did stop short of pining posters on
my wall of them. So what was it about Mel and Sue that made me
change my behaviour from a normal (some people my debate this)
person, into an obsessive fan? Well firstly it was Mel and Sue,
and not Light/Late Lunch format that I liked. It was there brand
of humour that I enjoyed, their act of just being there enjoying
it all and not taking themselves too seriously. They were just
having fun. Never before had I felt that someone else had the
same silly humour as I did. They made food puns left, right and
centre. They were the queens of Cheese, embracing fromage head
on,never embarrassed by the cornyness of their jokes. They
brought the world of writing songs to my door and gave me
inspiration for many jokes, songs and even a web site! Mel was
the sillier of the two. The one who brought international mime to
our screens, who had an obsession for Peter Purves and made
burping at meal times acceptable. Sue was always the one with the
quicker wit, who could think on her feet and off course had the
coolest blue hair cut! Together they came to our screens and became
the Comedy Queens of all time.
So as the credits closed and Mel and Sue were dancing round the
studio in celebration, I, and I'm sure many other people, shed a
tear. It was the realisation that a major part of my life had
come to close. I would no longer find myself getting excited
about Wednesdays (or as before lunchtimes). Looking forward to
the next song they were going to improve, and no more giving it
up and shaking it about for the band. Yes a piece of me has died
with Late/Light Lunch. But Mel & Sue will go on.
I look forward to seeing them live on tour, where I'm sure they will
be quality without the restraints of prime time television. I'm
sure they will return to TV with another programme, more sketches
and more catchphrases. Although Light/Late Lunch will always be the programme
that they are most readily associated with, Mel and Sue will go on.
I will once again have the chance to revel in their comic genius's.
So while I await May 7th and hopefully their new project, I
content myself with the videos of Light/Late Lunch. I relive the historic
moments and give thanks that Mel & Sue came into my life. So in
the immortal words of Mel & Sue, I say Good Evening to Light/Late
Lunch. It's been lovely sharing the last 2 years with you, but I
hope to give it up and shake it about for the two berking
ninnies, the two pun queens, the comedy goddesses and my
inspiration for my own paltry comic life, Mel & Sue, very soon.