Having been created as a puppet by the legendary Peter Firmin (who along with Oliver Postgate created some truly magical children’s telly) and given voice by Ivan Owen, Basil Brush, whose catch phrase was Boom-Boom (usually heard after Basil had told a joke) spent the early part of his career playing second fiddle on kids shows The Three Scampis and as a friend of TV Magician David Nixon. The clearly influenced by Terry-Thomas Basil hit the big time with his first starring series in 1968, an early Saturday evening entertainment that was full of Basil’s trademark rubbish jokes and banter with ex-Likely Lad Rodney Bewes, there were also sketches and music from the latest top pop acts.
Quite big budget stuff and very popular, with lots of merchandise and even two LPs (Long Playing records), the Basil Brush show ran throughout the 1970′s and was only cancelled at the end of 1980 after Owen apparently wanted to move Basil into more of an adult audience. Over the years Basil’s co-stars, always male and always known as Mister, changed and included Derek Fowlds, Roy North, Billy Boyle and Howard Williams (who had also appeared with Basil in The Three Scampis). Many star names made appearances on the show including the Dad’s Army Cast, Princess Anne and Abba and the show was mostly written by George Martin (not the Beatles producer!).
In 1976 there was a Christmas special broadcast called BASIL IN NEVERLAND again written by Martin and which aired on BBC1 on 18 December at Saturday 5.20pm, guest stars were Brian Blessed and Jan Hunt and in 1980 Basil appeared on the children’s show Let’s Read With Basil Brush.
After some 20 years (and the death of Ivan Owen) Basil Brush returned to BBC TV with a show of his own (26×25 minute episodes and made by Entertainment Rights and The Foundation) once more (he had in fact made semi- regular appearances on other shows throughout the 1980′s), this time the format was straight sitcom in which Basil was staying with “Uncle Steven” an his neice and nephew Dave and Molly.
UK / BBC-1 / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 14 June 1968 – 27 December 1980 and 21 September 2002 – 21 December 2007
Creators: Ivan Owen, Peter Firmin / Producers included Johnny Downes, Robin Nash, Brian Penders and Paul Ciani
cast of 2002 revival
CHRISTOPHER PIZZEY as Steven
MICHAEL HAYES as Dave
GEORGINA LEONIDAS as Molly
AJAY CHABRA as Anil