chucklevision

ChuckleVision is a long running British children’s television series created by John Sayle and the Chuckle Brothers for the BBC. It starred Barry and Paul Elliott as The Chuckle Brothers and their older brothers, Jimmy and Brian Elliott (known professionally as the Patton Brothers). It ran for 292 episodes over twenty-one series from 1987 to 2009.

Episodes of ChuckleVision are usually independent, with the basic plot for each involving the brothers undertaking a job, task or adventure. They are often employed by a character known as “No Slacking”, who despite appearing as a different character in every episode, is always known by this name owing to the catchphrase he says to the brothers (“And remember, No Slacking!”). The character is always inconvenienced by Paul and Barry and is played by the brothers’ real-life elder sibling, Jimmy Patton. Jimmy was part of a comedy act called The Patton Brothers with his brother Brian, who also appeared in various episodes, mostly playing a villain with the catchphrase “Getoutofit!”. A large amount of the comedy is based on slapstick and usually the jobs Paul and Barry carry out can be somewhat surreal or put them in surreal circumstances.

The duo have also carried out work for a “Dan the Van” who has never been seen on screen. The only exception was in one episode where the Chuckle Brothers take it upon themselves to make sure he arrives to a special meeting. Dan’s face cannot be seen as he is completely covered in bandages and is wearing dark sunglasses. Relatives of Dan the Van are sometimes seen or referred to, such as his grandmother Lettuce the Van.

The format of the first two series (1987–1989) consisted of each episode focusing on a certain topic, a sort of humorous Blue Peter. These episodes had rarely been viewed by the public eye since their original transmission, until the series was released onto DVD in Autumn 2011.

The brothers’ main mode of transport is “The Chuckmobile”, a quadracycle with a red-and-white striped roof. Barry is usually designated to driving, whilst Paul puts his feet up on the front bar. Paul has only pedalled the bike very occasionally throughout the entire series. The registration plate of the bike is CHUCKLE 1.

An exception to the usual format of stand-alone episodes came with Series 14, broadcast in 2001. The series employed a continuous story line throughout each episode, involving the brothers’ hunt for a missing ruby. They continued a similar trend in the next two series, with two 3-part stories in Series 15, entitled “The Purple Pimple” and “Magnetic Distraction”. A two part story called “Incredible Shrinking Barry” appears in Series 16. From Series 17, this trend was not repeated.

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