"The Good Old Days" was a British variety
entertainment show broadcast
by the BBC
between 1953 and 1983, making it the longest running light entertainment
show in the world.
The show was broadcast from the City Varieties Theatre in Leeds, (one of the best examples of the few Victorian music halls remaining in Britain). In keeping with the Victorian/Edwardian theme of the programme, everyone in the show wore costume - even the audience was decked out in hooped dresses, bustles, hats, shawls, huge sideburns, fob watches and handlebar moustaches. The audience's enthusiasm for wearing costume was due, for the most part, to the fact that free entry was granted to those dressed appropriately. The surfeit of British amateur dramatics societies also played its part.
Although the show featured approximately 2000 entertainers during its 30 year run, the most remembered character on the show is Leonard Sachs, who acted as host/MC for most of the broadcasts. His trademark was the excrutiatingly long-winded manner in which he introduced the acts on stage: Awash with alliteration, his voluminous vocalization would inspire awe in the audience, who would respond with a chorus of ooh's and aah's as Mr. Sachs wound himself up into a frenzied finale culminating with the banging of his gavel and the arrival of the artiste on stage.
Audience participation wasn't limited to wearing period costume, however. They would routinely assist Leonard Sachs in the completion of his tortured testimonial and elongated ennunciation. The audience sometimes joined in with the act on stage and were encouraged to encouraged to sing-along to the final song of the show: "Down at the old Bull and Bush".
Truely a unique programme - No one who saw this piece of British televison heritage will ever forget it - whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I shall leave as an exercise for the reader.