I TALK TELLY

i talk to: the chuckle brothers

Chuckle Brothers

To celebrate the fact that I Talk Telly is turning three today, I’ve decided to take a look back to the nineties, a time when kids TV was at its absolute best.

One of my favourite programmes growing up had to be Chucklevision. Not a week would go by where I didn’t watch at least one episode, either before school or as soon as I got back from school in the afternoon.

Their catchphrase “To me, to you” remains one of the most well-know TV catchphrases ever, so it’s no wonder the series ran for over 20 years and the pair are still as popular today as they were in the nineties and noughties.

Recently the Chuckle brothers have made a bit of a comeback thanks to Tinchy Stryder who only the other week released To Me To You (Bruv), a charity single with a music video courtesy of SBTV. Last week the Chuckle brothers, aka Paul and Barry Elliott, were on their way to BBC Radio 1 to perform in the famous Live Lounge for a session dubbed #ChuckleLounge.

As they made their way to BBC Broadcasting House for ‘that’ performance, I caught up with the Chuckle brothers to talk about how the song with Tinchy Stryder came about, what it was like filming Chucklevision for all those years, and of course we discussed the possibility of Chucklevision returning to our screens…

But first, let’s relive the iconic Chucklevision theme tune… (You’re welcome)

First of all congratulations on your single with Tinchy Stryder, that’s doing incredibly well, over a million views now. How did that all come about?

Paul: Cheers, it’s going up and up. We met on the Keith Lemon show, Celebrity Juice, we’d never met before and got on like wildfire and kept in touch. Then between us we said – “Why don’t we do something just for a bit of fun?” – so we went down to his studio and lay something down just for a laugh… not for anything special!

And then once we’d done it we realised it was actually quite good and Jamal Edwards got involved and shot a video of it, so we thought why not put it out for charity. Which we have done, and nobody expected it to have this level of interest you know. Let’s hope it makes a lot for ACLT Charity.

Barry: Yeah, cheers mate. It’s ridiculous. We never expected it, it’s very good and we’re very pleased. Especially for the charity you know.

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So let’s talk about Chucklevision then, 292 episodes over 22 years. That’s a pretty impressive run for a TV show, did you ever expect it to last so long?

P: No, I didn’t expect it to go on for that long and there are still a lot of fans around now who grew up with us.

B: When they first commissioned Chucklevision, they thought maybe two series and it’s amazing that it’s gone on for that long. There are so many great memories.

We had the same crew for such a long time, we had the same crew for the first sort of 10 years and then the last 10 years we had a different crew but we were all together at the same time you know. We still had a very friendly atmosphere and it was just like going home all the time when we went down to filming.

Let’s go right back to the very beginning then, how did Chucklevision come about?

P: Well, we met with Martin Hughes who was our producer/director most of the way through. He produced Chucklevision right to the end just about. They came to see us in Manchester in a show we were doing and the next day invited us to talk about going on the Roger The Dog show, which was on children’s TV at the time.

We were given these costumes and were told – “Will you put these on?” – and we were like, of course we will! It’s work. And then that went on to become Chuckle Hounds which got its own series and that went on to us doing our own series as brothers in Chucklevision.

How much input did you have throughout the years into what made the show and what didn’t?

P: We wrote from very early on, which is when we had time to do it. Later on in the years we didn’t have time to do much writing so we just used to write some gags and certain events. We’d actually change scripts on the day. If we saw something that needed slapstick, we’d add it in. If there was a bucket there we’d step in it!

B: We all got involved with each other when we were filming, it was excellent, it was a brilliant atmosphere. It was important to have our own input, if something was written and we wouldn’t say it that way we would change it to the way we would say it, which makes it a lot easier and more natural.

This is probably a really difficult question to answer, but do you have a favourite moment or episode of Chucklevision?
P: Oh… well, there’s quite a few from the early days. The one that sticks in my head is the one we did at Rotherham United
football ground. We filmed on the actual ground and on the day of a match they filmed as well. That’s our hometown team of course, so that sticks in our memory.

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Now, Chucklevision isn’t shown on TV anymore, but there is an online petition to bring it back to television. What do you make of the petition?

P: Well, we stopped recording the show in 2010 I believe, and the last repeat was on early 2012 and they haven’t repeated it in all that time, which I think is a bit silly. I think the petition is great, but I can’t see it working because the BBC just don’t listen to things like that. They do not want what the public want, it’s a publicly owned company but they don’t listen to the public. They never have done and they never will do! It’s a shame.

B: We do want it to be shown on television again because everyone’s asking for it you know. Everyone keeps going – “When is it coming back? When is it going to be on?” The BBC are missing out really by not putting it on, but that’s the BBC for you. When you get to a certain age they go – “Oh no, they’re too old now. We won’t use them.” do you know what I mean?

What do make of kids TV these days?

P: I’m not keen on it at all nowadays, because there’s a lot of cartoon stuff on which people can’t get involved with really. It’s OK to watch, but you can’t get to the audience as much with them. There’s not the comedy like when our shows were on, and Bodger And Badger and stuff like that.

And finally, what about new episodes? Can we expect Chucklevision back on our TV anytime soon?

B: Well not for the BBC probably because as I said, they don’t look at it now as though we’re a part of it. But we’ve got other irons in the fire from different people, writing stuff and all that. So hopefully there’ll be something on within the next few years. But it won’t be children’s.


You can download To Me To You (Bruv) by Tinchy Stryder featuring The Chuckle Brothers from iTunes here, and the book Fifty Years Of To Me… To You is available to buy here.