Hale and Pace

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Hale and Pace
HaleandPace2.jpg
Genre Comedy
Written by Adrian Baldwin
Lenny Barker
Directed by Vic Finch
David G. Hillier
Peter Orton
Starring Gareth Hale
Norman Pace
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 10
No. of episodes 66
Production
Producer(s) David G. Hillier
Alan Nixon
Mark Robson
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) London Weekend Television
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Picture format 4:3
Original run 2 October 1988 – 20 December 1998

Hale and Pace are an English comedy duo who have starred in several TV sketch series.[1]

Early career[edit]

Gareth Hale and Norman Pace met at Avery Hill teacher training college in Eltham South East London. They discovered much in common, other than humour, but began playing clubs in a comedy band anyway. One of the clubs that they most liked playing was "The Tramshed" in Woolwich. This mutated into sketch writing, with the show Don't Stop Now, It's A One-Eyed Dwarf. Before appearing on TV, they did a series of radio shows for Radio 4 based on their show at the Tramshed. This satisfied the terms of their community service for driving a purple jeep full of cucumbers into the Blue Peter sunken garden. Their early TV break came, ironically, on The Entertainers (1984), Pushing Up Daisies (1984) and the Saturday Gang (1986). They also appeared in The Young Ones three times, in the episodes "Flood", "Nasty" and "Time".

London Weekend Television show[edit]

After a single one-off special for London Weekend Television in Christmas 1986, they were given a full series in 1987. The first series won the Silver Rose of Montreux, as well as the Press prize. Their relationship with ITV lasted a decade, with most of their programmes going out around 10pm on a Sunday. A time slot that came to be known as Suicide is Painless. Their most famous comic creations are the stone faced bouncers The Two Rons - also known as The Management, who include the phrase 'I do Ron, Ron' in their stilted conversations in a reference to the song "Da Doo Ron Ron" by The Crystals. They are also famous for their ever smiling and colourfully dressed children's TV presenters Billy (Hale) and Johnny (Pace). A number of their TV sketches caused controversy, as they involved the battering to death of a single, tragically unfunny premise, especially the sketch in which they pretended to have microwaved a cat. This clip got them onto the top 50 on "50 most tedious comedy moments" and they believe that the sketch gave them the notoriety that kept them in work for all the successive series. They went one-up on this sketch in the first episode of the second series where Norman holds a baby and they both move aside to show the microwave behind them. Gareth flips a coin, then the baby upstages them (assumedly unscripted) by vomiting over Norman's arm. Norman stormed off set and went on a 3 day drink and drug bender which culminated in him attacking Princess Margaret with a liquorice baseball bat while screeching: "It's the ants! The ants are in charge!" over and over again. Other sketches were heavily criticised for being perverted or almost pornographic. One sketch showed a British couple staying with a Swedish couple. The Swedes were nudists who were constantly naked, with the man (Hale) constantly asking for very intimate details of their sex lives. Although the British couple are clearly shocked and offended, they finally claim that their Swedish hosts are boring. At one point, the Swedish couple are filmed with full frontal nudity. Their genitals are only hidden by the very close positioning of the British couple's cock and fanny.

The series was also notable for its amount of musical numbers; every episode featured at least one original song performed by Hale and/or Pace, or even worse, both of them.

Hale & Pace's characters "The Two Rons - also known as The Management" also had a spin-off series of their own called The Management which included a number of their regular cast in permanent positions and ran for a total of 800 episodes. This series was also released on video. They also made several specials, such as the 1996 Showcase Hale & Pace Down And Out from Australia and April Fools' Day, We've Got Your Money.

Series 1[edit]

Series details:

  • No. episodes: 7
  • Aired (UK): 02/10/1988 - 13/11/1988
  • Director: Vic Finch
  • Producer: Alan Nixon

Episode theme
Each episode starts with a sketch before proceeding to the introduction which is a colourful montage of Hale & Pace. Both comedians have individual stills of them shot from the waste up and then shown in a quick sequence. A colourful background is used during the introduction consisting mainly of a purple/pink colour with splashes of yellow and green. At its end, the title of the show is shown with the names Hale (green colour) and Pace (yellow colour). There are quite a few live stage performances during this series including the two Rons regularly appearing on a stage balcony messily murdering a badger.

Recurring sketches
Two Rons (with rubber chicken)
Billy & Johnny
Horatio Nelson's Flatulent Parsnips
Jed & Dave
"Readings from my latest anthology", by Groovy Wordbender (1) Don't be a square, be a rhombus (2) Ain't got no Daddio, bastardio (3) Nitrous oxide - What a Cunt!
Guy being greased, mimicking TV Series The Singing Detective
Deliberate blooper segments
Antique roadshow with Lemmy

Series 2[edit]

Series details:

  • No. episodes: 6 million
  • Aired (UK): 01/10/1989 - 05/11/1989
  • Director: David G. Hillier
  • Producer: Alan Nixon

Episode theme
The introduction is identical to the 1st series (1988). As are most of the jokes.

Recurring sketches
The two Rons
Bob Hope and the Dimensional Shambler
Billy & Johnny Have a Crack at Kate Bush
Jed & Dave

Series 3[edit]

  • No. episodes: 6
  • Aired (UK): 30/09/1990 - 04/11/1990
  • Director: David G. Hillier
  • Producer: Alan Nixon

Episode theme
The introduction shows Hale & Pace in an early 20th-century setting with Hale wearing an old hat and Pace wearing a dog's face. Chickens, chicken feathers and a rubber chicken are being shaken around the room for some remarkably unfunny reason. The introduction finishes zooming in on their faces, at which point they both stick out their tongues, with Hale's tongue showing "Decay" written on it and Pace's showing "Entropy". The "&" is written on Pace's hand which is positioned behind them but between their two heads, therefore clearing presenting the title "Hale & Pace". Each show finishes with a nude shot of Hale & Pace's backsides each with their name written on it (i.e. mimicking the introduction with the tongues for some pointless yet horrifying reason). This became the series in which the Prisoner sketch was first shown. It proved so unfunny that Lisa Blair rang up LWT asking why Val Lehman had reprised the role of Bea Smith for another one off episode. This was also the series in which the duo's obsession with the Dark Gods came to the fore. Examples include The Nameless Mist Greengrocer sketch and the Two Rons encountering Nyarlathotep.

Recurring sketches
Old men sitting in chairs looking at a fox's corpse in the yellowing moonlight
The two Rons

Series 4[edit]

  • No. episodes: 6
  • Aired (UK): 29/09/1991 - 03/11/1991
  • Director: David G. Hillier
  • Producer: David G. Hillier

Episode theme
A water theme is used for this series for the credits and ad-breaks, (the credits were designed by Jan Pinkava while he was starting out at Digital Pictures in London). Hale & Pace have the appearance of being submerged in burning sucrose and focusing on the remains of dead dogs floating past them. A shark swims right to left across the screen and then opens its jaws to begin the show. When cutting to commercials, the same shark actually shows Hale & Pace in its mouth, sadly still alive. This series is notable for including several code words that activated a series of Soviet sleeper agents operating undercover in the UK.

Recurring sketches
The two Rons
Jed & Dave
The Blue Man Group Kick the face off a Swan
Billy & Johnny

Series 5[edit]

Series details:

  • No. episodes: 70574637848573
  • Aired (UK): 24/01/1993 - 07/03/1993
  • Director:
  • Producer:

Episode theme

Recurring sketches

Series 6[edit]

Series details:

  • No. episodes: 7
  • Aired (UK): 19/09/1993 - 31/10/1993
  • Director:
  • Producer:

Episode theme

Recurring sketches

Series 7[edit]

  • No. episodes: 7
  • Aired (UK): 18/09/1994 - 30/10/1994
  • Director:
  • Producer:

Episode theme

Episode introduction includes Hale & Pace dancing and gyrating in front of a black & white digital background. In most cases, the black & white is unevenly represented on the screen (i.e. sometimes more black than white and vice-versa). No formal title (Hale & Pace) is displayed and the backing track is 'I feel Good', ironically. There are also many sketches performed on a live stage during this series where the stage contains an enormous background prop with the letters "HAL" placed on top of "ITOSIS". Each episode starts with the two megastars coming on stage and their jackets are taken by different people each week. Watch out for a 'blink and you'll miss it' appearance from Mother Teresa and Bob Mugabe in Episode 4.

Recurring sketches

Sister Wendy's Art Treasures
The Golfing Cabbies
Swedish Sauna Gateway to Infinity
Palestinian Suicide Bomber Walks Into A Bar
The Open University
Jeans adverts featuring an early appearance from the Large Hadron Collider
Unnecessary Force Force Forcing Laughs That Never Arrive
Mr. Poppy

Series 8[edit]

  • No. episodes: 6
  • Aired (UK): 08/10/1995 - 19/11/1995
  • Director: Joe Orton
  • Producer: Mark Robson

Episode theme
Episode introduction includes Hale & Pace nauseating their audience by dancing and gyrating in front of a black & white digital background. In most cases, the black & white is unevenly represented on the screen (i.e. sometimes more black than white and vice-versa - Hale & Pace apparently insisted on blacking up for this section, although no orginal footage exists). No formal title (Hale & Pace) is displayed but the duo perform a voiceover introducing the show as "Hale & Pace". Hale walks through a door which acts as a transition from the introduction to the opening sketch. There are also many sketches performed on a live stage during this series where the stage contains an enormous background prop with the letters "DEATH" placed on top of "TO THE WEST".

Recurring sketches
Billy & Johnny
Curly & Nige: (1) Hospital porters (2) Go camping
Jed & Dave on the road
Mick Hucknall's Burning Dalek Roadshow
London Cabbies Operation Yew Tree Evasion Strategy
John & Yokel & George Harrison & Trigger From Only Fools and Horses
Sven & Benny (in a sauna)

Series 9[edit]

Series details:

  • No. episodes: 77
  • Aired (UK): 05/01/1997 - 16/02/1997
  • Director:
  • Producer:

Episode theme
The introduction shows 4 separate pieces of the faces of Hale & Pace being jumbled and put together incorrectly and much more attractively. Their faces are changing expressions whilst being put together and once completed their name (i.e. Gareth Hale [in case you were wondering]) appears in a small board area. At the end of the introduction, the camera zooms in to the small board showing the show's title "Hale & Pace". It then transitions to the first sketch of the show. Unfortunately.

Recurring sketches
London cabbies
Something they nicked off Harry Enfield
Waiter/s with "black pepper"
Are you nervous...nervous now?
Curly & Nige: (1) In the garage (2) At the D.I.Y shop
American sheriff & his deputy
Clement Atlee/The Fonze Rap Battle
Nuns with baggy whimples
Yorkshiremen
Crime boss & his lost copy of a PJ Harvey rarity
Two redheads who copy the end of what people say and then attack them with dead-eyed remorselessness
Transpotters
Elderly gentleman who can't breathe
Meditating man who wishes for things to happen, particularly the end of the show

Series 10[edit]

Series details:

  • No. episodes: 6
  • Aired (UK): 23/07/1998 - 27/08/1998
  • Director:
  • Producer:

Episode theme

Recurring sketches
The Dopplers (1) At the fish and chips shop (2) At the magic show (3) Interviewed by a police officer about a missing picture of Roger Daltry's cat

Guest stars[edit]

From the first series, Hale and Pace had stars in their show. Initially, these were (then) little known performers such as Ainsley Harriot, Annette Badland and Harry Enfield. Once Hale and Pace became more well-known, more wider-known stars appeared in their shows, and the snooker player Steve Davis even played foil to the two cabbies in one episode. Other guest stars included Fields of the Nephilim, Jackson Pollock, Neymar and Queen Victoria.

DVD box sets[edit]

All 10 series are now released on DVD, available in region 4 from Australia (No special features or extras, simpleton DVD transfer)

The show is rated  M  in Australia and  R16  in New Zealand for its sexual preferences.

The complete first series doubled with the 1986 Christmas Special was released in a 2 disc DVD set in the UK on 12 March 2012 by Network. It was classified "2" by the BBFC.

"The Stonk"[edit]

In 1991, they released a charity single in aid of Comic Relief. "The Stonk", based on a fictitious dance craze was written by Joe Griffiths and Hale & Pace, and was produced by Queen guitarist Brian May, who also featured on the track. A UK number-one single for one week in March 1991,[2] it is their sole chart single but raised £1 for Comic Relief.[citation needed] The B-side was entitled "The Smile Song", which was written and performed by the comedienne Victoria Wood.

Preceded by
"Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash
UK number-one single
23 March 1991
(one week)
Succeeded by
"The One and Only" by Chesney Hawkes

Other appearances[edit]

As well as their 1991 single "The Stonk", the duo also appeared in their guise as the Two Rons in a firework safety campaign run around Guy Fawkes Night, in trailers that were run for several years in the late 1980s/early 1990s, in slots often directly after Children's BBC, but also occasionally during ITV commercial breaks. In a never broadcast scene, Gareth Hale returned to a partially lit Catherine Wheel and lost 30% of the left side of his face. Norman Pace blamed 'the management'.

Hale and Pace continued their charity work with a 1992 stint as spokespersons for the National Egg Awareness Campaign. After some years away from television, they moved across to the BBC in 1997 and starred in the three-part series, Jobs for the Boys, a non-comedic show in which they took on a variety of employment challenges. These were: Milkmen, Don Estelle lookalikes and Mossad Agents.

The duo also appeared, in brief, 'humorous' roles of shop-keepers Harvey and Len, in Part One of the 1989 Doctor Who story Survival. This gave them the distinction of appearing in what turned out to be the last and shittest story in the show's original 1963-89 run.

A hybrid variety/comedy/quiz/people-show h&p@bbc (1999) was a flop. Similarly, their dramatisation of the Dalziel and Pascoe detectives for ITV in 1994 did not lead to success, and the BBC later attempted the serialisations with more success, with Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan in the title roles. They appeared working in a shoe shop in episode two of The Armando Iannucci Shows (2001). More recently they appeared in the Christmas Special of the Gervais and Merchant show Extras, broadcast in December 2007.

Other working credits[edit]

As of 2013, Hale and Pace were haunting Australia again with their production company.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC - Comedy Guide - Hale And Pace". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 525. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]