Hale and Pace

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Hale and Pace
Gareth Hale and Norman Pace (c. 1991)
Written by
Directed by
  • Vic Finch
  • David G. Hillier
  • Peter Orton
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series10
No. of episodes66
  • David G. Hillier
  • Alan Nixon
  • Mark Robson
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)London Weekend Television
Original networkITV
Picture formatPAL (576i)
Original release2 October 1988 (1988-10-02) –
20 December 1998 (1998-12-20)

Hale and Pace were an English comedy double-act that performed in clubs and on radio and television in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and 1990s.[1][2] The duo was made up of Gareth Hale and Norman Pace, with the Hale and Pace television show running for ten years and 66 episodes, from 1988 to 1998.

Early career[edit]

Gareth Hale (born 15 January 1953) and Norman Pace (born 17 February 1953) met at Avery Hill teacher-training college in Eltham, South East London. They discovered much in common, particularly humour, and began playing clubs in a comedy band. One of the clubs they most liked playing was the Tramshed in Woolwich. This developed into sketch-writing, with a show entitled Don't Stop Now - It's Fundation. Before appearing on TV, they did a series of radio shows for Radio 4 based on their show at the Tramshed. Their early TV breaks came on The Entertainers (1984), Pushing Up Daisies (1984) and they went on to appear in the Channel 4 sketch show Coming Next (1985) 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 1988. 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. Their most famous comic creations are the stone-faced bouncers The Two Rons (not to be confused with the "Two Ronnies") – 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, especially the sketch in which they pretended to have microwaved a cat. This clip got them onto the top 50 on "50 most shocking comedy moments"[according to whom?] 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. 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 heads.

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.

Series list[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired in the UK Director Producer Episode theme Recurring sketches
1 7 02/10/1988 – 13/11/1988 Vic Finch Alan Nixon 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 waist 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.
  • Two Rons (with rubber chicken)
  • Billy & Johnny
  • 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 gas!
  • Guy being greased, mimicking TV Series The Singing Detective
  • Deliberate blooper segments
  • Antique roadshow
2 6 01/10/1989 – 05/11/1989 David G. Hillier Alan Nixon Identical to the 1st series (1988).
  • The two Rons
  • Billy & Johnny
  • Jed & Dave
3 6 30/09/1990 – 04/11/1990 David G. Hillier Alan Nixon Hale & Pace in an early -0th-century setting with Hale wearing an old hat and Pace wearing a monocle. Chickens, chicken feathers and a rubber chicken are being shaken around the room for some reason. The introduction finishes zooming in on their faces, at which point they both stick out their tongues, with Hale's tongue showing "Hale" written on it and Pace's showing "Pace". The "&" is written on Pace's hand, which is positioned behind them but between their two heads, therefore 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). This became the series in which the Prisoner sketch was first shown. It proved so realistic that Lisa Blair rang up LWT asking why Val Lehman had reprised the role of Bea Smith for another one-off episode.
  • Old men sitting in chairs talking
  • The two Rons
4 6 29/09/1991 – 03/11/1991 David G. Hillier David G. Hillier 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 water and focussing on fish swimming 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.
  • The two Rons
  • Jed & Dave
  • Billy & Johnny
5 7 24/01/1993 – 07/03/1993
6 7 19/09/1993 – 31/10/1993
7 7 18/09/1994 – 30/10/1994 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'. There are also many sketches performed on a live stage during this series where the stage contains an enormous background prop with the letters "HALE" placed on top of "PACE". Each episode starts with the two stars coming on stage and their jackets are taken by different people each week.
  • Sister Wendy's Art Treasures
  • The Golfing Cabbies
  • Swedish Sauna
  • The Open University
  • Jeans adverts (Levi)
  • Unnecessary Force Force
  • Mr. Poppy
8 6 08/10/1995 – 19/11/1995 Peter Orton Mark Robson 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 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 "HALE" placed on top of "PACE".
  • Billy & Johnny
  • Curly & Nige: (1) Hospital porters (2) Go camping
  • Jed & Dave on the road
  • London cabbies
  • John & Yokel
  • Sven & Benny (in a sauna)
9 7 05/01/1997 – 16/02/1997 4 separate pieces of the faces of Hale & Pace being jumbled and put together correctly. Their faces are changing expressions whilst being put together and once completed their name (i.e. Gareth Hale) 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.
  • London cabbies
  • 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
  • Rappers with baggy clothes
  • Yorkshiremen
  • Crime boss & his muscle
  • Two redheads who copy the end of what people say
  • Transpotters
  • Elderly gentleman who can't swear
  • Meditating man who wishes for things to happen
10 6 23/07/1998 – 27/08/1998
  • The Dopplers
    • At the fish and chips shop
    • At the magic show
    • Interviewed by a police officer about a car


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 6 episodes. This series was also released on video. They also made several specials, such as the 1996 Showcase Hale & Pace Down Under from Australia and April Fools' Day.

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 widely known stars appeared in their shows, and the snooker players Steve Davis and Jimmy White even played foil to the two cabbies in one episode.

DVD box sets[edit]

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

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

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 "12" by the BBFC.

"The Stonk"[edit]

In 1991 Hale & Pace released a charity single in aid of Comic Relief. "The Stonk", based on a fictitious dance craze, was co-written by Hale and Pace along with Joe Griffiths. The single was produced by Queen guitarist Brian May, who was also featured on the track.[3] Other musicians performing on the single, besides Brian May playing keyboards and guitar, were David Gilmour and Tony Iommi on guitar, with Neil Murray on bass guitar. Cozy Powell, Roger Taylor and Rowan Atkinson – appearing as his character Mr. Bean – performed on drums. Joe Griffiths and Mike Moran contributed on keyboard.[3] A UK number-one single for one week in March 1991,[4] it is their sole chart single but raised £100,000 for Comic Relief.[citation needed] The B-side was entitled "The Smile Song", which was written and performed by the comedian Victoria Wood.

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

Other appearances[edit]

As well as their 1991 single "The Stonk", the duo also appeared as their characters "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.

Hale and Pace continued their charity work with a 1992 stint as spokespersons for the National Egg Awareness Campaign. 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. One of these challenges was to write the UK entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. They were advised/mentored by Rick Wakeman, Bruce Welch (from The Shadows - UK entry 1975), Lynsey de Paul (UK entry 1977), Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson (UK entry 1959), Cheryl Baker (from Bucks Fizz - UK entry 1981), Lee Sheriden and Nicky Stevens (from Brotherhood of Man - UK entry 1976), Björn Again, former Eurovision presenter Katie Boyle, Johnny Logan, Katrina Leskanich (from Katrina and the Waves - UK entry 1997), songwriter Don Black (lyricist), and radio presenter Ken Bruce.[5]

The duo also appeared, briefly, as 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 ever 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). They appeared in the Christmas Special of the Gervais and Merchant show Extras, broadcast in December 2007.

They appeared in several episodes of the 2018 season of Benidorm, playing a pair of financial fraud investigation officers tailing transvestite hotel employee Les (Tim Healy).


  1. ^ "What Happened To Hale And Pace?". Uk.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  2. ^ "BBC – Comedy Guide – Hale And Pace". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 5 December 2004. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b Miles, Barry; Mabbett, Andy (1994). Pink Floyd - The Visual Documentary. Omnibus. ISBN 0-7119-4109-2.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 525. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "TV Pop Diaries 1998". Tvpopdiaries.co.uk. Retrieved 8 January 2018.

External links[edit]