Lines from My Grandfather's Forehead
Lines From My Grandfather's Forehead, a comedy sketch show for radio, was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from 15 February 1971. Two series of eight episodes were broadcast, the second was transmitted from 21 July 1972. In addition, there were two "specials". A Christmas special, entitled 'Lines From My Grandfather Christmas's Forehead', was broadcast on 24 December 1971; and a compilation of selected items from past editions, under the title 'Just A Few Lines From My Grandfather's Forehead', was broadcast on 27 August 1977.
Each programme was a sequence of comedy sketches, monologues and comic songs. The writers were credited on each recording but the items they wrote were not named, so identifying the author of a particular item is difficult. Among the writers was one Gerald Wiley, which was a pseudonym used by Ronnie Barker to submit material without using his own name, so as to find out whether the producer genuinely thought his material was good enough to use - and much of it was.
The show's content is difficult to define. The wry humour was askance/off-the-wall/tangential, and certainly different from most comedy of the time. It was not even announced as a comedy, but as 'a sequential entertainment for radio'. The nearest relatives might be Monty Python, or The Goons.
- Barker as a 17th-century man with two heads
- a couple talking about curtains
- a pianist playing a difficult piece and failing at the last note or two
- a sketch with Barker as an encyclopedia salesman in the Garden of Eden ('one bite and you're a PhD')
- a sketch about a lodger and commercial traveller called Roger
- a wistful little poem about the retirement of Mr Babbage (using rhymes ending in '-idge' throughout)
- a spoof newspaper report about court proceedings, sending up the euphemistic language used in certain tabloids
- a song with the first line "I took my love to Turnpike Lane"
- a spoof of the Queen's Christmas Message, as written and delivered by a milkman
- an elephant delivered as a Christmas present.