Talk:Captain Pugwash

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Double entendres in character names[edit]

I am 56 years old and clearly remember not only Master Bates and Seaman Staines, but also the mirth and amusement this caused among us when we were 10 year old boys at primary school. I cannot prove anything, but I can categorically assure you that these names were featured in the episodes circa 1965. Penetro Altum (talk) 22:07, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Buy yourself the DVDs, they're cheap. No Rogering the cabin boy in any of them. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:12, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

The DVDs are the 1970s episodes and are of no relevance whatsoever.Penetro Altum (talk) 09:31, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

I, too, am of an age such that I clearly remember the multiple double-entendres embedded in Captain Pugwash. Furthermore I have a friend who worked at the BBC during the whole period of the series and confirms that they, incuding 'Master Bates', were common knowledge and intentional. It was a widespread practice in British television and radio programmes of that era to 'pull one over' on the censors. One only has to listen to radio shows such as ISIRTA and Round the Horne to realise just how much got through. It was a battle of wits.

I am annoyed that all the information regarding the urban legend about the characters' filthy names has been deleted, and not because I wrote some of it. Yes, it's completely false but it's still very widely believed, as the comments below demonstrate, it has become part of people's perception of the show. Many people will be coming to this encyclopedia hoping to find out if it's true or not and they will find NOTHING to answer their question. That's not on!Simon Peter Hughes (talk) 13:18, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Agreed - I have reinstated the material pending further discussion. The original deletion was made unilaterally by an unregistered user without any discussion. Count Caspian (talk) 18:41, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
I've removed everything of a speculative unsourced nature per policies and guidance. If you want to add it back in, please source it to a reliable secondary source. As it read, it was original research and synthesis. Hiding T 19:00, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Well, I'm satisfied now. Truth be told, I added things that were speculation and not verifiable facts. I was new to Wikipedia at that time, sorry. However, it is an undisputed fact that the show's creator sued two newspapers for libel after they printed the urban legend as the truth. I'm glad that fact is included again. I think this article now very clearly says that a lot of people believe that the characters have rude names but it isn't true. That'll do for me.Simon Peter Hughes (talk) 19:12, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

It certainly *is* true that "a lot of people believe that the characters have rude [sic] names", since a number of the characters did / do have 'rude' names, specifically, names that were double-entendres. It is not credible that a writer in an environment in which double-entendres were endemic was not fully aware of the double-entendres inherent in his writing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

I thought the guys was called Master Bates and Roger the Cabin Boy--Thewayforward 17:08, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC) nevermind

Lots of people "mishear" and sing "I'm a masturbator" in "Do You Love Me", and "Outside, I'm masturbating" in "Tracks of My Tears"- the real lyrics are "I can mash potato" and "I'm masquerading". The Pugwash legend began as a very early Mondegreen- perhaps it should be mentioned in that article Walshie79 (talk) 23:15, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Unfortunately for your credibility, "Walshie79", it is your claim of "legend" that is either, itself, an attempt to invent a legend or else a very public demonstration of ignorance of the subject matter. And mentioning totally irrelevant examples of mishearing adds not one jot, not one iota of substance to your misguided claim. It is as if I were to say "lots of people are clinically insane" to try to justify a claim that you are clinically insane. Do you get the logical flaw in your reasoning now? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:35, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, it is a "legend" whether you like it in your little bubble or not. Master Mate became Master Bate, that's how it has been passed down succeeding generations. Like those other examples I gave of words being misheard. You sound like you're one of the producers of the original series frantically trying to deny how anyone could snigger at and alter a name like "Master Mate". Walshie79 (talk) 00:30, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

"Sanitising" Master Bates?[edit]

When invention of history supersedes available source material, i.e. actual, available recordings, one must wonder about the motives behind the rewriting of history. If it happens on an article about a children's TV series it presumably happens in a more disconcerting way to much other "history" within Wikipedia". 1984, Brave New World: meet your early incarnations in Wikipedia. Welcome to Newspeak / thoughtcrime.

(I worked in the industry (BBC) during the era of Captain Pugwash and the choice of names such as Master Bates, and many others in many other programmes, was well practised and well understood. Fast forward 50 years and a new generation of children swallow a diet of factual make-believe). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Ben Dover?[edit]

I don't remember Ben Dover being alleged, just Master Bates, Seaman Staines, and Roger the Cabin Boy. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:19, 14 March 2007 (UTC).

I think you're right, and Snopes agrees. I've removed the Ben Dover reference and added a link to Snopes as a source for the urban myth. Mooncow (talk) 18:50, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I refer you to YouTube[edit]

In some clips from YouTube, one of the earlier series, but not the 1997 version, it can clearly be heard that Pugwash calls a pirate "Master Bate", or "Master Bates". The others seem to be a bit of myth, but master Bates is clearly orated. I refer you to the link below. ALCUS36 19:24, 26 June 2007 (UTC) [1]

I watched the show when I was young and then in my late teens I caught it again on the ABC and I heard Master Bates. Though my father (somewhat embarrassed) tried to convince me it was "Master Mates". I do also recall hearing "Seaman Staines" in the show. But it was always "Tom the cabin boy" and not "Roger the cabin boy". Throb 03:08, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

The voice-over can certainly be heard as "Master Bate" at times, although at other times it is clearly "Master Mate". It is easy to make an "M"->"B" transition, especially when pointing on a pompous accent (try it!). I think we can accept that "Master Mate" was what was intended, and the pronunciation is simply ambiguous (intentionally or unintentionally) in places. I haven't heard any instances of "Master M/Bates". Mooncow (talk) 18:54, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

There was a giveaway of it with the Sunday Times on 20th January. I have just watched it, and it really does sound like "Master Bates" to me when I watch it. At any rate, anyone could have seen the similarity between "Master Mates" and the forbidden act, so it still seems dirty. Epa101 (talk) 11:47, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

The reason it really does sound like Master Bates is because it /is/ Master Bates! Anyone who (i) grew up in that era in the UK, (ii) has access to undoctored recordings and unimpaired hearing or (iii) had 'inside contacts' or first-hand experience of the BBC at the time knows, without a shadow of doubt, that the names were chosen with deliberate, double entendre meanings. It was common practice in those days of extreme censorship to find ways to slip 'in-jokes' past the censors as a game. It appears that, in this case, the author of the series was later embarrassed by the games of his youth and pretended that he had no idea of the numerous innuendos which he'd incorporated. Even ignoring the evidence a moment's reflection shows this simply is not credible. He was not stupid, he worked in that context and he was obviously very familiar with the games and enjoyed playing them, along with many of his contemporaries. Peers at the BBC were thoroughly familiar with the name-jokes embedded in Captain Pugwash. There are numerous other examples of similar humour going back to the early days of BBC broadcasting and earlier (e.g. the Music Hall tradition and even back to Shakespeare and Chaucer). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:08, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
"I know it's true!"
This is what every argument in favor of these names has been, and it is completely unacceptable for Wikipedia. You must find a reliable source which shows that these were the correct names. As it stands right now, the only reliable sources give the names that are currently in the article. -RunningOnBrains(talk) 23:10, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Maybe 'Runningonbrains' is a good choice for a name, because Running on Stupidity would be more descriptive of the contribution. If you aren't able and willing to listen to the evidence of the actual programmes and discern Master Bates you possibly aren't the brightest star in the dark night sky and are better off with make-your-own-facts-as-you go Wikipedia than with any serious encyclopaedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:44, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your constructive criticism. I hope you realize that referring to a non-existent video as a source to contradict Snopes (which tends to be right sometimes, in case you didn't know) doesn't make your case seem very airtight.
But before you go any further, I would like to point out that I did in fact search Youtube, and was able to find a few videos where it sort of sounds like the character says "Bate" instead of "Mate". I'd also like to point out that the phonemes "m" and "b" are both bilabial consonants, and so are very similar sounding, especially in poorer-quality recordings, like, say, those made in the mid-1970s. So clearly, we should respond to the user invoking ad hominem and ad populum arguments rather than one refuting the central argument with actual sources. Please read the section of the article where we address the "Master Bates" rumors and tell me how you believe those are insufficient. -RunningOnBrains(talk) 23:16, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your constructive criticism. I hope you realize that referring to a non-existent video as a source
Think: you are the one who, for no reason I can imagine, has included a link to a 'non-existent video', as though such a link could prove or have relevance to anything whatsoever, other than your demonstrable ability to construct an apparently pointless link. You continue to provide evidence to support the previous comment about your chosen name and the quality of your contribution.
to contradict Snopes (which tends to be right sometimes, in case you didn't know)
tending to be right sometimes, as a criterion for reference, would be consistent with aforementioned quality of contribution, Mr. Runningonbrains ('running on empty'?)
doesn't make your case seem very airtight.
'Watertight', I think you'll find, is the phrase you meant to use.
But before you go any further, I would like to point out that I did in fact search Youtube
Ah, YouTube, the authoritative and unique source of all video material in this part of the galaxy.
and was able to find a few videos where it sort of sounds like the character says "Bate" instead of "Mate".
Well, credit where credit's due. You've tried. Add a little education and refinement of approach, specifically, widening your experience beyond YouTube, and there's no knowing how far you might progress with your research.
I'd also like to point out that the phonemes "m" and "b" are both bilabial consonants, and so are very similar sounding
I expect you would. It's gentler on the ego than pronouncing that your capacity for hearing might be less than perfect.
especially in poorer-quality recordings, like, say, those made in the mid-1970s.
No one asked you to demonstrate ignorance of the history of recording quality as well. But it was sporting of you to show another weakness, voluntarily. More pertinent, perhaps, would be the loss in sound quality often resulting from uploading to YouTube.
So clearly ['clearly'? Really?], we [Royal 'we'?] should respond to the user invoking ad hominem and ad populum arguments
OK, you've acquired a couple of Latin phrases along your journey, though not the literary experience to realise that using them in place of the simple, clear expression of a good writer is more indicative of ignorance and delusions of grandeur than of intellect or linguistic competence.
Your choice of the 'Royal we' shows your view of your own importance in the context of Wikipedia, in a rather quaint, quasi-Victorian way. On Wikipedia, of course, we are all 'users', though perhaps some of more use than others, to borrow and adapt a turn of phrase from Orwell.  ;-)
rather than one refuting the central argument with actual sources.
Now you're talking. Next you'll realise that providing /your/ definitions of 'central' argument and 'actual' sources would, at least, provide a basis from which to commence a worthwhile analysis.
Please read the section of the article where [Royal] we address the "Master Bates" rumors
'rumours,' I think you mean. This is an English programme we are talking about, after all. Injecting Americanisms hardly strengthens the perception of your likely familiarity with the programme or its social and broadcasting contexts, or your likely ability to correctly discern the subtleties of English pronunciation.
and tell me how you believe those are insufficient.
Perhaps you might wish to share with other readers how you've come to believe that your background, age, nationality and other relevant attributes apparently qualify you to be an expert on an English television programme which, perhaps, might have been broadcast and watched by many others in the years before you'd even heard of it? Or perhaps you are English, old enough to have watched the original series, but just a little hard of hearing or understanding?
'Runningonbrains': it would be fascinating to hear a little about how you came to choose that name. Perhaps it says all that needs to be said about your continuing contributions to knowledge.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Your condescending and insulting rants are completely unhelpful. Please read WP:CIVIL; Wikipedians should only comment on content, not the contributor. I'll acknowledge that I may have stooped to a condescending level above myself, which has not helped the conversation at hand, and for that I apologize; I hope that we can move on to the core issue at hand. Two of Wikipedia's cornerstone policies are Reliable Sources and Verifiability. However knowledgeable you personally may be about a subject is irrelevant; saying that "it sounds like this to me" is forbidden by our Original Research policy. Let's say I was an expert in meteorology; I can add the phrase "Tornadoes are most common in the central United States" to our article on Tornadoes; but I need to have a reference to back it up, otherwise someone else is free to challenge and remove it. That's the way that Wikipedia has been built, and policy reflects this.
Reliable sources state that the name you are pushing for is misheard, and in leiu of any sources that explicitly contradict this, the current version of the article is how it should stay. -RunningOnBrains(talk) 19:39, 30 May 2012 (UTC)


Is the character of Wanka real? Even if the other "dirty names" are urban legends, that one is listed among the real characters. —Angr 05:17, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

The Master and Mate on a ship are clearly distinct functions, so it is perfectly reasonable to examine such a confusion of names. The current reexaminatiobn of the BBC's moral standards in the 1960s also supports the accusation: however, the original of the strip lay in the Eagle, a very orthodox cartoon weekly produced by an Anglican vicar, tending towards muscular Christianity, long before the BBC got their hands on it, and the balance of the meme must surely reflect that.

Another of the Radio Times cartoons at the time was Trog, drawn by the jazz trumpeter Humphrey Littleton, long the host of I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again/I Haven't a Clue. In it, he created a gay Tory politician evidently based on Norman StJohn Stevas, a failed RC seminarian of homosexual proclivities responsible for the legal underpinning of the 1960s liberalisation of the Obscenity Laws in the UK. The name of the cartoon character was Norman Steven SingeAss. It is therefore eminently likely that similar extravagances may have indeed occurred in the Pugwash cartoon.

Whether or not WP has its current standards must surely be a breach of NPOV: the facts must speak for themselves without bowdlerisation.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

The character mentioned above was not real, and the IP contribution is WP:OR and irrelevant to the article Stephenb (Talk) 06:12, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Trog was not Humphrey Lyttleton, it was his friend Wally Fawkes. Maproom (talk) 17:21, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

And the title of the comic strip was Flook, and it wasn't in the Radio Times, it was in the Daily Mail, and I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again was a different show from I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and did not have Humphrey Littleton in it. And although Humph did script Flook at one time, the writer for most of the Sixties was George Melly. So when people say they clearly remember obscene names in Captain Pugwash, it's worth noting that things people clearly remember are often wrong.Khamba Tendal (talk) 14:27, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Animation technique[edit]

It wasn't made using stop-motion, but rather set of cardboard cutouts filmed in real-time.

Origin of Name[edit]

Where does "Pugwash" come from? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:53, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

The article currently suggests the origin as Pugwash, Nova Scotia. Mooncow (talk) 18:56, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Given the vaguely puerile names of characters like 'Master Mates' and 'Willy', it's origin probably comes from Ancient Greece: 'Captain Pugwash' sounds and looks very much like 'katapugon' (καταπυγων), which means 'bugger'. Aristophanes liked to use the word. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:27, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Geoff asks - did Cut-throat Jake ever [originally] get called 'Black Jake'? 3 June 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 3 June 2008 (UTC)


The list of Television Episodes in the article does not correspond to episodes I know. Are they names of episodes in the new series? Mooncow (talk) 18:58, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Unsourced material[edit]

The following is unsourced information:

  • Captain Pugwash appeared in a skit on That Mitchell and Webb Look as a patron in a bar who overhears a conversation regarding the quality of his former show. It is also mentioned that he currently dates the actor who played King Rollo.
  • John Ryan attended Ampleforth College which has a strong rivalry with Sedbergh School; as a tribute to this Captain Pugwash and master Mate wear red and black clothes which are Ampleforth's colours and Cut-throat Jake wears brown trousers and a yellow top which are Sedbergh's colours

While this is interesting, we can't use it unless you provide a source. Also, none of this is really trivia, as trivia by its definition is "unimportant information" - it therefore shouldn't be in a trivia section but instead the information should be incorporated into the main article. - Tbsdy lives (talk) 00:14, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

this sketch did appear in episode one of season one of that mitchell and webb look. clip is here: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:01, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Explaining jokes[edit]

Is it really necessary to explain why "Flying Dustman" and "Roger the cabin boy" are funny? It rather spoils the jokes. Maproom (talk) 10:04, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes, to cater for an international audience. "Dustman" isn't much used outside the UK ("garbage" or "trash" instead). Similarly Roger. After all, it takes an Australian to explain "pugwash" to a Brit, as that's not a common term in the UK either. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:25, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. At least no-one has explained "Seaman Staines". Maproom (talk) 10:47, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 29 May 2014[edit]

Category:Media franchises (talk) 03:46, 29 May 2014 (UTC) (talk) 04:50, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Pictogram voting question.svg Question: How is a movie an Media franchise? I don't understand that claim. Please clarify and reactivate this request. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 13:01, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 1 June 2014[edit]

Category:Media franchises (talk) 06:36, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 12:13, 1 June 2014 (UTC)


Why no mention of the character, Masturbates?

This is one of the funniest, and central, characters in the series. As kids we used to be in stitches when we were old enough to understand the meaning of the word. We used to laugh and, I confess, tease slightly younger children with taunts like, "Do you know why he is called Masturbates?" it was a little unkind of us in the way that is so common amongst young children.

I remember laughing with some of my contemporaries years later when the writer tried to prove that the character was never called Masturbates. Unfortunately for him if had the effect of drawing attention to him and making him the butt of jokes in the pub... a sort of UK version of the "Striesand Effect". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:32, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

See the first item on this talk page. Maproom (talk) 20:34, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
This urban legend is amazingly persistent in the UK, perhaps because it is funny and people want to believe it. There are lots of scatalogical myths about 60s/70s children's TV (such as that The Magic Roundabout was full of drug references). You'd think that the 1991 libel case would have done away with 'Master Bates' et al but this is far from the case. Lots of people will insist they remember Seaman Staines and Roger despite definitive evidence to the contrary. --Ef80 (talk) 17:00, 24 January 2017 (UTC)