One of ITV's live Saturday morning children's shows, including celebrity guests, features, pop performances, sketches, and Warner Bros. cartoons (hence the name) such as Looney Tunes, Taz-Mania, Batman: The Animated Series and Animaniacs.
What's Up Doc? had a comedy, chemistry and energy that were second to none. Its main presenters for most of its run were Andy Crane (on Twitter here; interviewed in 2005 by Off The Telly here), Pat Sharp (on Twitter here) and Yvette Fielding (on Twitter here). It was on for three series from 1992-1995, 9:25-11:30am.
What's Up Doc? was the first ITV Saturday morning kids' show to beat the BBC for viewing figures, according to Pat Sharp in Garry Vaux's Legends of Kids TV.
'The first series and a bit of What's Up Doc? is the best Sat AM show on any channel since Imperial Phase TISWAS (come at me) ... By around the 4th episode, BBC1 may as well not have existed on a Saturday morning. Everyone, and I mean everyone, watched WUD.
We were gobsmacked by the filthy innuendo, the various presenters blatantly taking the piss out of their own personas and the incredible regular characters ... Add Frank Sidebottom to that, and as far as we were concerned, BBC1 didn't stand a chance.' - Scarred for Life (via YouTube)
Here is a photo of presenters and characters from Series 1 of the show – a scan of the postcard sent to me after I wrote to What's Up Doc?. Below it is the message printed on the back.
On Friday 3rd January 2003, a CITV showed a Birthday Bash, looking back on 20 years of Children's ITV. This included several clips from What's Up Doc? Read on for more details.
Earlier, on Saturday 28th October 2002 (and the repeat on 28th December 2002), the first clip to be shown on Denis Norden's outtake show More Kids From Alright On The Night was of What's Up Doc? The presenters got Lulu to give a shout out to a girl from Coventry who was ill, then realised that the card had been misread and she was not ill but 11!
What I liked most about What's Up Doc? was the huge array of bizarre puppets/ costumed characters who popped throughout each show. There were almost too many for the programme to handle. Some interacted with the presenters and guests and each other, some didn't. They filled the shows with surreal humour, parodies and risqué dialogue that put What's Up Doc? in a league of its own.
The Wolves (Bro & Bro)
The most frequently appearing characters were these two wolf brothers. They spent most sketches enticing children or guests then eating them, dragging them below the screen in a flurry of growling and clothes. At some point their voices changed. After a while, they got their own spin-off show on CITV. Their double act was recreated as the leprechauns on BBC’s Live And Kicking. Clip
A rotund, human-sized French frog (I didn't get it at the time), complete with beret and striped shirt. He used a wheelchair, presumably because something happened to his legs. (Again, I didn't get it at the time.) He was a chef, and occasionally presented a cooking segment. He also liked to swig from a wine bottle at every opportunity.
Played by Peter Cocks. Clip
A sort of pet furball with yellow eyes and a mouth, who often interacted with the presenters but had a rivalry with Yvette for most of Series 1. Perhaps most appealing to younger viewers, he sometimes held up signs with people's birthdays. On one occasion, Baljit went to Azerbaijan on a charity trip and met some children. On another, Baljit had twins.
A large Cockney earthworm who would appear out of plant pots and behind the presenters' sofa. Sometimes seen with his wife Mrs. Pasty, cousin Ron, "saucepans" (saucepan lids... kids) and other relatives. A worm family sketch in episode 33 of Series 1 was developed into a recurring segment (no pun intended) in Series 2...
An EastEnders parody, right from the opening sequence, where Pasty crawls down a tunnel that curves like the river Thames. First shown in Series 2 Episode 3 (18th September 1993) following a sketch at the end of Series 1. Undergrounders featured a marketplace and a pub. Other characters included Mrs. Pasty, their son Nick (who said "'ello, Ma, 'allo, Pa" like Nick Cotton), and Nan, who had a heart attack at the end of each episode ("Oooh me 'eart!"). In one episode, Nan was prescribed royal jelly by Doctor Arm, but overdosed and turned into a bee.
The above characters all had their own clips during the CITV Birthday Bash, in a section called Presenters' Assistants.
By far the funniest character in my opinion. Played by Stephen Taylor Woodrow (credited as Woody Taylor), he was an anorak with a cheese obsession. Every so often, he would recruit Cheese Rangers, and award them diploma scrolls, in a segment introduced by the following ditty (to the tune of In The Navy):
"It's the Scrollies, so it must be Saturday,
I've got the Scrollies, and they will not go away!"
Simon Perry was shown leaving What’s Up Doc? in the middle of Series 2. Many other characters followed and the show was never the same.
The Simon Perry character was later seen on a series of Twix adverts under the name Norm ("a break from the Norm").
Simon's friend. Played by Peter Cocks. Clip
A camp Hollywood hairdresser with a pumpkin for a head who first appeared in the Series 1 Halloween episode. Clip
A 3000-year-old woman who first appeared during Andy Crane's segment on Christopher Columbus. Puppeted by Steve Nallon (best known as Spitting Image's Margaret Thatcher), Cassie had left by the end of Series 1. Controlled and voiced by Steve Nallon. Clip
Vanessa Hill sums him up as 'a strange man made of bits of old wool who couldn't talk but sort of whistled at you.' Viewers were occasionally told that Woolly was "sad and spent", prompting a cry of "We love you, Woolly!" to perk him up. In one episode, he had a fight with...
A man made out of boxes, with one for a head and another for the body. He had a very limited vocabulary. Late in Series 1, we got to see Billy's cardboard house backstage, which he shared with a box family: Mrs. Billy, Little Billy & Little Billy, a grandma and a baby. Sometimes referred to as William E Box Esquire.
Anthony The Aspidistra
A large, green, talking pot plant who grew from a seed in episode 6 of Series 1 and spent most of his time on a table next to the presenters' armchair and sofa. His high-pitched, Home Counties accent changed to one resembling Prince Charles' (as a nod to reports that Charles talked to plants). He was fond of ginger beer. Vanessa Hill reveals that he 'overstepped the mark once by calling Yvette a "council house cow-bag"....he didn't last.' Clip (just at the end)
This character, a velvet-clad man with a mask whom the presenters avoided naming on air, was introduced in episode 1 when he came over to a table laden with Batman prizes and marvelled at the "jew-ells" before revealing his "waistcoat of roast beef" many years before Lady Gaga dressed in meat (clip).
He used to run amok squirting children with "ghee" from a small plastic tortoise, "Naughty Torty". Mr. Spanky was gone by Christmas 1992. In a later episode, Simon and Andy found Torty hibernating in Pat Sharp's head. Following a sneeze, the character appeared as a giant tortoise who squirted audience members and guests with white foam from a doll. Thank you very much to Michelle Davies for most of these details.
Thanks very much to Neil, who goes one stage further with this detailed description: ‘Dressed like a Dandy - 3 cornered hat, white wig, long 3/4 length velvet riding coat, riding breeches, white knee length socks and big buckled shoes. His face was covered in what looked like a thin yellow sheet of latex, the mouth and eye holes looked partly cut & partly torn. The mouth hole had red lipstick to give the impression of ‘lips’ but it was a bit ‘smeary’ … If that wasn’t scary enough - I seem to remember that on at least one week’s show, he had a waistcoat made of ‘Roast Beef’ … only it looked more like a selection of Italian Hams . I remember Andy Crane being shown the garment in question. Don’t really remember him speaking much, but I do remember the screeching of ‘Naughty Torty’ and flouncing/prancing about a bit, when he wasn’t squirting over people or wrecking things on the planet thru the telescope. Thought he went downhill when he actually ‘became’ the Tortoise.’
Life With The Amoebas
A soap, reportedly made by Frank Sidebottom (who appeared himself in several episodes of What's Up Doc?), that ran throughout Series 1. It began with a theme song:
"Life with the amoebas
No one can see us
Because we're small
(Yes, we're very very small)
Mum, Dad and the Baby
We're the one-cell family
On your television set"
A narrator introduced each episode. We see a photo, usually of a living room. We can't see the amoebas; they are indicated by arrows, which jog up and down when they talk (in squeaky Northern accents). In most episodes, one of the amoebas wants to do something (e.g. join the circus or blow out birthday candles), but one of the others points out that it is impossible, because they are amoebas and have no arms/legs/mouths etc. Then all 3 amoebas go "wa, wa, waaa" in disappointment, before the narrator tells us to tune in next week. A remark by Andy in one episode suggested that some Life With The Amoebas segments may never have been shown, due to other segments overrunning.
Part of an episode of Life With The Amoebas was shown during the CITV Birthday Bash, within the What’s Up Doc? clip in the segment on Saturday morning shows.
Interactive touch-tone games
Seen in Series 2 and 3, a contest where viewers were able to phone in and use their phones' touch-tones to play a specially tailored video game scenario as it was displayed on TV. The first one available was...
Hugo The (TV) Troll
Hugo had to perform typical heroics, like locating treasure or rescuing his girlfriend (Hugolina) or defeating a baddie. Hugo rode a cart along railway tracks, and had to switch between tracks (left-hand, middle or right-hand) to avoid obstacles and reach the end. This was later changed to involve Hugo flying a plane. As well as affecting direction, the caller’s touch-tone buttons allowed for Pause, or Map Display.
This game had more video and less direct control over the character. Joe Razz was a time-traveller stuck in the Jurassic (hence the name, perhaps), on the run from a Tyrannosaurus Rex. At one point, he had to jump over a log that appeared ahead. Later, the setting became Ancient Egypt: Joe Razz had to avoid falling boulders and a statue-monster with laser-beam eyes.
Guess The Girth
This was a short-lived feature about Yvette, introduced in the weeks preceding her maternity leave.
A competition which ran for a few shows in Series 2 or 3. Viewers could apply for a free Loopy Lottery ticket with numbers on (sorry to state the obvious). There was a draw during each show.
Crack The Safe
A short-lived phone-in competition in Series 2 or 3. In the studio was a locked safe containing a phone and prizes. During the show three questions were posed with single digit answers (e.g. how many dwarfs did Snow White know?). The answers formed the last three digits of the phone line (the rest of the number was given); the first viewer to ring that number unlocked the safe.
Pat Sharp's Charisma
During several episodes of Series 1, viewers were able to write in with a request to be sent a sample of Pat Sharp's Charisma. This was dispensed in perfume bottles and pill bottles, which, when opened, triggered the sound of Pat saying "Seeensational!" in the studio.
Greg & Max
Two cooks, Greg Robinson and Max Schofield, who were frequently guests on the show, and who entered into the studio spirit (clip). Other recurring guests included the late Terry Nutkins (and a range of animals) and Frank Sidebottom, comedy alter ego of the late Chris Sievey.
The Magic Telescope
A large coin-operated telescope seen in the early episode of Series 1. When someone put 10p in it, we got to see a view of an alien landscape, accompanied by ghostly music. The aliens on the planet were gloved hands reaching in from offscreen and demonstrating how they did things differently from humans (usually by adding explosions to everyday pursuits). As a running joke, Yvette never got a go on the telescope.
Spam and blooms
Thanks to Warren for remembering that whenever someone mentioned or offered "spam and blooms", the studio went wild as everybody scrambled for this sought-after items. Clip This derived from an episode in which Colin had tried to woo Yvette with a can of spam and a bunch of flowers.
When my letter was read out by Andy Crane, I got sent a What’s Up Doc? pin badge, and a What’s Up Doc? ballpoint pen.
Thanks to the sadly defunct Satkids.co.uk for some of the information on this page.
There is an array of What's Up Doc? clips available on YouTube. If you find any that aren't listed here, or notice that any clips on the list have been removed, please let me know and I will update the list.
Special mention must go to this fantastic selection of clips, courtesy of theukarchivist, many of which have links below, and to the full Series 1-3 episodes uploaded by TVSproductions82.
With continuing thanks to TVSproductions82 for uploading studio footage to YouTube of all three series, here is a partial episode guide. I'm intending to cover up to the halfway point of Series 2 when Simon Perry left. I apologise that this is so far incomplete and I hope it's still useful in its unfinished state.
Series 1 Episode 1
Broadcast: Saturday 5th September 1992
Music guests: Bananarama (performing Movin' On and I Want You Back)
Features: Yvette reported from Combwell Priory in Kent
Characters: Wolves, Simon Perry, Gaston (bread), Baljit, Mr. Spanky, Pasty
Life With The Amoebas: Hamster Trouble
Videos: full episode (minus cartoons), Mr. Spanky's debut, Bananarama interview, Movin' On (I), Movin' On (II)
Series 1 Episode 2
Broadcast: 12th September 1992
Music guests: East 17 and their dog Levy (House of Love, Gold)
Other guests: Reduced Shakespeare Company, Gareth Jones (promoting the new series of How 2), Jason Priestley, the Tonbridge Bobcats (baseball)
Characters: Wolves, Socky Sock Sock (hosting the Fruit & Vegetable Free Theatre), Baljit, Gaston (French dressing), Simon Perry, Mr. Spanky & Naughty Torty (Andy Crane got 'gheed'), Pasty
Life With The Amoebas: High Definition Television
Videos: full episode, Gold
Series 1 Episode 3
Broadcast: 19th September 1992
Music guests: Rhythm N' Bass (Roses; If You Want It, You Got It)
Guests: Neil Buchanan (caricatures), Paul Morocco and The EC Big Band (flamenco guitar juggling; also performed Life With The Amoebas theme), Greg & Max (egg decorating)
Characters: Wolves, Baljit, Cockney floor sweepers, Pasty, Simon, Mr. Spanky (dancing), Detective Sergeants Comfortable & Barrett (interviewed audience members and guests), Magic Telescope (blowing up an egg)
Life With the Amoebas: Mother's New Dress
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 4
Broadcast: 26th September 1992
Music guest: Bob Geldof (My Hippy Angel, Room 19 (Sha La La La Lee). Bob was back from Denmark and told Pat that TV appearances are "pretty crap everywhere really". He called Pat "the human haircut". He and the band said hello to their children.
Frank Sidebottom: wore a yellow safari suit; built a "Premier League Football Simulator" with cardboard drawings of footballers; performed Wild Thing, with Andy on cardboard banjo & Little Frank (whom Frank spun on the floor and kicked away).
Other guests: Crowded House (music video), Simon Entwistle (sound impressions), Nick Hanna (ocean expert and author)
Characters: Wolves (trying to remove old people from the studio), Gaston (wooing Yvette), Baljit (including Baljit's Big Bang: an explosion dedicated by a viewer), Simon (made "pressed cheese" by closing it in a book), Pasty (performed a swing version of the Amoebas theme with the presenters), Mr. Spanky (helping Simon play Cheese Bingo; having his wig stolen by Baljit) & Naughty Torty, Socky Sock Sock, Magic Telescope (blowing up potted plant)
Life With The Amoebas: Football Match
Trivia: Andy plugged The Big Breakfast (which was to start the following week, with his Motormouth colleague Gaby Roslin co-hosting)
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 5
Broadcast: 3rd October 1992
Music guests: The Farm (Don't You Want Me; Rising Sun)
Other guests: Sue Hutton and her ferret Frisk (she'd written in asking for them to be on), Kevin Keegan, ballroom dancers, Haggis McLeod (juggler)
Features: Andy gave a history of troll dolls
Characters: Billy Box, Wolves (Big Bro has toothache), Baljit (stealing shoes etc to build a house), Simon (World of Cheese: cheese whittling), Socky Sock Sock, Pasty, Mr. Spanky (showing Naughty Torty the Magic Telescope)
Life With The Amoebas: Tea-Time
Trivia: Pat's first "Sensational!" on the show ("It's a special talent" - Andy)
Videos: full episode; Pasty with Andy; The Farm's Don't You Want Me, 1992; End of episode with The Farm's Rising Sun, 1992
Series 1 Episode 6
Broadcast: 10th October 1992
Music guests: Take That (A Million Love Songs, Life With The Amoebas theme, I Found Heaven)
Other guests: Dr. Bruce Fogle (author of dog book, father of Ben Fogle), Paul Usher and Brian Regan (Barry and Terry in Brookside - competition)
Features: 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage; Beauty and the Beast
Characters: Wolves (Big Bro loses hope; Video Box Complaint), Gaston, Simon, Anthony (first appearance), Baljit (Pat fits a burglar alarm to his house), Cassie (found among Columbus props), police constable (handcuffs Yvette after she sets off Baljit's alarm), Mr. Spanky
Life With The Amoebas: The Birthday Present
Videos: full episode; end of episode with Take That's I Found Heaven; Take That segments
Series 1 Episode 7
Broadcast: 17th October 1992
Music guests: TLC
Other guests: Hank Marvin (guitar masterclass), Greg & Max, Gladiators (Wolf, Scorpio, Shadow)
Characters: Wolves, Simon Perry, Cassie (claimed her 28th husband (out of 30) was Robert Peel), Baljit, Socky Sock Sock
Other: Competition to design a cake for Tweetie Pie's 50th birthday; letter from Topping Car Hire - their phone number was similar to the What's Up Doc? number and were getting too many wrong numbers
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 8
Broadcast: 24th October 1992
Music guest: Lindy Layton (We Got The Love, Drop The Pressure)
Other guests: Mike Read, Chinese State Circus (first ever tour of Great Britain), Dr. John Brackenbury (photos of insects in flight - new book)
Features: Hair wrapping (Jayne Hawyes), Indian jungle sculptures (exhibition in London)
Characters: Wolves (Big Bro complaining that the show is too "girly"), Anthony, Cassie, Baljit, Simon Perry (stuck at South Mimms Services with Pasty, Mrs. Pasty, Gaston, Billy Box, Socky Sock Sock, Mr. Spanky), Victor Stabbs (circus impresario - Yvette tries to sell Baljit to him), Fruit & Veg Free Theatre, Pasty and three of his children, Mr. Spanky
Life With The Amoebas: Football Pools
Other: Simon and Andy perform Scarborough Fair with lyrics changed to be about cheese; More Topping Car Hire hassle as people are calling the show's competition line to book cabs; Andy reads a letter from a viewer who doesn't like "Simon or the girl".
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 9
Broadcast: 31st October 1992
Music guests: Go West (Faithful, The King of Wishful Thinking)
Other guests: trial bike riding (ACU Youth Action), David Manning (hibernation), Chloe Sayer, Roberto Ruiz, Tiburcio Soteno (Mexico's Day of the Dead)
Features: Yvette at cartoon character parade in with Barbara Windsor in London's Regent Street
Characters: Simon, Sam Sam, Wolves, Cassie (Halloween makeup), Socky Sock Sock (who's torched the Fruit & Vegetable Free Theatre for the insurance money), Baljit (drugged by Yvette, who then sends the Gillingham Marching Band past him when he calms down), Simon (the history of the festival of Hallocheese), Pasty, Magic Telescope (dynamiting a teddy bear)...
Life With The Amoebas: Star Gazing
Trivia: when Go West perform at the end, they're standing around Simon's miniature Cheesehenge. An homage (or fromage) to Spinal Tap?
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 10
Broadcast: 7th November 1992
Music guests: Rage (Run to You, Why Don't You)
Other guests: Greg & Max (breakfast), Linda Strath and Ronnie McCann (Children's Ward makeup), Mark Stewart and Sarah Jane Stringer (award winning young inventors: frame of infrared light beams for drawing and music - sound doesn't work; remote controlled hover), Andrew Mitchell (Earthwatch - he and Yvette climb ropes as part of Medicine Man video release)
Characters: Wolves (money making schemes from success to bankruptcy, Video Box Complaints), Gaston (makes hangover pickmeup), Simon Perry (psychic cheese experiment: asked viewers to put cheese near TV, in conjunction with newspaper articles with 'scratch & sniff panels'), Baljit (captured by Yvette using remote controlled hover; chases Yvette in car), Socky Sock Sock (blue), Cassie (tea with Greg & Max; her potion makes Pat bald), Pasty
Life With The Amoebas: Baby Amoeba Chooses His Career
Trivia: Andy shows "Pat Sharp with short hair on the cover of Oh Boy! magazine [with a] leather tie"
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 11
Broadcast: 14th November 1992
Pop music guests: Pasadenas (Let's Stay Together, I'm Doing Fine)
Other guests: The Electro Acoustic Cabaret (William Tell Overture), Martin Parker (135 creatures in his bedroom), Paul Spooner (mechanical cabaret models; competition to win his book Museum of the Mind), pupils from St. Thomas More RC Primary School who won competition to storyboard and made a drug prevention film (Acting Against Drug Misuse)
Features: Wayne's World competition
Characters: Walking clam, Wolves (Video Box Complaints; Big Bro finding things to complain about and idolising Mary Whitehouse; Monty Python tributes), Baljit, Socky Sock Sock (staying in Baljit's lair until he "gets back on his feet"), Cassie, Dr. Swallow (birdman in cage interviewing guests), Simon Perry (Maidstone branch of the Cheese Rangers), Pasty, Magic Telescope (Billy Box and boxmen arrive)
Life With The Amoebas: Have You Sent The Letter?
Trivia: Yvette's hair changes throughout the episode; Pat is missing a boot because Baljit stole it; Andy plugs new series Bad Influence!; John Eccleston plugs new series Brill
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 12
Broadcast: 21st November 1992
Pop music guests: Kylie Minogue (Celebration, Better The Devil You Know)
Other guests: Keith Fields (magician; books competiton), David Manning (meerkats from Basildon Zoo), Paul Mungo (talking about hacking film Sneakers; competiton to win book he co-wrote, Approaching Zero), John Eccleston (introduces himself at the end but is custard pied)
Features: National Giggle Day (Feb '93) help find funniest laugh by phoning line and leaving recording
Characters: Sam Sam, Wolves (learn magic), Simon Perry and Cheese Rangers (Andy given tour of Cheese Academy and dresses as Cheese Ranger), Baljit (turns Andy into talking white rabbit; sends missile after Yvette but it hits his house), Cassie (spell bodyswaps Baljit and Yvette), Pasty, Socky Sock Sock
Trivia: Kylie appears at the beginning, standing in for Yvette. Yvette, who overslept because Kylie tampered with her alarm clock, arrives in her dressing gown and sends Kylie off. Had to disqualify entries to Paul Spooner mechanical cabaret competition from Paul Spooner and his son
Videos: full episode, Celebration
Series 1 Episode 13
Broadcast: 28th November 1992
Music guests: Undercover (Never Let Her Slip Away, Check Out The Groove)
Other guests: Cal McCrystal, Paul Simons (carnivorous plants - books competition), Greg & Max (cheese; make cheesecake - competition for Greg & Max to make Christmas cake; books for runners up), John Eccleston (comes on at end to promote his series Brill and hits himself with a custard pie), Kevin Brady
Features: Children review Sister Act (three clips) (Emily Williams, Alex Whitelaw, Inderpal Bansal), Yvette visits weightlifting competition (Welsh Weightlifting Federation)
Characters: Simon (goes for world record for most tins of spaghetti down his tights in 30 seconds), Wolves (Video Box Complaints), Pasty and Mrs. Pasty, Cassie, Baljit (beaten up by Yvette after someone sends in a 'Kick me' sign), Anthony (difference voice, now sounding like Prince Charles), Socky Sock Sock (Pasty warns him off Mrs. Pasty), Dr. Swallow (interviews frozen turkey and Greg & Max), Colin
Life With The Amoebas: Physics Homework
Trivia: The characters arrive rowdily on a small bus, following a trip to France to see Gaston. Cal McCrystal plays Mr. Hitchcock, the bus driver. Simon gets his surname wrong ("Hard" instead of "Hitch"). Simon calls Yvette "the girl", like one letter did several episodes ago. Over 10,00 calls to the "Laugh Line" launched the previous week.
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 14
Broadcast: 5th December 1992
Music guests: Dannii Minogue (Love's On Every Corner, Show Me The Way To Go)
Other guests: Les Hill (Blake in Home & Away), Frank S (brings on Heart of London footballers and shows footage - competition include year's supply of lard), Hamish Symington (milks a goat with Yvette), Jacky Webb (talks about goats and mohair), Jeremy Webb (feeding Angora goat), Lyn & Jenny Jenner, The Harness Goat Society, Steve Rawlings (balancing act), Violet Berlin (via split screen Andy on the chair interviews Andy & Violet on the sofa about Bad Influence! with a demonstration of morphing at The Mill), John Eccleston
Features: Batman Returns competition (draw a new Batman villain)
Characters: Simon (rides pony and cart through studio; shows goat's cheese; Cheese Ranger survival course with Pat - they sing "Gorgonzola" to "Ging Gang Goolie"), Wolves (burgling the studio; meet Sharon serving in canteen), Colin (tries to impress Dannii), Pasty, Baljit, Sir Jeremy Gudgeon-Pike (from Video Certifications; stamps 'CENSORED' on the screen), Cassie, Billy Box
Trivia: Yvette and Dannii Minogue come on dressed identically. The real Dannii is revealed when Yvette refuses to sniff Simon's lunchbox. Yvette dresses up as Dannii again at the end and joins her backing dancers
Videos: full episode, Love's On Every Corner, Show Me The Way To Go
Series 1 Episode 15
Broadcast: 12th December 1992
Music guests: Take That (Could It Be Magic, Satisfied)
Other guests: Debbie Woolley & Gus Howlett (diablo performers), Kazuko Hohki (sumo wrestling expert - includes clips), Karel Dander & Miles Wisman (programmers). Main Events also credited
Features: Competition of four tickets to Muppet Christmas Carol premiere in London the following day, Pat and Yvette sumo wrestling in fat suits, competition to win Take That & Party videos, DJ sound systems and light shows through the decades to '90s computer graphics (Escape)
Characters: Wolves (preparing Christmas dinner with Howard, Gary and Robbie from Take That; chase schoolchildren who were singing Kumbaya), Simon (hosts Yvette at Maidstone Cheese Appreciation Society Christmas party in the studio), Colin (becomes popular with Yvette and Pat, making Simon jealous), Baljit (Yvette put into neck brace and on crutches by Baljit's brothers), Socky Sock Sock, Pasty, Anthony (original voice first, Prince Charles voice later), Cassie (makes cauldron brew with Mark and Jason from Take That), Frank Sidebottom (at end)
Life With The Amoebas: Careers Advice Application Form
Trivia: During the intro, there's a 'record mixing' sound (accidental?) that the Wolves react to. Gary tells Yvette that there are eight people claiming to be his bandmates. When Andy, Pat Simon and Colin recreate the dance moves for It Only Takes A Minute, the real Take That members are dismissed as impostors. Gary plays into Life With The Amoebas with the theme in different piano styles. Robbie uses Torty to 'ghee' Louise, the show's music booker (her last day), in revenge for being gheed last time
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 16
Broadcast: 19th December 1992
Music guests: Louie Louie, Boney M (medley)
Other guests: Greg & Max (film of them making Christmas cake for Tracey White's nan. 'Crumbs of London' is seen on their car), Darren Day, John Altman (breaks out of snowman dressed as pirate), Peter Corey
Features: Win, Lose or Ghee (based on CITV's new Teen Win, Lose or Draw; presenters get a custard pie for each wrong answer), competition to win Looney Tunes merchandise, Muppet Christmas Carol Andy meets director Brian Henson, Miss Piggy, Kermit and Gonzo), Stress Shield phototherapy glasses (demonstration and competition), Simon's What's Up Doc? Christmas dinner in hall (Simon, Colin, Frank Sidebottom, a skeleton, Wolves, Billy Box, Pasty & Mrs Pasty, Cassie, Baljit, Sock, Gaston - puts Torty in the soup, Mr. Miller & Mr. Porter - theme tune writers)
Characters: Wolves (become John Altman's henchmen), Simon (holds auditions for his nativity play A Child Is Bald), Gaston, Cassie (nowhere to stay at Christmas until she meets Chippendales), Baljit (becomes friends with Yvette, until she turns on him), Sock, Pasty (says he now has 401 kids), Colin, Father Christmas' elf (has Pat Sharp merchandise that Pat didn't see in rehearsal), Billy Box
Life With The Amoebas: Christmas Party (introduced by the presenters, Pasty and Greg & Max singing an amoeba version of It's Not Unusual)
Trivia: The episode had special theme music that blended the usual theme with sections of Christmas hymns. Yvette mentions she's in pantomime playing Dick Whittington at Tumbridge Wells. Yvette and Baljit are friends now
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 17
Broadcast: 2nd January 1993
Music guests: The Frank & Walters (After All)
Other guests: Terry Nutkins (timber wolves - Bro & Bro give nature commentary on him, calling him "Great Baldingus Maximus Gittus"), Greg & Max (ice cookery), Henry Garno of the Dorchester (ice sculptor), Ch. Commander Sweeny of the Yard (a.k.a. Barry Sweeny, Yvette's husband at the time), Melanie & Martina Grant, Paul Fever, Rona Brown
Features: Christmas tree recycling (wood chipper in studio), Baljit on the Box (Pat and Melanie & Martina promoting Fun House; Baljit interviewing with subtitles; Simon uses Baljit as pom-pom; play yes/no game - Pat and twins get gunged for saying yes or no)
Characters: Simon (feels faint after a viewer's cheese poem, falls into Pat's lap and stays there), Gaston, Wolves (Video Box Complaints; dress as Greg & Max and try to cook Terry Nutkins), Pasty, Baljit (wears Batman costume), Cassie (uses glasses to look into viewers' houses - Yvette corpsed and cried with laughter), Colin (borrows TV camera to take a 'group photo')
Trivia: A shorter episode. Andy is dressed as a Native American
Videos: full episode; Maximus Gittus; Cooking with Terry Nutkin; British water; Cassie
Series 1 Episode 18
Broadcast: 9th January 1993
Music guests: Sybil (The Love I Lost, When I'm Good And Ready)
Other guests: Gareth Parrington (star of Harry's Mad - with parrots Josephine & Jewel of Parrot Productions), Julian Horsey (paper & cardboard shoes)
Features: Scratch n' sniff fruit T-shirt competition (Andy, Pat and Yvette have genuine fruit ones, Simon has a cheese one which he goads Yvette into scratching ("rub it hard!"), doing "wonders for his psoriasis"), film of Simon and Andy going behind the scenes of new drama Oasis), competition to win Looney Tunes jackets, Penny Boyd (animal sanctuary in Surrey - clip from Animal Country TV series where she won award) with Timmy the badger, duck & deer, Brian the mouse)
Characters: Simon, Colin (gets romantic advice from Yvette then gives her spam and blooms), Wolves (play board games and giant hand held game), Anthony (Prince Charles voice; flirts with Pat and reaches tendril towards him), Baljit (has cold), Pasty (tries chatting up a parrot until Mrs. Pasty warns him off the "painted jezebel"), Pasty's Cousin Ron (demeans and flirts with Yvette)
Life With The Amoebas: Camping Trip With The Scouts
- The episode starts as 'What's Up Bot?' with the presenters' bottoms facing the camera while they talk.
- Andy reveals that producer Vanessa Hill ate chocolate buttons that a viewer had sent for Baljit. Viewer asks for embarrassing photo of Pat to be returned, but he tears it up. Pat holds up lollipop head models of presenters from a viewer, but Pat's head falls off (even Simon Perry nearly corpses), Baljit tries to tip gunge over the sofa onto Yvette but is off-target, catching Pat too. First induction of a viewer into the Cheese Rangers.
Spam and blooms (...then given to Pat by Simon, prompting a fight with Yvette and Andy that escalates into a brawl)
- Pat and Baljit sit in steam rooms but are shrunk to mini versions of themselves: in Pat's case, his son Nick with a wig on. Nick is asked to say "sensational summer in the city" and mispronounces "city" with a "sh" sound. Andy apologies to Monica (Pat's wife)
- Simon is taken by Bejam, extraterrestrial cheese creator. Later a silver-clad "cheesy droid" in his image arrives. He "doo-day-doo-dahs" the Wolves, turning them into droids - Sifting through a pile of post-Christmas paper & box waste, Yvette throws away a washing-up liquid & cardboard rocket, saying, "We won't be making anything, that's for sure." A reference to Blue Peter? *** A board or strip of paper falls in front of the camera at the end.
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 19
Broadcast: 16th January 1993
Music guests: 2 Unlimited (No Limit), Sister Sledge (We Are Family)
Other guests: Terry Nutkins (alligators), Sarah Pickthall a.k.a. The Handymen from Zzzap!, Rona Brown, Ennio Marchetto, Sharon Gibney
Features: Winner of most infectious giggle is chosen - Mark Smith, The Art Pack book (history of art with Andy - competition to win copies), Spam and blooms
Characters: Simon droid (tries to beam Pat up: "Bejam likes them big and hairy. Greetings, Earth girl unit"), Wolves (raid wardrobe department for costumes; Big Bro dresses as Pharaoh - Shipping Forecast warns of high winds from Faroe; impersonate 2 Unlimited; impersonate Andy, Pat and Yvette with costumes and cardboard pictures), Baljit (gets flattened by calculator; Yvette sends him to Holland - he comes back with tulips that squirt Yvette with gunge), Colin (saves Pat from droid), Pasty (says his eldest Angel is getting married), Socky Sock Sock, Simon (back from space with Elvis Presley after being rejected by Bejam "for being smelly and irritating"; sings along with Calling Occupants... as he walks to telescope; has brought back space egg, from which alien grabs his face), Cousins Ron & Jock (who says the place is "a bit of a shi... shi... shi..."), Cousin Zog (the alien who bursts out Simon's stomach at the end), Frank Sidebottom ("What time do you want me on?")
Life With The Amoebas: Fishing (intro performed by Elvis)
Spam and blooms: starts when Colin rides into amphitheatre on bike (with Bajlit in the basket - E.T. reference?) to present spam and blooms to Elvis
- Episode is introduced by Eddie, Nigel and Sharon from the crew - Andy, Pat and Yvette are behind the cameras (Eddie Lambe - Chargehand Props, Nigel Roberts - Senior Cameraman or J Nigel Pickard - Executive Producer, Sharon Gibney?)
- Yvette dresses up to match pictures sent in that don't otherwise look like her
- Andy shows dented can of spam from last week's spam and blooms fight
- Matthew Gardner, who asked the Gladiators a question in S1 E7, was then picked to be the boy in the Zzzap! intro
Videos: full episode; best bits
Series 1 Episode 20
Broadcast: 23rd January 1993
Music guests: East 17 (Deep, It's Alright)
Other guests: Greg & Max (popcorn), Rowdy (plays bagpipes; greets Andy as "John Buy from The Waltons" and wrestles him but won't fight Pat ("a girl") - competition to win his Fighting Fit video), "Stars of new Baywatch" Alexandra Paul, Pamela Anderson, David Charvet (competition), Laurence Harvey, Jessica Rowsell
Features: Pet merchandise (including Cool For Cats video watched by cats in studio - competition to design game for pet, with Wild About Animals magazine)
Characters: Baljit (sees Cousin Zog burst out of teddy bear), Cassie (attacks Rowdy Roddy Piper with umbrella; impersonates Dot Cotton), Gaston (drinking from wine bottles with Greg & Max), Simon (Victorian bathing suit in honour of Baywatch cast; he and Yvette have Freudian dream sequence in Garden of Edam), Wolves (parody Greg & Max's popcorn segment immediately afterwards; Video Box Complaints), Pasty, gnome (with knife), Anthony (Prince Charles voice; rude to some children), Colin ***
Life With The Amoebas: One Of Our Amoebas Is Missing
Spam and blooms: starts when Andy gives Pat spam and Roddy blooms
- Viewers write in about Pat and Andy says he'll send them a bottle of Pat Sharp's charisma. Taking the stopper out cues Pat saying "Sensational!" He offers to send more if people write in
- Pat appears with his sons at the end
- Simon Perry on space: "Once you've seen one black hole, quite frankly you've seen them all."
Videos: full episode; best bits
Series 1 Episode 21
Broadcast: 30th January 1993
Music guest: Cathy Dennis (Falling, Irresistible)
Other guests: David Constable (candlemaking and wax modelling ahead of Candlemas), Sesame Street Live dancers, David Manning (with two baby leopards)
Characters: Diego (John Eccleston as a Mexican host), Simon (staging a battle between the Cheese Rangers and the Box People), Wolves (suffering from loneliness), Pasty and the worms, Baljit (drags Andy around the studio through a Crufts-style obstacle course), Gaston (making bubble and squeak), Billy Box, Colin (tried to chat up Cathy Dennis), Spam n Blooms
Life With The Amoebas: Monopoly
- Simon reveals that he "came from Argentina with my father, Professor Joseph ... Perry"
- After reading out a letter from Wayne, the presenters headbang to Bohemian Rhapsody. Pat dances to Fat Bottomed Girls.
Videos: full episode; best bits
Series 1 Episode 22
Broadcast: 6th February 1993
Music guests: M People (How Can I Love You More?, Excited)
Other guests: Dr. David Pool (fish - sealife calendar competition), Mat Ricardo (devil stick performer - competition to win sticks and books), Gabby Campbell
Features: film of Simon Perry winning Tibetan cheese in Sotheby's auction for £920, Gabby Hamble (recycling clothes into new clothes), film of Andy and Yvette decorating competition winner Natalie's bedroom
Characters: Sam Sam (has Andy, Pat and Baljit in his salon - accompanied by Tubular Bells), Simon (reveals Tibetan cheese in parody of opening the Ark of the Covenant), Wolves (parking cars; Little Bro is lovelorn; try to steal Tibetan cheese and turned into fruit by its curse), Baljit (Baljit's Birthdays; does parody of Andrex advert with Andy on the loo and Yvette), Colin, Pasty
Life With The Amoebas: Baby Amoeba's Birthday
Spam and blooms: starts with ducks "quackers for their spam and blooms"
- Intro filmed as if viewer is joining an on-set party with music and dancing
- Letters to find oldest viewer. This week's winner is 50
- Three letters requesting bottle of Pat Sharp's Charisma
- Simon's Tibetan cheese auction win was picked by the national press with 'Simon Perry' named as the winner. The Independent reported on 4th February 1993: 'Sotheby's sold an ounce of 200- year-old Tibetan cheese for pounds 1,058 yesterday. It was bought by Simon Perry, 26, a children's television presenter, on behalf of the Maidstone and District Cheese Appreciation Society.'
- Sam Sam on Pat: "Does she have radiance? Is she fragrant? You betcha."
Videos: full episode; Wolves parking cars
Series 1 Episode 23
Broadcast: 13th February 1993
Music guests: Deacon Blue (Will We Be Lovers?)
Other guests: Simon Parkin (plugging his new GMTV segment It's Not; does cheese ranger exam), Greg & Max (yeast - making ginger beer for Anthony), Brian Moore (outdoor Q&A with Pat at rugby game with Young England Rugby Club - competition), Peter Markey (cardboard and wood automata - competition), Rona Brown (rescue cats), Maidstone Football Club
Features: Clip of new CITV series Three Seven Eleven, Yvette and Pasty go to meet Take That (Bredbury Hall Hotel?)
Characters: Wolves (commentate on spam n blooms brawl, Video Box Complaints), Baljit, Simon (cheese ranger graduation with Andy also as cheese ranger; reenacts Noses on Mount Sinuses receiving the Ten Commandments of Cheese Rangership - takes Pat through Indiana Jones-style quests), Anthony (Prince Charles voice; gets drunk on ginger beer and rants at Yvette), Colin, Pasty (Yvette headbutts him)
Spam n blooms: rugby ball lands in pram containing them
- Brian Moore does 'menu' at the beginning because the others are busy playing rugby
- Baljit is joined by viewer Laura who won competition to spend Valentine's Day with him. Later Yvette tortures her until Brian Moore intervenes
- "Coventry School of Radiography" send in radioactive cheese for Simon. He responds: "You don't want to touch that, Andy. Chernobyl fallout."
- Pat Sharp's Charisma now comes in pill bottles with labels
- This week's oldest viewer: 105 year old
- Anthony's career-ending rant at Yvette: "Will you stop being so suburban? ... Why don't you just shut up, you tub of lard? You booby, you smelly guttersnipe! Pitbull terrier! Ginge! Go wax your moustache, Mrs. Weewee! You're just a ham actress. Bloated overacting windbag. A yobbo! You ghastly council house cowbag!"
Videos: full episode
Series 1 Episode 24
Broadcast: 20th February 1993
Music guests: Stereo MCs (Ground Level, Step it Up)
Other guests: Gerry Anderson (interview - competition to design Thunderbird 7 - winnders will be published in Thunderbirds magazine), Matt Hoffman + other stunt bikers (first backflip off ramp on British TV), Parker (satellite linkup - knows Pasty from the old days), Brains (interviews by Andy; reveals his name Homer Newton III), Terry Nutkins (weasels and other animals), Lady Penelope (interviewed in her house by Pat), Christine Glanville, David Graham, Richard Gregory, Simon Archer
Characters: Simon (shows Andy Cheese Academ of Music, Movement and Dance), Wolves (queue to be guests with "Item o'meter"; dress as Poirot and Lewis after mistaking mannequin for corpse, then interrogate guests; Video Box Complaints), Cassie, Sir Jeremy G-P (poses as postman), Baljit, Gaston (making pancakes), Frank Sidebottom (dressed as Thunderbird - sings parody of Flash and saves his puppets), Pasty, Colin
Spam n blooms: usual man-dressed-as-woman with pram doesn't have it, but bus arrives for "Spam n Bloomsbury" and throws them down
- Starts with Thunderbirds countdown, theme, and presenters dressed as Thunderbirds puppets and miming to voices (Andy as Parker, Simon as Brains, Pat as Lady Penelope)
- Yvette was off sick for this episode
- Barry Sweeny (30) and Pat's daughter Charlie (1) were in Baljit's birthdays
- Oldest viewer of week: 100-year-old great-grandma
- "There is nothing I like better in the morning than a good crepe" - Gaston
- I've certainly taken the beast in hand - Colin on modifying Pat's hairdryer
- Included the caption 'We apologise for the vision fault'
Videos: full episode; Matt Hoffman bike stunts with Pat (in drag); Poirot 1; Poirot 2
Series 1 Episode 25
Broadcast: 27th February 1993
Videos: full episodes
Series 2 Episode 1
Broadcast: 4th September 1993
Music guests: Carter USM
Other guests: Fred Dinenage (the presenters refuse to plug the new series of How 2 for him; he dresses as a cheese ranger), David Charvet & Nicole Eggert from Baywatch, Adrian 'Nosey' Wigley (played keyboard with his elbow, nose and tongue)
Characters: Baljit, Simon (takes Andy around a 'freshers' fair' with clubs run by the characters and presenters), Colin, the Wolves, Gaston (feature on sandwiches), Billy Box (sings a duet of Loving You with Yvette until water is thrown over her. "Let that be a lesson to you, children. There's nothing worse than a soggy box." Andy), Woolly (has "forgotten to be sad and spent" and sticks his head up the back of cameraman Keith's woolly jumper)
Frank Sidebottom: green jacket, pink tie; performs Lean On Me, I Won't Fall Over with Pat, Colin and Andy; caught in a bathtub during a feature on water safety), Pasty, Socky Sock Sock
- The opening credits are preceded by with a mock newsflash about the What's Up Doc? characters
- The show opens with masses of characters and crew having a huge bundle, followed by a second bundle when Andy mentions "Spam balloons"
- Pat and Andy are in dinner suits
- Andy shows a photo of his new daughter Eleanor; Pat shows off his new shorter haircut; Yvette announces her pregnancy
- Premiere of "the What's Up Doc? It's Not Your Birthday song"
- Big Bro reveals that Gaston's legs are missing because they were eaten
- A new section of set has been added: a courtyard with a fountain
Videos: mock newsflash at start, full episode
Series 2 Episode 2
Broadcast: 11th September 1993
Music guests: Chakademus & Pliers
Other guests: Greg & Max (bananas), David Greenwood (radio sound effects)
Characters: Naughty Torty (answering questions on 'Mastertort' hosted by Andy), Wolves, Simon (opens a theme park in the studio, Brassic Park, charging Pat £93 and leaving him "boracic"), Baljit, Those Amazing Bull Fishes, Pasty (theatrical impresario holding auditions)
- Pat launches Guess the Girth competition, measuring Yvette's girth at 92cm that week
- That's My Grandfather's Clock (sketch where eccentrics (Peter Cocks and Woody Taylor?) discuss Batman)
- Baljit's Big Thing (local events: Pantomime Horse Derby in Bognor Regis)
Videos: full episode
Series 2 Episode 3
Broadcast: 18th September 1993
Music guests: M People
Other guests: World of Wrestling, Sylvester McCoy, Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer
Characters: Simon, Baljit, Pasty (theatre impresario), Invisible Man, Those Amazing Bull Fishes
Undergrounders: first episode of the EastEnders parody about Pasty and his family
Videos: full episode
Series 2 Episode 4
Broadcast: 25th September 1993
Series 2 Episode 5
Broadcast: 2 October 1993
Series 2 Episode 6
Broadcast: 9 October 1993
Series 2 Episode 7
Broadcast: 16 October 1993
Series 2 Episode 8
Broadcast: 23 October 1993
Series 2 Episode 9
Broadcast: 30 October 1993
Series 2 Episode 10
Broadcast: 6 November 1993
Series 2 Episode 11
Broadcast: 13 November 1993
Series 2 Episode 12
Broadcast: 20 November 1993
Series 2 Episode 13
Broadcast: 27 November 1993
Series 2 Episode 14
Broadcast: 4 December 1993
Series 2 Episode 15
Broadcast: 11 December 1993
Series 2 Episode 16
Broadcast: 18 December 1993
Series 2 Episode 17
Broadcast: 25 December 1993
Peter Cocks remembers in his blog how, at the end of this episode, Gary Glitter almost choked on glitter.
Update 26/10/06. Laurence Akers, who worked on the programme, has been kind enough to email me:
'I've just been looking at your What's Up Doc? Site. Brought the memories flooding back. I was Music Associate on the show for half of series one and most of series two until Vanessa [Hill – see below] and Ged [Allen] left. I have to say it was the most enjoyable experience of my life. Every week I'd have to approach the bands or music guests and ask if they'd mind having the characters dance with them at the end of the show. Most of them said yes and ironically it was the one’s who said no that looked stupid.'
Update 19/08/03. After emailing Andy Crane some time ago, I'm delighted to have received an email from Vanessa Hill (kindly referred to the site by Andy Crane), who also worked on the programme:
'Andy Crane just forwarded me the details of your website entry/site on What's Up Doc?. My partner and I were responsible for most of the stuff you mention with the contributions of John [Eccleston] and Don [Austen] who did the wolves, Stephen [Taylor Woodrow] and Peter [Cocks - website] who did most of the characters, the presenters who were game and lots of others who pitched in (Peter's brother used to come down on Saturdays and do Billy Box and a lot of the production team featured as well).I produced series 1 and half of series 2 before leaving the show. I'd forgotten half of the stuff we did but it all came flooding back and made me laugh!'
Thank you for emailing, Vanessa, and thanks for your contributions to this page.