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Blog 103

There was this couple me and Linda really admired called Roberta and Marcus.  We thought they were fantastic, both were very talented with successful careers, their house was decorated in superb taste and their kids were smashing.  It was a tremendous pleasure to go round to Roberta and Marcus’ for dinner rather than the appalling grind most of our social life consisted of.  On average me and Linda dined at their house once every two months and we always really looked forward to these visits.  On one particular occasion Roberta and Marcus started talking about “Takeaway Saturday.”  It came up because Saturday was the one evening when we were never invited round there.  “Oh no,” explained Marcus, “Saturday is always ‘Takeaway Saturday’ for us.  It started when the kids were young, isn’t that right Rob?”
“That’s right”  his wife replied. “Every Saturday I’d never cook, we’d just order a huge takeaway and have a big messy family meal round the kitchen table.  We still do it to this day, especially if all the girls are home from university or Jason is on leave from Iraq.”
Me and Linda were very taken with this idea, partly because we didn’t need much encouragement to eat a lot of fatty foods but also out of admiration for Roberta and Marcus.  The next weekend we too instituted our own “Takeaway Saturday.” Over the following weeks my wife and I religiously ordered and ate a number of enormous meals delivered from a variety of fast food outlets by men on scooters, some of which were of remarkably poor quality.  We’d forgotten to find out from our friends if on “Takeaway Saturday.” they procured from one favoured place or chose from a number of different options.   We decided that if we knew Roberta and Marcus it would probably be various places, so over the next few months, me and Linda had delivered to our house examples of the cuisines of China, India, Vietnam, Jamaica, Hawaii, Manchuria, old fashioned Eel and Pie shop and Azerbeijan.
It well over two months before we ate at Roberta and Marcus’ again and on that occasion we never got round to mentioning that we too had adopted “Takeaway Saturday.” In fact it was a good half a year before I happened to refer to our adoption of their sacred family ritual at which point Marcus said “Takeaway Saturday what are you on about?”
“You and the kids order a takeaway every Saturday evening without fail don’t you?” I stammered  “...It’s like a big thing in your house.”
Marcus turned to his wife,  “We never had a thing called ‘Takeaway Saturday’ did we Rob?”
“No,” she said, “ I think maybe occasionally on a weekday or something we’d have a meal delivered from that Mexican place up the road but that was back when the kids were tiny.  We’d never do anything like that now. What kind of a dick would have a special day when they ordered a takeaway?”
Linda and I acted all casual on hearing this news but I blame myself, what kind of a dick would have a special day when they ordered a takeaway?


Blog 103a

Wilf's got an article in the Guardian today about Zimbabwe.


Blog 103b

Thank you Anthony for asking about the Juliet Bravo sketch from Stuff which I think is one of the best bits from that underappreciated show.  I would also point out that I’m nether in it nor did I write it but my spirit hopefully inhabits every frame.  The sketch itself was the idea of David Renwick and Andrew Marshall who tended to do the format bending stuff.  It’s also a reminder of how playful and innovative the BBC could be once upon a time.  For those who don’t know it the show starts with the announcer saying “…over on BBC 2 we have Alexei Sayle’s Stuff while here on BBC 1 there’s another chance to see Juliet Bravo…”. Then for something like four minutes you think it’s a genuine episode of that cop show until it turns into a sketch with Owen Brenman playing a policeman who doesn’t know what a woman is and has them confused with a wigwam. I don’t think David & Andrew’s motivation had anything to do with the political orientation of Juliet Bravo more that the former star of that show Anna Cartaret was up for doing it.  But your remarks about how political popular TV dramas were in the 80s are true.  I sometimes say in my standup that the only opposition to Thatcher during that period was Alternative Comedy and the TV show Casualty.  I can recall Nurse Charlie making these long speeches, staring off into the distance as he does, about how the NHS was being wrecked by the Tories.  In all fairness I don’t watch those shows anymore but I can’t imagine the BBC being so brave in speaking truth to power now.  Just as News has been subveted by filling its senior ranks with actual Tories so Drama and Comedy has somehow too become cautious and dull.  Not that all those socially conscious TV dramas and comedies neccessarilly changed anything since we were basically stuck with both a Conservative government and opposition from the 80s to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party two years ago and look how the forces of evil are fighting to subvert that.


Blog 103c

The BBC documentary Tate Liverpool at 30 I made for BBC1 in the NW is being repeated nationwide on BBC Four on Sunday 16th Sept, 20.30.  I am pioneering a new form-the comedy arts documentary.


Blog 103d

Hi Simon,  my beard is maintained by Vic Johnson 93 Wimpole Street.

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Reader Comments (14)

I would be more concerned about the takeaway containing dick

July 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMary Gilette

Hero worship is dangerous says man on celebrity blog

July 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Miller

Happy Birthday Alexei!

August 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVegetable Man

Alexei, here is an odd question but it has been playing through my head for a few weeks ... You know the episode of Stuff that starts as an episode of Juliet Bravo? was that your idea? Or where did it come from? I've been thinking about it recently because JB is being repeated on Drama and sometimes I watch it when it's my day off... and I've noticed that it's VERY left wing. I think Wally K Daly who seems to have written a lot of them was particularly left wing. There are a lot of storylines about people losing their jobs which is very topical for the 80s. There's one I particularly remember - an episode called "Flowers Tomorrow" - about a man who's laid off who's wife keeps forcing him out the house to look for work where there is none and he goes mad and beats a Sun reading building foreman to death then they spend the whole episode trying to talk him out of throwing himself off the roof of a closed factory. Then at the end when you think they've talked him down he pulls himself free from the policeman holding him and runs and jumps to his death through a plate glass window and as he does this they just freeze frame and hard cut into the credits. That's been in my brain for about 3 decades and I saw it again the other day and it's still really shocking. So I was wondering is there some Marxist left wing crossover between yourself Juliet Bravo and Wally K Daly...? Ian Kennedy-Martin wrote on his website "I got back to London to be told that what could have been a hard-hitting north country drama would now be placed pre-watershed in the vacated Doctor Who spot, so no broad language, gut wrenching dramas etc"... I guess people jumping to their death through windows was ...

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Miller

Alexei, I know you're a bit of an expert on communist-era cars. Did you hear about the new Kalashnikov CV-1 concept model car: Irish Times 24-08-18 describes it as 'Looking rather like a cross between a Trabant and an old Ford Cortina, the CV-1 has styling that’s actually inspired by a 1970s car made by Soviet-era manufacturer Izh.'

August 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBGC75


"I can recall Nurse Charlie making these long speeches, staring off into the distance as he does, about how the NHS was being wrecked by the Tories"

When the Tories forced the BBC to release stars salary details it turned out Nurse Charlie was the single highest paid actor? Now you've said that one can imagine people sitting round the Cabinet table saying
"What can we do to get some dirt on this Communist Nurse Charlie?"
"I know let's force the BBC to reveal his salary."


"In all fairness I don’t watch those shows anymore..."

Probably for the best... it's a dangerous virtual timewarp daytime telly...
I imagine somewhere there's a genuine 1940s house where people only watch Yesterday
or a 1980s house where people only watch old shows on Drama ...
So ...forwards ...to the future...

September 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Miller

What buffoon decided to put you on opposite Antiques Roadshow?

Don't they realise that some of us HAVE to watch Fiona Bruce?

Must go and lie down now.

September 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterParker Milady

Hi Alexei,

I just googled the phrases “clearly show the negligent inclusion of a sodding great elephant, precariously balanced in the roof space” and “daubing his bottom with goat saliva and tethering his duck to the leg of the local bellows mender”. You can imagine my disappointment when nothing showed up. Nothing, I say. Will you at some point be willing to post the Stuff transcripts online?

September 19, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarktristan

Alexei - do you trim your own beard?
It's magnificent!

September 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Reeves

RIP Charles Aznavour...and I really do have a 'frog in my throat' at the moment! No disrespect intended, it's an old Alexei joke from the early 80s...and I have a cold.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thomas

I also heard (in my head) the 'frog in my throat' gag when I heard of the passing of the massive eyebrowed French/Armenian singer.

October 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEugene Ruane

#metoo (the Charles Aznavour joke)

Last night I was watching some old comedy - In Sickness & In Health from 1986 - and Alf said "Help a child. Kill a social worker."
Interesting. I wonder if it was a deliberate rip off.

October 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRussell Jones

Hi Alexei

Have you any more stand up planned? Or radio series news?
Short story collection?

November 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRussell Jones

Man, it's quiet!

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark G

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