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On the Waterfront 

Saturday Morning children's variety show featuring stand up comedy, sketches, musical guests, cartoons, games and serials, including a re-dubbed 'Flashing Blade'.




3   2   1  
1989   1988  


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Series cast summary:
Andrew O'Connor Andrew O'Connor ...  Himself / ... 32 episodes, 1988-1989
Kate Copstick Kate Copstick ...  Herself / ... 32 episodes, 1988-1989
Terry Randall Terry Randall ...  Himself / ... 32 episodes, 1988-1989
Bernie Nolan Bernie Nolan ...  Herself / ... 32 episodes, 1988-1989


Saturday Morning children's variety show featuring stand up comedy, sketches, musical guests, cartoons, games and serials, including a re-dubbed 'Flashing Blade'.

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Comedy | Family







Release Date:

23 April 1988 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

On the Waterfront Revisited See more »

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User Reviews

The next best thing to No 73 on Saturday mornings
23 April 2008 | by Chip_douglasSee all my reviews

One month after the final broadcast of 7T3 (formerly No 73) two of 73's regulars from the second to last season, Andrew O'Connor and Kate Copstick, resurfaced on the BBC in a brand new Saturday morning show called "On The Waterfront". Andrew, who only a few years earlier had been the youngest member of the "Copycats" team of impressionist, now functioned as the unofficial leader of OTW's comedy-variety team. In this capacity he got to do a bit of stand-up each week (explaining that this show was no relation to the Marlon Brando movie of the same name on the first episode). He was also constantly teased about his bald spot by the others. Kate Copstick got to show off her knack for wearing silly specks, big earrings and tight trousers, as well as disguise herself in even more outlandish costumes when playing all sorts of zany characters. Bernadette 'Bernie' Nolan, best known as the lead singer of the Nolan Sisters, surprised many by not only handling the different elimination games in which youthful members from the studio audience had to partake, but also turned out to be a gifted comedian. Still, she did tend to be used as straight woman a bit more than the others. But the real discovery of this show was Terry Randle, a gifted comedian and impressionist who threw himself into the silliest of situations, only to be become a foil on the Chuckle Brothers television shows some years later.

Filmed at a converted warehouse on Brunswick Dock, Liverpool (on the waterfront). On the Waterfront had musical guests, cartoons, celebrity interviews and games just like every other Saturday morning show. However, the emphasis lay on sketch comedy, and instead of being broadcast live, it was recorded in bits and pieces the week before, with the bulk of it in front of a live studio audience on Friday night. The four leads and their fellow writers prided themselves on writing jokes they would laugh at themselves instead of writing down to children. There were spoofs galore even though most of the audience might have been too young to get all the references. These included 'The Professionals' trying to cope with everyday household tasks, 'Mission: A Bit Complicated', Run, Betty Run (a 1930's serial) and Very Good Car (Gerry Anderson's Supercar). These were accompanied by brand new characters, both one off and recurring, such as Mr. Cautious (Randle), Mr. Backingtrack (O'Connor), Norman & Norma Normal (Randle & Nolan). Dottie the Scottish headmistress (Copstick) and the Folkies who couldn't stop singing (all four). Special guests would often be interviewed by one of the hosts in character, and would also be asked to record jokes for inclusion in the Laugh-In style 'Joke-File' that would be interspersed with other quickies.

One inspired recurring routine featured Andrew and Terry both impersonating Griff Rhys Jones. As neither one of them could do Mel Smith (who usually did most of the talking in these head to head skits on Alas Smith and Jones) their routines never got very far. One time they decided they could do the Two Ronnies instead, and both ended up impersonating the current President Reagan. A spoof that definitely came out of the eighties was 'Latern Jaw', a spot on parody of Filmation's cheaply animated but wildly popular cartoons. The heroic Lantern Jaw and his crew often complained that they could do little more than move their mouths, and each adventure would end with them laughing at one of Bleep (the fuzzy and bouncy comic relief) awful puns. Not that the Waterfronters had anything against puns, mind you. Like all British comedy, On the Waterfront was filled to the brim with them. This was especially evident in the best remembered segment of the show, a re-dubbed version of the late sixties French serial 'The Flashing Blade'. Here all four of them handled multiple voices and managed to make the old series into a hilarious, surreal highlight each week.

The second series in 1989 was just as much fun, with new additions such as a soap about two Northen families: "The Pink Clog", the Blockhead family, games of 'What's it for' and 'Through the sunroof' (Copstick's version of David Frost's Through the Keyhole) and another re-dubbed series called 'The Secret of Steel City'. However, this last one failed to live up to the Flashing Blade's standards. They tried to keep Flash in there as well, but unfortunately soon started to run out of jokes as well as film as they had already used all the good bits the first time around. This series also managed to have at least one Barry Manilow nose joke each week (some delivered by the man himself). During the series finale the cast seemed to be acknowledging that there wouldn't be a third series as they kept referring to it being 'the very last show' (even on The Flashing Blade). This show featured bloopers and highlights from the current season and ended with a sad rendition of Wax's "Wherever you are" which was fitting since Wax had written and performed the theme tune for the show.

Within a year, the BBC broadcast a compilation show called 'On the Waterfront Revisted' on weekday afternoons, which usually is the final nail into the proverbial coffin for children's programmes. These kind of clip-shows usually mean that there won't be any more new programmes produced, and indeed there weren't. The cast and crew did reunite once more to lend their voices to a special installment of The Flashing Blade for Red Nose Day in 1995, but by then a hardly any of the children in the audience remembered On The Waterfront (having been too young during the original broadcasts) and the effort fell flat. It's a shame the show couldn't have lasted a few more series. Andy, Kate, Bernie and Terry had so much more laughs left in them bursting to get out.

10 out of 10

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