Continued from page 2


Towards the end of every show was a long sketch called "Welcome To England". These formed a series, repeating every 13 or 14 weeks. They followed the adventures of a class of students. Peter usually played the English person they had to deal with (teacher, landlord, customs officer, police officer, hotel receptionist, tour guide). The students were all stereotypes. Though this changed over the years, our basic class consisted of Karen as a Mexican, Guy as a Swiss-Arab (cf. Swiss German, Swiss French, Swiss Italian), Alan as Fritz Beckenbauer, a German and Nick (then later Patrick) as a Japanese. When Chris Owen joined us, we added a Frenchman named Valerie Giscard De Gaulle. Later, when we were without Chris, Anna Karsay added a French woman in his place, and Ken Shelley then added an Italian (Alfredo Romeo). Peter replaced Alan as the German for some time too. Confused? Imagine how we felt!

Students 1976

The strange thing is that though these sketches appeared on the surface to be offensive, students loved them. After all, the real villain of every piece was the English character, and somehow the students muddled through together and got the better of him. Our costumes grew more elaborate from student contributions. Karen had about six potential changes of costume as the Mexican (all contributed by Mexicans).

Left   Chris, Karen & Patrick


Students 1976
Welcome To England, February 1976 Alan, Peter, Chris, Karen, Patrick


A sequence I always liked was from 'First Day At School' where the teacher is trying to learn names. Fritz Beckenbauer (played by Alan) is much more advanced than this class of beginners.


Teacher: Fry-tz Beecknboom … is there a Frytz Beeckenboom in the class?

Fritz: Let me see.

Teacher: There … Frytz Beeckenboom.

Fritz: Beckenbauer. Fritz Beckenbauer!

Teacher: And who is Mar-ay-a Cons-you-ella …

(no reply)

Fritz: It is you!

Maria: Que?

Fritz: It is you of whom he speaks! Stupid girl!

Maria: (bursts into tears)

Teacher: Oh, dear. No, calm down, Mar-ay-a …

Fritz: This name is being pronounced 'Maria'

Teacher: Mar-a-ya

Fritz: No! No! Maria! (mutters) Stupid teacher. Listen and repeat! Maria! Maria!

Hiroshi (sings): I just met a girl named Maria … and suddenly that name … will never be the same …

Teacher: OK. OK. Please be quiet. Be quiet!

Hiroshi: Ah, no. Leonard Bernstein.

Teacher: So you're Maria?

Maria: Thank you!

Teacher: No. Your name. It's Maria. Look, He's Fritz. He's Hiroshi … You're Maria.

Fritz: Not "it's Maria. This is not polite. "she". She's Maria.

Maria: Oh, yes! Maria Consuela Conchita Guadaloupe Carmen Andrea Cristina Rosalita … Garcia y Perez.

Hirorishi: Ah. Long name! (sounds like "rong" name in his accent)

Maria: No, teacher! Right name! Right name!

Hiroshi: Ah! Write name!

(starts writing feverishly)

Fritz: (hand up)

Teacher: Yes?

Fritz: I want to change my class!


There were points that students identified with then and now. Horrendous mispronunciation of their names, classes thrown together with a wide ability range, the mistakes that happen naturally.


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