13 January 2007 | sheenagh
more info on supporting cast
The previous comment suggested the supporting cast hadn't done much else. Not quite so. Arthur Howard (brother of the more famous Leslie), who played downtrodden Mr Pettigrew, already had a long acting career on stage and in film, including the famous Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico. Edwin Apps, who played Mr Halliwell, went on to write, with his wife Pauline Devaney, the sitcom All Gas and Gaiters, which ran for five years on BBC. (The two used the pseudonym John Wraith.)
The show was produced live in the Shepherd's Bush Empire, which entailed a lot of problems with scene changes. A black curtain screened off the side of the stage not in use from the audience, and Muir and Norden had to write all the scenes long enough to enable the scene-shifters to get the next set ready - a major restriction in a half-hour show.
One of the most famous gags concerned an auditor trying to nail the venal and slippery headmaster. The auditor is shocked by an entry reading "To school sports day - 50 crates". "You served alcohol at the school sports?" he asks. "No, no," replies Jim; "those were book prizes. It's Pettigrew's handwriting, dreadful.. that's not '50 crates', it's 'Socrates'."