Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The first mention of Biggles is in the Spanish Inquisition sketch. When one of the inquisitors calls another one Biggles, that gets a big laugh.

At the time, I thought that was because it was a funny sounding name. Then there was an entire sketch featuring Biggles dictating a letter to his secretary.

So who is Biggles?

Major James Bigglesworth, popularly known as "Biggles," is a popular adventure hero in the United Kingdom. An ace pilot, Biggles appeared in a series of short stories and novels set in the years before, during, and just after the World Wars. Originally intended for children, Biggles' popularity spread to adults as well. Biggles is an institution in the UK, one revered by adults nostalgic for the carefree days of their youth, and the uncompromising spirit he represents. As a result, he makes a perfect target for mockery.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


One of my favorite sketches was simply called the Science-Fiction Sketch. It was about an alien race of blancmange that turned everyone in England into Scotsmen, so they could win at Wimbledon. But for years, I wondered...what's a blancmange? I knew they looked all white and squiggly because of the blancmange costume, and you're supposed to eat them because one got eaten on the show. So what is it?

According to Wikipedia, "blancmange is a sweet dessert commonly made with milk or cream and sugar thickened with gelatin, cornstarch or Irish moss, and often flavored with almonds. It is usually set in a mould and served cold. Although traditionally white, blancmanges are frequently given a pink color as well. Some similar desserts are Bavarian cream, panna cotta, and haupia." So it sounds like blancmange is like Jell-O mixed with milk. But apparently, it's also served with chicken mixed into it as a main dish. The name comes from the french term "blanc mangier," which means "whitedish." Very literal, those French.