My hundred faces
23 Feb 2017 0 comments. tbs.pm/10863
From the TVTimes for week commencing 1 December 1963
Basically, On the Braden Beat (next Saturday, 11.5 p.m.) is meant to be an entertainment, but we found, early on, that the sight of someone seated at a desk has come to mean for the public talk, talk and more talk.
Our problem, then, was to find some means of illustrating the show that would be logical and not contrived.
Since our budget didn’t allow for a lot of filming, wc decided to use stills to illustrate songs, sketches and even book reviews.
It was agreed that since the programme is meant to be a one-man show, I should play all the parts and. in the end, the make-up department was driven almost frantic.
Someone went through our stills file after we’d done 39 shows and discovered that I’d appeared as nearly 100 different people, including Queen Victoria and Barbara Castle. The method of working went like this. I would have to have pictures taken as Queen Victoria and Disraeli to illustrate a parody on “Bill Bailey” called “Disraeli Won’t You Please Come Home?”
I would arrive at the studio about 10.30 a.m. where replicas of Queen Victoria’s clothes would be laid out for me and, after forcing myself into the basic undergarments. I’d put on a robe and repair to make-up.
Working from photographs of the good Queen, the make-up girl would attempt to mould my face into the right contours.
Then, a wig would be applied, the outer garments added to the costume and, finally, with two sponges stuck in my cheeks, I would walk into the studio to be photographed.
The make-up would take an hour and a half and the photography would be over in a fraction of that time.
Then everyone would go to lunch, except the make-up girl and myself. She would remove Queen Victoria from my face and start working on Disraeli.
An hour and a half later, we would be back in the studio to take more pictures.
In the end, there would be about 120 pictures to be shown on the screen after several hours of camera rehearsal.
Allowing for planning, preparation and rehearsal, I think it would be fair to say that 15 hours were required to fill the television screen for two minutes and 15 seconds.
In one courtroom scene I played six roles, involving costume and make-up changes that took all day.
Then I had to record six different voices talking back to one another at top speed.
On these pages are some of the characters we have used in an attempt to make On the Braden Beat something other than just a man sitting at a desk talking.
Goodness knows how many more there will be by the end of the present series.