If you're looking for a Christmas special featuring Rod Hull, Emu, and Grotbags, chances are this is the one. I get a lot of messages asking for particular episodes from the series, but this one is far and away the most sought after - and now we can all enjoy it again, with a huge debt of gratitude to Jayne for providing the recording. Thank you, Jayne!
Anyway, Rod and Emu are having a miserable time of it down at the Pink Windmill. The kids have gone away on holiday, the heating's bust, the decorations are less than stellar, and an unfortunate incident involving a Christmas pudding just about tops it all off. Just as things can't get any worse, Grotbags decides she's going to serve up roast emu to the Magnificent Fred... Meanwhile, the cast of Boggle's Kingdom look to capitalise on a brief opportunity to escape from their time bubble.
This particular festive special (and there *was* more than one, despite anything I've previously asserted) was first broadcast on Christmas Day in 1984 and repeated on Boxing Day 1986. The songs sung are Celebration (by Kool and the Gang), We Need a Little Christmas (from the musical Mame), Goin' Places (by The Jacksons), Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Ralph Blane/Hugh Martin), and Duke Ellington's It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing). Judging by this musical extravaganza, they should have got Susan Maughan and Carl Wayne - Princess Hortensia and Odd Job John - to sing more often. They really add a classy extra dimension.
In the continuity of the whole series, I think this is the first time Croc and Redford ever met. Until earlier this year, Grotbags's one and only henchman had been Croc - but the character was written out for the live series out and replaced by Robot Redford (played by the same actor, Freddie Stevens). This special seems to mark the debut of David Tate, who would play Croc for the next four series - but the sharp-eared among you may notice that he's still being voiced here by Freddie. Also, (mini-spoiler alert) I think this is the only time the inhabitants of Boggle's Kingdom meet up with the rest of the cast outside of their bubble.
The Pink Windmill Kids in this episode are: Joe Greco Hugh Harper Anthony Hosier Catrina Hylton-Hull Spencer Newton-Roberts Lorraine Plummer Kelly Rossiter Abbie Shilling Emma Whitlock Sarah (Jeffs?)
Those of you taking notes may have picked up on the fact that that's the same line-up as the 1984 series of Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show, with the exception of Kelly coming in for Debbie Harper. Funnily enough, Debbie would return for the next two series, but this special is the last time Hugh, Anthony, Catrina, Lorraine, and Sarah would feature as part of the gang.
One last thing: I hate to spoil the magic, but who in the world is working Emu around the 29-minute mark? Did they really stuff one of the kids into a sack?
(Please remember that this is an off-air VHS recording, so don't go expecting 1080p HD quality. I'm fairly certain that this video isn't commercially available, and I've uploaded it for its historic interest only. That said, if you are a copyright holder and object, please don't hesitate to contact me.)