"Old"){ $filename = 'CounterCount.php'; $Counter=file($filename); $TheCounter=$Counter[0]+1; $somecontent = "$TheCounter\n"; $handle = fopen($filename, 'w'); fwrite($handle, $somecontent); fclose($handle); $_SESSION["GotHere"]="Old"; } ?> The T-Room

T. Bag Retro Sketch - Assembling the team.

Throwing an episode of T. Bag together didn't just happen overnight...

Here is the story:

The idea for filming the T. Bag sketch came to me many years ago, after Lee had allowed me to publish the script. I did not have a cast, crew, set, or any of the necessary, so it was a bit of a non-starter.

Time went by and I joined Castaway Community Theatre at Aberystwyth Arts Centre with my long term and long suffering friend Troy Bradshaw to perform in the stage version of "'Allo 'Allo!" as Herr Flick with Troy as General von Schmelling. Here, I met the very talented stage manager (as she was at the time) for Castaway, Katie Groves-Bond. I also met and worked with Norma Izon, who was appearing as LeClerk, and Rhys Kelly who was appearing as Gruber.

Me as Herr Flick in "'Allo 'Allo!".

 

Norma as LeClerk with Dylan Raw-Rees as Rene

 

Seeing the stage done up as a cafe in Aberystwyth Arts Centre's Theatr Y Werin reminded me about the T. Bag sketch, but I couldn't film it there, and the set was fairly sparse anyway.

Katie and I became friends, especially when she noticed I was good at prop making and realised that I could be a big help backstage as well as prancing around on stage.

We did a couple of shows after "'Allo 'Allo!", and in the meantime I had introduced Katie to T. Bag. I told her that I wanted to film the sketch, and we decided to approach members of Castaway to see if they would be interested.

Our next show in the Main House was "Hi de hi!", in which I landed the part of Jeffrey Fairbrother. This play has a few huge parts, and the director decided to split the part of Jeffrey between two actors to perform on seperate nights. My counterpart playing Jeffrey on other nights was a talented young actor and playwright, James Lawbuary.

James Lawbuary as Lucius in another of our shows: "Rain of Blood" (yes, that's a bleeding heart he's holding).

 

Me as Jeffrey Fairbrother, Troy Bradshaw as Barry Stuart-Hargreaves and Norma as Yvonne in "Hi de hi!"

Norma was playing the part of Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves opposite Troy's Barry, and wore a very fancy ball gown with her hair bouffanted (if that's a word) to about fifteen times its normal size. She played with a snootyness and presence that made Katie and me immediately think "T. BAG!". Katie approached her, and the part of T. Bag was cast.

There was another young actor in "Hi de hi!" whom Katie and I had both considered for T. Shirt, although we both had our reservations because he didn't quite fit the part. There was nothing wrong with his acting or his presence or anything else, but he had a very broad accent (nothing against this, but it wasn't right for the purposes of this project), and was just too big and broad in build being a rugby player. I lost touch with him after "Hi de hi!", so we had to look for another actor, which we found in James, whom I had become friends with sharing the part of Jeffrey. He was far more suitable for the part of T. Shirt, and he is one of those sickening people who can do everything effortlessly and brilliantly.

Rhys Kelly was at my house one evening (probably at a screening of one of the Castaway shows) and suddenly yelled out "Look! It's a T-Plant" when he noticed my replica T. Plant in its jardiniere in a quiet corner of my flat. I found out that he is almost as big a T. Bag geek as me, and so he was immediately offered a place in the sketch and on the crew quite early in the process. He dropped off the radar for a bit, but thankfully became involved again only a few days before filming.

Rhys as Fred Quilly in "Hi de hi!"

I became firm friends with another cast member during "Hi de Hi!": Lynne Hodges, who was playing Ted Bovis's estranged wife, Hilary. She is probably the nicest person whom I have ever met, but she didn't get involved in the sketch until the eleventh hour. I told her that I was filming, and she was really excited and asked if she could come and watch. I was happy to include her and offered her a part as crew and customer.

Lynn as Hillary Bovis in "Hi de hi!"

Troy just did as he was told... or so he would tell you, but he enjoys acting despite himself, and I think he was pleased to be in it. He also got to operate the clapper!