Hale And Pace
UK, ITV, *C4 (LWT), Sketch/standup, colour, 1986
Starring: Gareth Hale, Norman Pace
After regular exposure in BBC1's The Entertainers(from April 1984), C4's Pushing Up Daisies(from November 1984) and its successor Coming Next(from September 1985), and LWT's Saturday Gang(from October 1986), Hale and Pace were granted their own special by LWT for Christmas 1986. Although it was to be another two years before they returned with a full series, this was the start of a long run.
Born 27 days apart in early 1953, Gareth Hale (the one with the black-turning-grey moustache) and Norman Pace (the more slightly built of the two) met at a teacher-training college in Eltham, south London, in 1971. Rooming together, they discovered much common ground, particularly humour, and soon started playing together in Daffy, a music-comedy group, supplementing the income they derived as PE teachers in local schools. By 1976 they had formed a double-act, playing pubs and clubs in the area, and this led to their regular engagements at the Woolwich Tramshed as part of a troupe called Fundation, and - inevitably - their inclusion inside the 'alternative comedians' bracket. It is a tag the pair have always been keen to play down, although they also acknowledge that they are a very long way removed from Mike and Bernie Winters, Morecambe and Wise or Little and Large, what one might term 'seaside' comics.
While their work is varied, Hale and Pace are known to be - perhaps, indeed, best known to be - spoof-dangerous comedians, whose humour has a definite, albeit tongue-in-cheek, 'edge'. The Two Rons - also known as The Management - is their most famous act, the pair donning tuxedoes and black bow-ties to assume the personas of a pair of unsmiling East End of London 'heavies', with violent, psychopathic thoughts that has seen them likened to the Kray Twins. Many other sketches featured similar hard-men, many of them caricaturing the sort of psychopathic gangsters who would become prevalent in British films of the late 1990s. Among Hale and Pace's other best-known personas are the children's TV presenters Billy (Hale) and Johnny (Pace), deadbeat cabbies Jed and Dave, money-conscious evangelists Nathan and Jeremiah, the brainless Curly and Nige and, latterly, the Road Rage Milko. A number of their TV sketches have aroused controversy over the years, none more so than when they pretended to have microwaved a cat.
ITV networked Hale And Pace - The Business, an hour-length compilation of the best sketches (including the famous Microwaved Moggy) on 26 December 1993, and there have been numerous other compilations and repackaged repeats over the years. An all-new 1996 programme, Hale And Pace Down Under (reflected in the above details), showed the pair out and about in Australia during a concert tour. Hale and Pace were also major participants in Trading Places, a pair of TV programmes broadcast to increase awareness of breast cancer - theirs was shown by C4 on 27 March 1992.
Irritated by what they saw as poor scheduling of their one-off comedy-drama April Fool's Day (see next paragraph), Hale and Pace decided to leave LWT in 1997 and moved across to the BBC, their first venture for the Corporation being to star in the three-part series, Jobs For The Boys, a non-comedic show in which they took on a variety of challenges, screened from 16 November 1997 (followed by one-offs on 4 May 1998 and 6 January 1999). In the meantime, LWT saluted their tenth anniversary with the company by airing an hour-length highlights compilation, Hale And Pace - Ten Years Hard, on 22 November 1997, and the duo's last series for LWT (copyrighted 1997) aired in 1998 on a week night (Thursday) rather than in the company's customary weekend schedule. Back at the Beeb, the boys fronted the critically-slammed variety/comedy/quiz/people-show hotchpotch h&p@bbc (BBC1, 28 April-1 June 1999); among their radio work was The Fabulous World Of Hale And Pace, broadcast by BBC Radio 2 on 13 April 1998.
Hale and Pace have also branched out into serious drama, playing the roles of Dalziel and Pascoe in the first TV realisation of Reginald Hill's detective characters, in the three-episode A Pinch Of Snuff, networked by ITV from 9 to 23 April 1994. (Dalziel And Pascoe - so titled - switched to BBC1 from 16 March 1996, with Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan in the title roles.) They also starred in a comedy-drama, April Fool's Day (LWT, 29 March 1997), playing a pair of unlikeable neighbours trying to better each other with practical jokes. This hour-long film also featured Susie Blake and Roy Hudd.
Researched and written by Mark Lewisohn.
Gareth Hale - Main Writer
Norman Pace - Main Writer
Laurie Rowley - Other Writer (series 1-3)
Richard Parker - Other Writer
Sean Carson - Other Writer
David Tomlinson - Other Writer
Michael Henry - Other Writer
Abi Grant - Other Writer
Geoff Lister - Other Writer
Miles Moss - Other Writer
Jez Stephenson - Other Writer
Raymond Dixon - Other Writer
David Kind - Other Writer
Geoff Cole - Other Writer
Clive Whichelow - Other Writer
Ronnie Barbour - Other Writer
John Brown - Other Writer
Phil Hopkins - Other Writer
Terry Morrison - Other Writer
Mike Lepine - Other Writer
Mark Leigh - Other Writer
Mike Haskins - Other Writer
Eifion Jenkins - Other Writer
Gary Keating - Other Writer
Terry Corrigan - Other Writer
Clive Whichelow - Other Writer
Russell Young - Other Writer
Alistair Newton - Other Writer
Ian Baker - Other Writer
John Machin - Other Writer
Stephen Arnott - Other Writer and others
Laurie Rowley - Script Associates / Editor
Number of episodes: 69
Length: 67 x 30 mins � 2 x 60 mins
*Special (60 mins) Hale And Pace Christmas Extravaganza
20 Dec 1986, Sat 9pm
Series One (7) 2 Oct-13 Nov 1988, Sun mostly 10pm
Series Two (6) 1 Oct-5 Nov 1989, Sun mostly 10.05pm
Series Three (6) 30 Sep-4 Nov 1990, Sun 10.05pm
Series Four (6) 29 Sep-3 Nov 1991, Sun mostly 10.05pm
Series Five (7) 24 Jan-7 Mar 1993, Sun mostly 10.20pm
Series Six (7) 19 Sep-31 Oct 1993, Sun mostly 10pm
Series Seven (7) 18 Sep-30 Oct 1994, Sun 10pm
Series Eight (7) 8 Oct-19 Nov 1995, Sun mostly 10pm
Special (60 mins) Hale And Pace Down Under
29 Dec 1996, Sun 10.25pm
Series Nine (7) 5 Jan-16 Feb 1997, Sun mostly 10pm
Series Ten (6) 23 July-27 Aug 1998, Thu 9.30pm
Special 20 Dec 1998, Sun 11.25pm
The information in the bbc.co.uk Guide to Comedy is complied from 'The Radio Times Guide to Television Comedy' by Mark Lewisohn, published by BBC Books. More information about the book is available from the BBC Shop.
(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external links.)
Reviews supplied by Radio Times © 2003 BBC Worldwide - used under licence from BBC Worldwide.
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