Thursday 19 January 2023

29/10/1984 - Let's Pretend: The Milk Float and the Racing Car

It's been a year and a half since I last looked at an episode of Let's Pretend and that's because not a single second of it has popped up anywhere. It's a continual source of frustration given that over 200 episodes were produced, but I guess there's worse things happening in the world (probably). Anyway, the good news is that Neil Miles, the intrepid tape archaeologist, has retrieved an episode from the clutches of a dusty old tape. It's an episode from the fourth series - titled The Milk Float and the Racing Car - which first aired in October 1984, although it appears this particular recording came from a mid-morning repeat in January 1985.

Appearing in The Milk Float and the Racing Car, the writer of which remains unknown due to a lack of available resources, are Let's Pretend stalwarts Chris Hazell, Michael Bray and Lesia Melnyk. Hazell, as ever, is on the musical side of things and taking up residence at the Let's Pretend piano (I wonder where that is now) whilst Bray and Melnyk take up the all-important roles as pretenders.

As the familiar strains of the Let's Pretend theme commence, the Let's Pretend caterpillar starts bobbing across the strain before it meets... a bottle of milk (red cap, for you all you dairy enthusiasts out there). Melnyk, who is operating the caterpillar, picks up the bottle and makes her way into the Let's Pretend house where she finds Hazell and Bray tinkling away on the piano. Spying the milk bottle in Melnyk's hand, the male pretenders ask her where her milk float is. This gentle ribbing leads into the trio watching a quick piece of footage of a milk float going about its round, a discussion then follows on why it needs to be slow and steady.

It's now time for the pretending to begin, and Melnyk gets to work by fashioning a milk float, in true imagination shattering fashion, out of a cardboard box she steps into. At this point, Hazell begins to craft a slow and steady melody on the piano, Melnyk soon joins him in singing the milk float song, "Milk float travels slowly, moving steadily along, slowly along". All this snail-paced action, however, is starting to irk Bray and, quite frankly, he's had enough. And that's why he announces he wants to be a racing car, a move marked by him racing around the playroom and singing, "I'm a racing car, I can go so far, I go very fast, nothing seems to last, it's over before you know it, I have gone!"

This rather convenient contrast in velocity choices sparks a lightbulb moment from Hazell: today's play will be the story of The Milk Float and the Racing Car. The Let's Pretend curtains raise and the play begins to unfold. With one toe daintily dipping itself into the story of the hare and the tortoise, the play finds a slow and steady milk float going up against a brash, flashy racing car. Both vehicles vie to give the superior tour experience to an elderly couple who fancy a day out. I won't provide any spoilers as, if you've got this far, you're probably going to watch it, but, suffice to say, both the milk float and the racing car emerge with their egos intact.

I'm biased, of course, as Let's Pretend holds such a special place in my heart, but The Milk Float and the Racing Car provides a charming slice of nostalgia. It's an unashamedly mid-1980s production on a tiny budget, but, once again, the programme's trademark grappling hook snares the imagination with ease, a footing it strengthens with engaging performances from the pretenders.

As ever, I'm on the hunt for more Let's Pretend episodes, so please get in touch if you're sitting on one!

No comments:

Post a Comment