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Appearances on Blankety-Blank

1986 1987 1999

Wendy on 'Blankety-Blank' in 1986 Toward the end of 1986, the quiz show Blankety-Blank presented a Christmas-themed episode hosted by the late British comedian Les Dawson; the show aired on 26 Dec 86 (Boxing Day).  The panel, all in costumes of various and elaborate make reflecting the holiday season, consisted of Lynda Baron, comedian Frank Carson, model and singer Samantha Fox, comedy duo "Little & Large" (Syd Little and Eddie Large), and of course Wendy.

Les introduced Wendy with:  "No tree is complete without a little fairy . . . It's Wendy Richard!"  After her entrance and the applause, he continued:  "Where are you at Christmas, Wendy?"  And with a bounce and a flounce, she said, "I'm in Brighton, in Cinderella."   LD:  "Oh, that's very nice; you make a lovely fairy.  WR:  "Oh, thank you, but I'm not playing a fairy."  LD:  "You're not?  What are you playing?"  WR:  "I'm playing a butch part; I'm going to be Dandini!"

About a third of the way into the half-hour show, the introductions of celebrities and contestants finished up, and the game began.  This was surely not Wendy's first appearance on B-B:  she seemed completely at ease, and played in high spirits, a couple of times offering the thumbs-up and a big smile to contestants when they matched her answers.

Though a charming guest and good team player, Wendy did take the opportunity to put a personal stamp on the proceedings.  On one of the last questions, Les read to the panel and contestants: "I'm not saying that Sissy is fat, but in order to fill her stocking with presents, Santa Claus discarded his sleigh and hired a BLANK."  Predictably, the answer given by the contestant and most of the other celebs was "lorry", accompanied by audience applause.  But when it came Wendy's turn, she lifted her card to reveal:  "pantechnicon" -- a rather archaic British term from the mid-nineteenth century for a furniture-removal van.  After some hesitation by the judges, and delighted laughter from the undoubtedly better-read of the audience, the 'okay' chime sounded, though she never did get the full round of general applause.  What's most satisfying about Wendy's mischievous answer was that it elegantly flew in the face of the sexist jokes glibly tossed out during the program by some of the male comedians.

Wendy on 'Blankety-Blank' in 1987 On 26 Dec 87, Wendy found herself once more on the celebrity panel for Blankety-Blank.  Joining her for this holiday episode were five other celebrities, all of whom, in the spirit of the season, were costumed as various Dickensian characters:  athlete-actor Geoff Cape (as Mr. Bumble, from Oliver Twist), actress Lynda Baron (as Madame Defarge, from A Tale of Two Cities), radio-, stage-, and screen-actor Roy Hudd, singer-actor Joe Brown (as Ebenezer Scrooge), and singer-actress Lorraine Chase (as Dora Spenlow Copperfield).  Wendy herself was attired as Nancy from Oliver Twist, and Dawson as Mr. Pickwick.

The contest questions and answers in this episode were generally unremarkable, other than one round where Wendy answered "snails" instead of the anticipated "frogs legs" because:  "Being a great collector of frogs, I couldn't even bear the thought of eating them -- so I wrote 'snails' ".  The episode is available for viewing on YouTube.

Wendy on 'Blankety-Blank' in 1999 Joining Ms. Richard on the celebrity panel for the episode aired on 2 Oct 99 were Phil Gayle (morning news announcer for UK Channel 4), Carol Smillie (host of an interior decorating program and many other BBC shows), John Motson (a football [soccer] commentator), Bill Roache (Coronation Street's Ken Barlow), and Adele Silva (Emmerdale Farm's Kelly Windsor).

The half-hour show began with Savage taking what seemed like an inordinate amount of time introducing the celebrity panel and chattering with the first round of contestants. About Ms. Richard, Savage had this to say: ". . . We've got one of EastEnders' longest serving inmates: Pauline Fowler. But beneath the layers of cardies and overalls lays the body of Miss Brahms. Come outside, please, it's Wendy Richards!" (Yes, it sounded very much as if Savage hung an "s" on Wendy's last name . . .).

As usual, Ms. Richard appeared in fine spirits during the game. Besides her lovely looks, of particular interest was her charming tendency to present her answers with (or as) simple sketches. But lest anyone think her participation to be thereby merely shallow or cutesy, it should also be noted that she provided the show's only example of intellectual prowess. A question Savage read to the panel and contestants: "Luciano Pavarotti said, 'my wife loved being married to an opera singer. On our wedding night she kept shouting BLANK' ". The other celebrities and the contestants chose generally banal or crude answers such as "encore" or "show us your arias". In contrast, Ms. Richard offered the phrase "nessun' dorma", which of course is the title of a tenor aria from Puccini's last, unfinished opera "Turandot. The phrase may be translated as "no man shall sleep" or "no one shall sleep". Chiaramente, la signora imparata e bella!

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