In 1995, an Australian broadcaster called Austereo-MCM approached Pozzitive with view to making a comedy series set in five minute episodes to be syndicated over English-speaking radio stations across the world, including Virgin FM in the UK, and international Independent radio stations in Australia, South Africa and the Middle East.
The idea was to create a spoof soap about the comings and goings of “an ordinary British Royal Family”, and thus Crown Jewels was born (Crown Jewels being, amongst other things, Oz slang for the male genitals, of course...)
The show ran in five minutes chunks from Monday to Friday, with a storyline developing across the week. Initially running for twenty episodes, and then a further twenty, the writers and co-producers, Mark Burton and John O'Farrell, together with the writer Pete Sinclair (“Lead Balloon”), created their own alternative Royal Family. Consisting of Queen Tizzy and her husband Prince Percy, reigning monarchs of the House of Whinger, it also involved the Queen's son, Prince Chasbeen, his estranged wife, Princess Diet, and his lover, Camilla Past-Her-Best ...
All the voices were supplied by just five cast members, but a rather talented five - Ronni Ancona (Princess Diet) & Sue Perkins (the Queen) did all the ladies, whilst Prince Percy, and the Princes Chasbeen and Deadwood were tackled by Hugh Dennis, Alistair McGowan & John Thomson. Ronni’s Princess Diet was a particular favourite of the listeners, but alas, of course, also one of the main reasons why this show will probably never be transmitted again.
As a nod to the show’s Australian roots, an impressionist called Paul Jennings was recorded down the line from Sydney to play “Paul Bleating”, the show’s equivalent of the famously coarse and Ocker then-Prime Minister, Paul Keating.
Various storylines and characters included an artistically-frustrated Chasbeen changing his name to “Symbol”, or “The Royal Formerly Known As Prince”, Princess Diet perpetually being in the gym and on various diets, a Motown band called Nelson & the Mandelas, Pope Jean-Paul Gaultier, the world's first fashion-designer pontiff, wearing one of his latest Immaculate Creations and Prince Deadwood, being left Home Alone at Whinger Castle, inviting all his friends to a huge party, but sadly, neither of them turning up...
Recorded without an audience, the show was very unusual, in that commercial radio almost never tackled scripted comedy, mainly because of the high cost involved. This fact was probably instrumental in the series wining a Sony (Bronze) award in 1996 for Best Comedy.
This episode begins in a condemned cell in the state of California, where Prince Percy has been sentenced to death for smoking in a public place. After thinking about it for a couple of days, the Queen reluctantly decides to grant him a Royal Pardon. But sailing back home to England, trusty rustbucket H.M.S Windbreaker runs into a terrible storm. Will the Queen go down with all hands, or will the sailors simply be tossed on the High Seas ...?
Caught in a terrible storm, Prince Percy asks two sailors to lash him to the deck. But there's no time for fun and games, as the Royals go overboard and land up on a raft, in dire straits as the paté de fois gras begins to run out. Further disasters follow, as royal manservant Lovebottom is attacked by sharks, and Princess Diet breaks a nail. Is this the last of the Royals? Listen and find out ... (By the way, it isn't).
Excitement in the Press, as the headlines declare that the Royal family are all washed up - on a desert island, you understand. Meanwhile, back at Whinger Castle, his Royal Uselessness, Prince Deadwood is having to fend for himself, and immediately responds by locking himself in his room for thirty days and refusing to wash. Sadly, no-one notices the difference ...
Marooned on a desert island, the Royal Family have been trying to keep a fire going with a dwindling supply of short-wave radios to use as firewood. Back at Whinger Castle, Prince Deadwood is desperately trying to work out how to make a piece of toast without the benefit of a recipe book. Or any servants. Or any bread. And back on the island, Prince Chasbeen is undergoing a strange personality transformation ...
To his mother's dismay, Prince Chasbeen has been transformed into an island chieftain, Waikiki N'Tonga - "He-who-is-of-average-ear-size". As noble hunter-gatherer, his job is to try and spear some vicious island fruit and coconuts. And Prince Deadwood, Home Alone at Whinger Castle, invites all his friends to a huge party. Neither of them turn up, but unfortunately, rather a lot of gatecrashers do ...
The mysterious inhabitant of the desert island turns out to be none other than Trellis, the gardener at Whinger Castle. Due to a series of incredible coincidences, and a desperate shortage of writing time, the Whingers were in fact marooned in their own garden all the time! But all is not well, as Prince Deadwood's accidental party starts to fill up with a hideous bunch of misfits and no-hopers - something Whinger Castle is very used to ...
Everyone and anyone have turned up to Prince Deadwood's party, including Pope Jean-Paul Gaultier, the world's first fashion-designer pontiff, wearing one of his latest Immaculate Creations. What will happen when Prince Percy & Queen Tizzy return for a nice quiet night in? And will the Queen detect the faintest whiff of suspiciously herbal smoke? And if she hasn't noticed, why has she just gone to the fridge to make ten peanut-butter sandwiches ...
It's the morning after the party, and Percy is clearing up, only to discover that a lot if old things have got wrecked, including Mick Shagger. Fortunately, apart from the roof, the walls and the ceiling, Whinger Castle got away almost entirely unscathed. Meanwhile, why is the Queen wandering around the garden, talking to sheep - apart from the fact that they're more interesting conversationalists than Princess Diet ...? Could we be seeing - The Madness Of Queen Tizzy?
Testing, testing, one two! One two! OK, let's hear it for the synopsis of Episode 29. Preparations are well underway for the "Royal Aid" concert. Meanwhile, HM The Queen's behaviour is getting increasingly erratic. She seems to think she's an owl, and won't come down from her rafter to discuss it with her psychiatrist, eccentric genius, Dr. Von Prozac ...
For those who are about to rock - we salute you! The Royal Aid concert is in full swing. All the stars are there - Irish supergroup FU2, Guns & Poseurs, Squiggle (the artist formerly known as Ponce), Paul McCansing and Linda McCan'tsing, and of course, Crown Jewel's favourite supergroup, Nelson & The Mandelas. But backstage, a mysterious crowned figure is sneaking past security onto the stage, and together for the first time, we present Queen, Madness, Crass and Blur, in the shape of Queen Tizzy!
HM the Queen is live onstage at the Royal Aid concert and is lashing out at every important World Leader, and John Major. In the meantime, Prince Chasbeen is exploring an old dark corner of Whinger Castle, when he discovers what seems to be his mother bound and gagged in the corner! Are there doubles of everyone and everything? And are there doubles of everyone and everything? Find out more, in this very special episode ...
High above the earth, Screws International mogul Randolph Moloch, and his repellent sidekick, Scooper are orbiting in their satellite, Tax Loss 1. It is Moloch who is behind the evil Queen impostor, for he has built a replica queen, who will become the future of cybernetic royalty. Roboqueen - half woman, half robot, all Queen. Based on Moloch's own life - half Australian, half American, all fat pig. Meanwhile, back at Whinger Castle, there is an unwelcome visitor ...
Two Heads of State are better than one - not! Prince Percy is getting worn out with having two wives to be blitheringly rude to, and has decided once and for all to find out which is the real Queen Tizzy. After an exciting and spectacular sci-fi visual effects feast, (which is remarkably cheap on radio), we see Roboqueen defeated and destroyed. All is well again - or is it? What are the mysterious letters Princess Diet keeps getting from her son's Headmaster? And why do they have to have so many long words ...?
Bendover Public school, ancient seat of learning, and centre for turning out slightly maladjusted young Englishmen with a penchant for spanking each other ... it is here that Prince Chasbeen comes to try and understand why his son Wills is falling behind academically, and to watch his son win a rugby match with the help of twelve armed bodyguards and a machine-gun post ...
It is high time Prince Chasbeen has a man to man talk with his eldest son, ... er, Thingummy. After hearing some of Chasbeen's happy schooltime reminiscences - like the time he was debagged and sent off to the biology labs to be dissected - Princes Diet appears from behind a lampstand where she'd been hiding, to take Wills away from Bendover, and teach him herself ...
Princess Diet, angry at her son Wills' progress at Bendover school, has resolved to take him home and teach him everything she knows. Which will probably take about three seconds, unless, of course, he takes a course in colonic irrigation ... Meanwhile, Queen Tizzy and Prince Percy receive a special surprise in the post - and wonder of wonders, it didn't even come from the Readers Digest Lucky Draw ...
Princess Diet has decided to search for a Governess for her wayward son, Wills. After rejecting everybody who walked through the door - including a couple of Japanese tourists who had got lost - she is almost about to give up, when a strangely familiar face in a rather lumpy dress comes through the door. It is none other than Mrs. Doubt-Whinger, and not Prince Chasbeen in disguise at all, no way, no sirree. Although Queen Tizzy did get a bit suspicious when she discovered Chasbeen fumbling around in her wardrobe the day before ...
This episode is a heart-warming story of how a loving father - Prince Chasbeen - having been denied access to his children, disguises himself as a Scottish nanny so that he can be close to them. Thrill - as Chasbeen's children see through his disguise instantly! Gasp - at how weird Chasbeen looks in a dress! And marvel - at Princess Diet's extreme density, as she fails to recognise Chasbeen, despite him having the worst Scottish accent since Highlander 2 ... Mrs. Doubt-whinger - coming to a radio near you!
It's award time, at the prestigious 49th Annual World Leader Awards! Live from Wallywood! All the leaders arrive in their limousines, although perhaps President Schlurrin shouldn't have been allowed to drive his own. Apparently, he'll be out of traction soon. Paul Bleating is up for the "Best Singer Of Waltzing Matilda" Award, and the Queen is up for "Best Ruler Of An Island With Dismal Weather". Plus, all the latest showbiz gossip from Leo & Larry! Be there!
Welcome to the prestigious 49th Annual World Leader Awards, live from Wallywood! Join our host, top American comedian and git, Chuck Bananas, as he rips open the envelopes in a no-doubt immensely funny way, if you could see him doing it. But skulduggery is afoot. Has Queen Tizzy been cheating? And if she has, who else has as well ...?
|with special guest||Paul Jennings|
|Written by||Mark Burton|
|Directed by||David Tyler|
|Produced by||Mark Burton|
Don't forget to click on the "CLIPS" button, (just over there on the left), to hear a whole three minute episode - highly rare, as it includes Ronnie Ancona's matchless Princess Di impression...