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Series / Michael Bentine's Potty Time

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Michael Bentine's Potty Time was a long-running British children's show, starring Michael Bentine, directed and produced by Leon Thau for Thames Television on ITV. It ran from 1973 to 1980. The episodes consisted largely of distinctive, bearded puppets (called "Potties"), comically re-enacting famous historical situations. There were two or three 2-foot tall Potties and about six 1-foot tall ones, with numerous costume changes. Bentine appeared as himself, introducing two stories in each half-hour episode and often arguing with the Potty characters over some of the more implausible incidents.

Michael Bentine's Potty Time includes examples of:

  • Edible Ammunition: An episode had the host interviewing a puppet Royal Army catering unit. Their equipment included a tank full of "bangs" — sausages — which were instantly flash-cooked and fired out of its main gun, and an anti-aircraft-artillery piece which had been adapted with an integral cooker to cook rissoles and fire them up to descending paratroopers.
  • Great Escape: "The Great Potty Escape".
  • Monumental Theft: One episode had someone stealing Nelson's Column, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. It turned out he had only removed them so he could have them cleaned as gifts to the respective governments.
  • POW Camp: "The Great Potty Escape".
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: A thief steals Nelson's Column, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. It turns out the thief was actually having them cleaned as a gift to the governments of the United Kingdom, France and the USA and returned them in 'as-new' condition.
  • Studio Audience: In later series.
  • Train Job: One episode retold the story of a train robbery during the American Civil War (the same incident, incidentally, that inspired Buster Keaton's 1926 film The General).