Bodger and Badger
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Bodger and Badger was a BBC childrens TV series which was first broadcast in 1989 and continued up until the highly controversial Mashed Potato suicide episode in 2000, in which the writers put a brutal and twisted end to the show when Badger drowned himself in mashed potato. Despite this, the show was proved incredibly popular amongst youngsters and was a flag ship show for CBBC, while winning critical acclaim in the process. It won various awards, including 27 BAFTAs, 3 Nuts Magazine Best Comedy Awards and 1 NME Award (which was for the duo's hip-hop album 'Bangin' Bitches Mofo Style').
The show, despite the praise, incurred the wrath of Daily Mail readers and other critics for its risque and controversial material which was deemed unsuitable for children. It is also infamous for its continuity errors which blighted the show during it's 11 year tenure.
Bodger and Badger also had their very own big screen spin off in the infamous and the ill-fated movie Never Far Away (in which the central theme of the story was a series of mashed potato related murders), which came out briefly in 2001 but was pulled from cinemas shortly after. The film showed Badger as a live and well, despite the fact he had been killed off in the last episode of the television series and large hole's in the script. Other issues, such as excessive use of bad language in a childrens film, poor acting and lack of plot were also to blame.
The show centred around the kind natured Simon Bodger (played by actor Andy Cunningham) who sat at home and earnt a living through the benefits system, and his crazy companion, the affable Badger. Slapstick comedy was a common feature throughout the show, even if it did get graphically violent in some episodes. It was also notorious for its jokes and pranks which centred around mashed potato, scheming the slimy Mr Smart and Mrs Dribelle, and fooling Bodger into tax fraud and drug dealing.
To reveal the extent of the slapstick and crude humour over the course of the shows life span, stats for the show state that Bodger slipped on Badger's mashed potato 12,141 times and Badger messed up Bodger's living room in fecal matter 842 times resulting in literal sticky situations. It was also revealed that in total, Badger, in an effort to get attention, bit Bodger's testicles 899 times over the 11 years the programme was shown.
Simon Bodger would often be on the wrong end of his house guests and, much to the disgust of parents watching the show, swore excessively at them. One such episode had Bodger finally crack at the bossy Mrs Dribelle, in which he lost his temper, trashed the house and screamed 'Fuck off you flabby cuntflapped bitch!'. This temper became a prime feature of the show and added to the comedic effect - particularly during the running gag when his face would be splattered with mashed potato and his right hand would become shit stained due to it being shoved up Badger's arse for a full show.
Bodger would also attempt on many occasions to set mouse traps in order to catch Badger's friend, Mousy. This would always have disastrous consequences for Bodger as Badger would put the mouse traps in his bed, resulting in painful consequences.
In order for the series to stay fresh and relevant, the creators decided to take the show in a darker direction from the fourth series onwards. Slapstick was still the main comedy on offer, but would occasionally be much more graphic than the previous series. In the now famous episode, 'Sausage Slicer', Simon Bodger's penis becomes trapped in a meat slicer, with Badger desperately trying to set him free, only to make matters worse by accidently turning the slicer. Although the body part in question is not shown, blood is shown to spatter over the faces of both characters while Bodger screams for mercy with sweat and tears running down his face. Despite emergency services rescuing Bodger and a cast wrapped around Bodger's private part and his complaints that he 'can't stroke his pet for a few weeks' to provide comic relief, the slapstick sequence was highly disturbing for many watching, with many feeling that it was horrific and not at all funny.
Errors and Controversy
Notorious for its bad acting, Bodger and Badger also became infamous for its high rate of continuity errors. In one scene, Bodger's clothes changed 4 times, starting with a Hawain t-shirt and shorts and eventually ending the scene in an expensive dinner suit. Another episode had Badger eating a plate of mashed potato while the next shot of him had him tucking into spaghetti bolognaise. Another error showed Bodger travelling to the shops in his Fiat Punto, only to return driving a Mercedes Benz. Greater errors blighted the show, particularly when the production team were on a tight budget. In series 8, episode 3, the character of Bodger leans against a wall, only for the cheap BBC paper thin set to break, sending Andy Cunningham flying to the ground. A medical team on set desperately attempted to remove the destroyed set with Cunningham's legs shattered and trapped under it. The scene however made it into the final cut as there was not enough funds to re-shoot the scene.
A high profile case involving the show which made the papers (and ultimately the court room) was the use of advertising in the show, which depicted Badger smoking Marlboro cigarettes. Bodger remarks 'I hope that's Marlboro cigarettes you're smoking and not any other inferior brands - I love the aroma that those cigarettes give off. In fact, I love it so much I might take up smoking right now!' The producers strenuously denied that Marlboro had paid the show to have their product advertised in the show, even despite the fact that Bodger was dressed up in what appeared to be full Marlboro man gear - including the famous cow boy hat and snake boots.
- Simon Bodger - the simple minded but faithful owner of his compatriot Badger. Often on the end of Badger's practical jokes, including filling the DVD player with mashed potato and ruining Bodger's brand new state of the art Dell computer after refusing Badger's demands to download pirate copies of Shrek and The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps.
- Badger - mischievous pet of Bodger. Often involved in hilarious mishaps, involving mashed potato and on one occasion, blow up sex dolls, with his friend Mousy.
- Mousy - The imaginatively named dormouse friend of Badger. Narrowly escapes death on many occasion, including a visit from Rentokil in one particular episode.
- Mrs Dribelle - bossy mistress who would often treat Simon Bodger in a distasteful manner. Framed Bodger for fraud and murder of her husband. Did not appear beyond series six, with hints throughout the show suggesting she had had a sex change.
- Mr Smart - owner of the house next door to Bodger's. Has a dislike for badgers, especialy when Badger messes up his garden. Many of the viewer's parents complained to the BBC that the character of Mr Smart was far too sleazy and perverted for a kids tv programme. He was killed off in series 8 following an hilarious incident in which Badger strategically placed a bucket of mash potato over his front door only to land on Smart's head. Not knowing where he was going the character then proceeded to accidentally run out in front of a traditional seaside tram only to be run down.