With Brigadier General Sir Crispin Maddingley-Snorrt, K.B. (Retired)

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Sir Crispin's reviews come to us from Upper Rogering, Surrey, England

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This week, the Brigadier General takes time out from the arduous task of movie reviewing to take part in TV's "The Weakest Link."

Ask anyone down at the Badger and Feathers and they'll tell you that Brigadier General Sir Crispin Maddingley-Snorrt (K.B. (Retired) is nothing if he is not a man of honour and quietly impressive dignity. Well, actually, after last Tuesday night's little incident with the landlord's dog and a half pint of Cholmondley's "Old Smelly" extra strong ale, opinions at the Badger may, for the moment at least, be divided on the subject, but in general they will tell you that old Crispy is not the kind of chap to make a complete bloody arse of himself. So how, you ask, did I end up involved in that unspeakable televisual pestilence "The Weakest Link."
   Well, in my defence, I'm not much of a chap for watching television. I did watch it once at my nephew's house and I wasn't impressed.  I fell asleep and then woke with a start when God Save the Queen came on, and I leapt to my feet, spilling half a mug of cocoa and an almost full ashtray all over the old Harris tweeds. If you ask me, it's just boring, not to mention bloody dangerous, and for sheer entertainment can hardly be compared with a night down the Badger with Squiffer, pouring half pints down Rex's throat and seeing how long he can stand on the table without falling off.
  I mention all this so that when I say I had never even heard of "The Weakest Link," you don't say "Oh but you must have," or some such balderdash. And I still wouldn't have, if it hadn't been for that bloody nephew of mine, the one I was telling you about, who owns a television set. He comes into the Badger last Wednesday lunchtime to use the phone and, like a damned idiot, Squiffer asks him who he's calling, and when he says, "The BBC," Squiffer says, "That sounds interesting Maurice," and buys the little blighter a drink. Next thing I know, he's sitting at our table sipping a shandy and telling us he was calling for directions to the studio where they record this quiz program he's going to appear on. Goes on and on about how clever you have to be to be accepted as a contestant, and he's beginning to get on my nerves, so I remind him that a bloody social science degree from bloody Norwich University doesn't exactly make you  bloody Einstein. That shandy must have gone to his head because he slams his glass on the table and jumps to his feet, failing to notice Rex, who has been lying under the table all morning with his head in his paws, emitting the occasional low moan. Now Rex is usually a placid enough fellow, but I myself can testify to the powerful effects of a Cholmondley's Old Smelly hangover, and I reckon that, if some silly bastard had stood on my tail in such a condition I too would in all probability have buried my teeth in his leg.

Maurice, of course, is a complete bloody pansy and jumps about yelling like a bloody girl until he bumps into one of the ancient low hanging beams that the brewery had installed last year and knocks himself out.
  We're just finishing our drinks and waiting for Maurice's wife to come and take him to the hospital, when Squiffer notices that he's left the directions to the studio on the table. "Anything for a laugh" has always been our motto, and next thing we know, we're driving down the M3 to London in Squiffers Morris Minor, with me practising saying "Hello, my name is Maurice Peabody," between swigs of Johnny Walker Black Label from the old hip flask.
   I think I must have had one swig too many, and perhaps I was  little car sick too, because I don't remember a whole lot about the next hour or so. Squiffer tells me he had to help me along the corridor and explain to several people that I was "very nervous." Luckily, there were some pretty comfy chairs in the waiting room they put us in, so I was able to get a bit of shut-eye, and when Squiffer woke me to go into the studio, I was raring to go.
   They got me to stand between a weedy looking guy with a bald head and a black polo neck sweater and a fat sweaty woman in a dress like a sack . Then the lights go down and a woman suddenly appears and starts glaring at us in a way I haven't seen since the late Mrs. Maddingley-Snorrt found out I had stuck five hundred quid on a horse that tripped and fell thirty yards short of the first fence at Aintree.
  "Who the hell's that?" I whisper to the bald chappie.
  "Anne Robinson, of course," he whispers back.
   The scary woman must have caught us whispering, because her glare intensifies. Her face is unsettlingly reminiscent of a shrunken head I once saw at Binky Tuffington-Bulger's house. Binky had brought it back from an expedition to New Guinea in '64, and as I recall, it had better teeth than this Robinson woman.
  "Maurice," she says. "Lusaka is the capital of which African country?"
   I know this one. "Northern Rhodesia," I reply with a crisp confidence that cannot have failed to impress the audience.
   "Wrong. The answer is  Zambia," she hisses.
   "Not in my day, it bloody wasn't," I correct her. She glares at me again. Next thing I know, she's saying "Maurice, you are the weakest link. Goodbye." Frankly, her attitude is beginning to get my hackles up. I'm not about to take this lying down, and I point out that I fought five bloody years in the last war so that the world would be safe from people like her. This appears to be a popular view and provokes thunderous applause from the audience. I turn and bow graciously and continue to do so as I am carried from the studio by two giant stormtroopers.
   Of course, they edited out my heroic stand against the Robinson woman, but I like to think that it had at least something to do with forcing her to take her evil trade to America, where they may like this kind of thing.   

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