The Boys From The Bush TV Series (3 Episodes)
I taped this legendary television series when they went out on the BBC in 1991 and 1992. They were written by R’s fan, Douglas Livingstone and revolve around, ‘Reg Toomer’ (Tim Healy) and ‘Dennis Tontine’ (Chris Haywood) who are partners in a sort of bungling Detective/Marriage Agency in Melbourne, Australia. Reg and the missus Doris had emigrated from Shepherd’s Bush and Dennis arrived from somewhere in the Australian outback, hence ‘The Boys From The Bush’ There were 20 episodes and the second series was cut short I heard, sadly because of a tragic accident to ‘Doris’s’ real son ? Then Pat Thomson herself died in April 1992 of cancer. The tapes are now long gone but a few years ago, I picked up recordings of three of the episodes on ebay and luckily they are the best ones. The articles for the Screen Reference Series would normally feature one episode or film but for the benefit of continuity, I’ve included the three together.
It was great to see them again and what I managed to get hold of starts off with the Toomer family on their way to London for a holiday and a pilgrimage for Reg. Doris had won the trip in a competition but the bad news for Reg is that they had to travel in July !!! There is a dream sequence which shows Reg walking into ‘The Crown and Sceptre’ and ordering a pint of ‘London Pride’ On the plane there a a funny exchange with another passenger, Reg asks him what team he supports, ‘Chelsea’ is the unfortunate reply which prompts Reg to look away and make a gradual, embarrassed exit but he still asks Reg who he supports ? ‘QPR’ he proudly declares and points to the badge on the lapel of his jacket.
There is another classic scene when they leave the departure area at Heathrow and Reg calls over to his Oz born daughter Arlene. “Come Here Girl, Your Ancestors Breathed This Air, Shakespeare, Churchill and Rodney Marsh.” On their way to the Bush, the cabbie lets Reg and Doris off by Shepherd’s Bush Green. Reg runs down to what he thinks is still the Gents for old times sake but runs back hastily and very embarrassed after realising it was now a Snooker Hall !!! Doris keeps telling him, “There’s Bound To Be Changes Reg.”
The whole thing develops into a bit of a farce involving numerous characters which leads them down the Bush Market, Hammersmith Town Hall and Reg has a few pints too many in the ‘Crown and Sceptre.’ It shows some of the Rangers memorabilia which used to be proudly on display in there.
Reg can’t of course see his beloved R’s because it’s July but that doesn’t stop him completing his pilgrimage with a trip to Loftus Road. He’s shown standing in ‘The Loft’ decked out in his QPR gear and legs it onto the pitch. He ‘heads’ an imaginary ball into the goal in front of ‘The Loft End’ and gives a loud, “Rodneeeeeee” ! Eventually Reg and the family return to what he calls, “Bloody Melbourne’ but it’s a love/hate feeling and soon he is nostalgic for the Bush, QPR and a pint of London Pride. The other episodes usually mention the R’s or the Bush and Reg always wears his badge with pride. I remember R’s fans for a while at the time sang, ‘Come On Arlene’ to the tune of the big Dexy’s hit, ‘Come On Eileen’ and there was a rumour of a third series despite the sad loss of Pat Thomson ? Let’s hope that it does surface again and the original episodes are put out commercially or shown on one of the Cable/Sky Channels.