Thursday, 28 March 2013

Greedy Guts

"People often say to me 'you must have a very perverse sense of humour' to which I usually respond 'what a perverse thing to say', immediately turning their own words against them and making them feel about this big.

Perversity is the subject of tonight's story although, perversely, it doesn't feature any perversion. To be honest, I'm really not that closely involved with the programme now. This isn't my house. Or my chair. Or my tie. That fire is fake.

So, here we are, episode 183, series 12, an unlikely tale of gluttony where, if you listen closely, you will hear the sound of the base of a wooden receptacle being scratched with a metal utensil.

Can I keep the tie?"

Gunther Guttman (Orson Welles) is a world renowned and famously voracious gourmet and food writer, a cruel and bitter man whose critique can be devastating. When a chef he has destroyed in print throws himself into an industrial mincer, Gunther finds himself unable to eat anything without immediately soiling himself. To fill time and make sure we get the point, this is shown happening six times, including once during a live television interview and once at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

Disgusted, hungry, a laughing stock and smelly pariah, Gunther resorts to desperate measures to stay alive. The story ends with him gleefully tucking into a big plate of sausages, unaware in his madness that he is actually chowing down on a large serving of steaming faeces.

Welles / Guttman utters the classic line from the TV studio scene:
'Is this going out live? Yes? Then we have a problem'. 

'Greedy Guts' famously came to the attention of Mary Whitehouse who said 'It was funny. I really enjoyed it' - but it was not well received by the general public, who, aside from the coprophagia, objected to the sound effects and, especially, a scene where The Queen (Jeanette Charles) shakes Guttman's hand and gets shit on her white glove. 

The episode was directed by Mr. Welles under the pseudonym of A. Fattybumbum and, unusually for a 'Tales Of The Unexpected' show took three years and £4 million dollars to make. It's also only sixteen minutes long.  

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