Oh How Bona to Vada your Dolly Old Eek.mp3
The characters of ‘Jules and Sandy’ played by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams were the creation of Barry Took and Marty Feldman.
The two gentlemen were based on the writers Sandy Wilson, an English composer and lyricist, best known for his musical' The Boy Friend' and Julian Slade, an English writer of London musical theatre
'Jules and Sandy' was a segment on the radio show ‘Round the Horne’ broadcast on the BBC light programme ( later renamed Radio 2) They Lived in a Fay world were each week they flamboyantly extolled the virtues of their new business or pursuit to Mr Horne. Invariably called 'Bona' something or other. Swiftly followed with a barrage of innuendo andcamp banter.
Round the Horne ran for 66 episodes from 1964 until 1969, it was immensely popular, attracting 9 million listeners each week and winning the Writers' Guild of Great
Britain Award, for the best comedy script in 1967.
It comprised of a series of comedy sketches, linked together by Kenneth Horne who played the 'straight man'. The Jules and Sandy sketches were risky to say the least, but they got away with it, remarkably as the show was broadcast at lunchtimes on Sundays, a day the BBC held in great 'Reithian' reverence. But they did right under the nose of the prudish BBC censor.
The reason... they were talking in a 'code', the use of an underground language called Polari, a secret etymological speak known to the gay subculture of the time.
Did the audience understand its meaning? To the most part probably not, but with all double-entendre it doesn’t need to be precise, it just works. After all, we were midway through the ‘Carry on’ era, it had become a way of life.
The magic of 'Julian and Sandy' is the way in which the sketches developed, mainly due to the characterisations of Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, who ad-libed the script often out of all recognition.
Each sketch would invariably start with Kenneth Horne knocking on a door and asking:
Hello anybody there.mp3
Oh hello I'm Julian this is my friend Sandy.mp3
‘Oh it’s Mr Horne how bona to vada your dolly old eke again!.mp3
Translated as ‘Good to see your pretty old face’
And occasionally when poor old Ken used to try a retaliatory rebuke, he was normally greeted by Sandy saying ‘Ooh, isn't he bold?'
But what are the origins of Polari?
It’s a multifaceted language, a combination of rhyming slang; backslang, for example Hair becomes ‘Riah’.
It also contained elements of Italian and parlyaree, a vernacular used by sailors and travellers, as well as criminal speak with a twist of Yiddish thrown in. There was also plenty of theatre repartee .
Undoubtedly, because of the popularity of Round the Horne, Polari became embedded in popular culture and was often quoted in many middle-class households in the Sixties.
Sometimes the jokes were just innuendo, in one sketch, in a conversation about playing the piano, Sandy refers to Julian as being a "miracle of dexterity at the ''cottage upright", the double meaning of this term becomes apparent if you know that "cottage" is the term used for a public convenience where sexual encounters between men took place!
Another example of comic ambiguity is in this exchange from ‘Bona Law’
HORNE: Will you take my case?
JULIAN: Well, it depends on what it is. We've got a criminal practice that takes up most of our time.
HORNE: Yes, but apart from that, I need legal advice.
These brief sketches have stood the test of time, and remain funny over 50 years later.
Bona Academy of Ballroom Dancing
Bona Beat Song Ltd
Bona Bijou Tourette
Bona Estate Agents
Bona Gift Boutique
Bona Guest House
Bona Houses And Landscape Gardens
Bona Male Models
Bona Mind Readers
Bona Nature Clinic
Bona Private Detective Agency
Bona School Of Languages
Bona Song Publisherettes
Bona Tax Consultants
Bona Tours Ltd
Bona TV Ltd
Carnaby Street Hunt
Keep Britain Bona
Le Casserole de Bona Gourmet
No Julian & Sandy?
The Lazy Bona Ranch
Tima & Motion
If you want to hear the boys in action, tune in every weekday on Radio Sounds Familiar at 3.10pm
And if you need help with a translation here’s a short list of common words and their meanings: