CBBC Memories – The House Of Gristle.

The House Of Gristle (CBBC, 1994)

Rather a long time ago now, one of the first CBBC shows I remember from the 90s that I reviewed on here was Dizzy Heights, the sitcom that was set at a rather chaotic seaside hotel that starred comedy double-act Heap and Wall. One of the most memorable things about the show was the only people who ever seemed to stay there were the Gristle family, a rather gruesome group of puppets.

After Dizzy Heights ended in 1993, someone at CBBC must’ve thought that this family still had some potential to be successful with viewers, so a year later, they were given their own spin-off series. The House Of Gristle was a sketch show that starred Vera (voiced by Steve Nallon, best known for his contributions to Spitting Image), Victor, and their son Eustace. Heap and Wall didn’t appear in this one, but they were among the writers. vlcsnap-00837

The show began with the family on stage before the sketches began, that were accompanied by what suspiciously sounded like canned laughter. There were a few regular features, such as the usual spoofs of TV shows and adverts (“Dad Automatic” indeed), and Eustace often liked to perform terrible poems that resulted in him receiving a rather nasty fate, such as having a big weight dropped on him. vlcsnap-00842

There were plenty of amusing moments throughout the series. Among my favourite sketches was when Eustace would read a story in his bedroom, and sat alongside him was a rather odd small furry thing called Derek who used to open and close his eyes and make squeaking noises as the story excitingly unfolded. He was definitely the star of the show for me. vlcsnap-00844

There would also be an ongoing horror story that took many twists as the weeks went by. Another rather unusual memory that I have of the show was that I moved house during its run, so it was one of the very last shows that I remember watching where I had lived since I was born. There was only one series of The House Of Gristle, which ran for nine editions. But it didn’t end there. vlcsnap-00847

We did see the family one final time on CBBC at the end of 1995 when they appeared in the one-off horror comedy mystery The Curious Case Of Dr Hertz Van Rental. After this though, the Gristles weren’t ever seen again. There was no repeat run of this show, and neither this or Dizzy Heights has had a DVD release which is a disappointment. I wonder where they are now.

CBBC Memories – Dizzy Heights.

Dizzy Heights (CBBC, 1990-1993)

Dizzy Heights was a sitcom that ran for four series on CBBC in the early-90s. It starred a comedy double-act called Alan Heap and Mick Wall who played the characters, er, Mr Heap and Mr Wall and the idea was that they ran a seaside hotel. vlcsnap-00470

And, yes, of course, there was chaos. Usually a guest would turn up who wanted to stay in the hotel and things would go wrong, with endless amusing mishaps, much to the embarrassment of Heap and Wall. There were also some puppet mice called Morty and Myrtle who lived in the hotel. But they weren’t the stars of the show for me. The main reason that I liked to watch Dizzy Heights was because of the Gristle family. vlcsnap-00473

The Gristles were a family of puppets who were always at the hotel and watching on as all the daft things happened, and sometimes causing them too. There was mum Vera and dad Victor, and their son Eustace who was a really funny character who I always enjoyed watching. vlcsnap-00471

Indeed someone else seemed to think so because after Dizzy Heights ended Heap and Wall weren’t seen on the screen again and it was the Gristle family who got a spin-off on CBBC in 1994 called The House Of Gristle. This was a comedy sketch show that I also enjoyed, featuring more adventures with the family, and more fun with Eustace. Indeed, this led to another spin-off featuring the family in a horror story in 1995 that was terrifically called The Curious Case Of Dr Hertz Van Rental, but that was the last that was seen of the Gristles on our screens. vlcsnap-00469

Dizzy Heights and The House Of Gristle are two more shows that it would be good to see again either in repeats or released on DVD, especially because the Gristles were a terrifically odd bunch of characters and there were lots of funny moments.