WASH YER HANDIES
Lots of people ask about the “Wash yer Handies” shot in “Get Stuffed”. In case you don’t know what this is - carefully watch the next episode and you’ll see that, after the guys in the show have done their shopping for ingredients, they come home, enter their kitchen, plop down the bag, and ....
Usually there’s a bit of voice-over at this point, which yowls, (for those who are especially thick, or drunk, or asleep), “WASH YER HANDIES”.
Yup. In almost every episode of “Get Stuffed” there’s this one huge, close-up shot of hands being washed. This shot normally lasts five seconds and, when you consider that there are over 250 episodes in the series you realise that, when all the “handie-washing” shots are stuck together, Last Ditch Television (the show’s producers) have entertained the entire nation with over twenty minutes of nothing but hands being washed.
i.e. 250 episodes x 5 seconds = 20 minutes and 49 seconds.
REspect My Man. Dammit, Last Ditch Television should be getting a Turner Prize for weird and futile artistic endeavour in the personal hand hygiene department.
Anyway, after watching a few episodes of “Get Stuffed” you’d need to be a total drongo not to be washing yer handies at least ten times a day. Honestly: you might become hooked, you might need psychotherapy, you might be thinking of litigation. Rectifying your “handie washing” obsessive-compulsive disorder will probably cost a bomb and, hell, we’re certainly not paying ‘cos it ain’t really our fault. (Though expensive lawyers may beg to differ).
So, before you even think about suing Last-Ditch Television for your compulsive behaviour therapy, here’s the strange-but-true story about how the “Wash yer Handies” shot crept into existence and why it is to be found in almost every episode of “Get Stuffed”.
When “Get Stuffed” first began, there wasn’t any hand washing. There were just people, who were mostly close friends of the production team, going into their kitchens and getting on with rustling up a cheap recipe and getting filmed at the same time. The problem was that these were normal kitchens - not television cookery studio kitchens - and certainly not kitchens that had been tarted up or super-scrubbed for a visit from a camera crew. And most of these kitchens were minging. The production team had neither the time nor the money to do anything other than show up and start filming. The dirt was so permanent and embedded that some of the more organic stuff had climbed the evolutionary ladder and acquired its own social life. Some of this dirt had learnt the rudiments of communication, some of it had made modest investments in the stock market, one virile growth owned a skateboard, and one very dirty biological outcrop was thinking about enrolling on an Open University course in History of Art.
As you can imagine, the “Get Stuffed” dirt was now in danger of shooting to television stardom. Word got to us that journalists were beginning to notice. Any girlie dirt with XX chromosomes would soon be getting featured on the inside pages of the tabloid press. (Determining the gender of the dirt in your kitchen is not easy).
This went on for about 12 episodes before ITV rang up the “Get Stuffed” production office to give us a good and proper bollocking. A face-to-face bollocking was demanded which meant that we were summoned to London - over 100 miles away.
By very good luck, we were all too busy to go (because we were all crapping ourselves, trying to get the next GS episodes made in time for transmission). But somebody had to go and the only expendable members of the “Get Stuffed” team were the Mystery Chefs (see the FAQ bit of this site if you don’t know who the “Mystery Chefs” are; or go and watch the sodding show)!
After a few heavy days of preparation, the Mystery Chefs, in plain clothes, were duly despatched to London to eat humble pie and to forcibly explain that there was no way that the show’s production budget would stretch to allowing any of the “Get Stuffed” kitchens to be steam cleaned prior to filming. The Mystery Chefs had been ordered to wriggle, lie, and to be as devious as possible. At all costs, squeaky-clean kitchens on “Get Stuffed” were not a realistic proposition. Such kitchens only existed in the heads ofTV executives and in TV studios. Real life was different.
The Mystery Chefs chugged down to London in the Last-Ditch TV Allegro to meet the Big Cheese who controlled the ITV/business/money end of the series and jiggled the fate of “Get Stuffed” on the end of his little finger. This awesome guy had an office in a South Bank skyscraper. From his window, there was the million quid panorama - from St. Paul's, across the City skyline, to the Houses of Parliament; with the Thames nestling far below. The Man was certainly not a man to be trifled with and he wasn’t a slacker when it came to fulfilling his job description.
>>> snip to 7 years earlier >>>
(Advert in UK Television Trade Press)
Big Cheese. Based Central London.
Job Description: Terrorising underlings.
Qualifications: Capt. of rugby 1st. Fifteen, in minor British public school. 2 GCSEs.
Remuneration: £180k p.a. + exes. + pension + share option scheme + steel capped Doc. Martins.
>>> snip back to the Mystery Chefs>>>
The man who, seven years previously had successfully filled this vacancy, was now very very good at his job. He shouted at the Mystery Chefs, and intimidated them, and refused to listen to any half-assed excuses. He told them to find a solution to the filthy kitchen problem, “PDQ”! He scared both the poor Mystery Chefs senseless & shitless and gave them both very wobbly knees. The Big Cheese was a busy man of action so the meeting was soon over and he told the Chefs to “Scram”.
If you’re wondering how anyone could be so callous, you have to bear in mind that this was in the early 90s and before the “touchy-feely” aspect of the decade kicked in. In the 80s, kicking corporate ass was as popular as fox hunting and you’d get brownie points for making grown men blub. Vaporising idiots like the Mystery Chefs was all in a jolly morning’s work.
When the Mystery Chefs got out of the office, they had six major things to immediately execute in their very small and rather pathetic lives. In reverse order, these six priorities were:
6. Be heroes to the guys & gals back in the Last Ditch TV production office.
5. Find a solution to the “Get Stuffed” filthy kitchen problem.
4. Drive home, over 100 miles away, in a clapped out Austin Allegro,.
3. Sober up.
2. Get drunk.
1. Totally evacuate everything that was in the lower parts of their intestinal tracts.
The Chefs fled the office and legged it about 5 metres into the ITV Executive Rest Room - which was a minimalist triumph of antiseptic interior design and hygiene. (For readers working in the UK TV industry who don’t believe that such luxury exists, we’re half way up the South Bank, TV Centre Tower - where the oiks never go).
When they’d completed their own grim & private evacuations, because they were alone and had now regained their composure, our lads did exactly what we all do when were left alone in the privacy of an “Executive Bog” situation.
1. They began to mock and deride the whole concept of Executive Bogs.
2. They began to scorn those who use them - people so anally retentive that they cannot “go” with the rest of humanity. Blah, Blah. Ha, Ha.
3. They began to have a good dekko to see if there was anything worth nicking.
But, a minimalist environment rarely offers good opportunities for petty larceny. The only interesting and unusual thing in the room was a big notice on the wall, with red letters on a white background, which read, “Now Wash Your Hands”. Unfortunately this notice was screwed down.
Yo Bonza! And, oh my ... you really have to admire The Mystery Chefs - when the chips are down, they certainly know how to pull off some cunning stunts ...
... because, no other TV cookery show was actually telling people to be hygienic. By regularly repeating a “Wash yer Handies” message, in every single episode, not only would “Get Stuffed” be the squeakiest & cleanest TV show on the box but it would also positively promote personal hygiene. What’s more, every time the Big Cheese took a leak, the message would be re-inforced with the person who was most crucial to the show’s survival. Sweet Jesus, the Mystery Chefs would be hailed as geniuses.
And that’s it. Since then, the rest of the Last Ditch TV production team have done some proper research and realised that it is a very good idea to wash your handies whenever you prepare food.
We certainly don’t want to eat anything that anyone’s cooked, post-pee (or post-poo) if they haven’t washed their handies.
We’ve all been violently ill a few times and, looking back, it seems very probable that kitchen hygiene was the cause.
We don’t ever want to make anyone else that ill through our own negligence.
Sorry if the end of this story seems to have taken a bit of a Radio Four-y, moralising tone but we recently heard that the average bog seat harboured fewer germs than the average kitchen chopping board. Urgh! Scary.
So, thanks to the Mystery Chefs, all “Get Stuffed” viewers know to wash their handies and disinfect those bits of their kitchens where meat and fish are chopped up. And always keep food properly covered if it’s stored in the fridge.
Every single day, when you are not ill through food poisoning or kitchen hygiene - you can bless the Mystery Chefs for your own wonderful good health.
A couple of years ago, a Mrs. Cunnington from Norfolk sent the Mystery Chefs this beautiful poem that she had written in hospital.
MY CLEAN HANDS.
Thank you Mystery Chefs
For your hand washing advice,
I wash them all the time now,
I don’t have to think twice.
My hands they are the cleanest
The cleanest in the land
I never get food poisoning
My life is truly grand.
I used to have a problem
Cos my hygiene was pathetic
But nowadays, I’m never ill
I’m totally athletic.
If I ran a Marathon
And had to pee halfway
I’d be sure to wash my handies
Whatever people’d say
They laugh at me, and mock me
But my handies ... they are clean
They’re the cleanest handies in the land
And I should be THE QUEEN!
So please-please “Wash yer Handies”
(And I really know you will)
At first you’ll find it difficult
But it gives me such a thrill
I have my hands washed for me now
When they take off my straitjacket
So if hygiene’s that important ...
THEN EVERYONE CAN CRACK IT!
(Mrs. Cunnington’s beautiful poem continues for another 276 verses, all in block capitals, and we wish her a full and speedy recovery).
© Last Ditch Television MMXIII