Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee

Louise Gold starred as one of the team of four performers, Recorded 13 August to 17 September  1984, Broadcast on BBC 2 on Monday 29 October, 5, 12, 19 & 29 November & 3 December 1984 (There were 6 episodes, each of half an hour). A half hour Compilation Episode was broadcast on 25 March 1985 (using clips from the series)

Some forty years after her mother flew the flag for women in Revue (at Unity Theatre), Louise proves that she is very much her mother’s daughter, only in her case flying the flag for women in Television Comedy.


The Radio Times (highlighted the first episode of the programme by interviewing Louise Gold, whom they referred to as “TV’s latest funny woman”. However, in the interview Louise herself comes across as very much against that sort of sexist attitude, as she says of female comedy performers:

 “Because we are so few we are inevitably compared with each other, but no one ever said, “We can’t have Lenny Henry because we’re already got Les Dawson.”” Louise Gold to Jane McCarthy, THE RADIO TIMES, p13, 27 October - 2 November 1984

She goes on to explain that problem lies in it not being considered sexy for woman to be funny, and concludes with her own wish

 “No one expected Morecambe and Wise to be sexy - they’re universally loved and that’s what I want to be. I would like to be thought sexy, pretty, and funny.Louise Gold to Jane McCarthy, THE RADIO TIMES, p13, 27 October - 2 November 1984

Although the interview covers Louise’s full range of comedy work, include her work as both a voice-artiste and puppeteer on both The Muppet Show and Spitting Image (the interview does actually state that ‘she is an accomplished puppeteer’), Louise is first and foremost an actress, (and when it comes to that craft she comes across as down right sensible) as such she says she admires Beryl Reid.

 “She managed to go from stand-up comedy to fine acting. That’s what I would like to be - a good actress. I’m prepared to take risks because sometimes you have to fail to be brilliant” Louise Gold to Jane McCarthy, THE RADIO TIMES, p13, 27 October - 2 November 1984



Main Cast

Robbie Coltrane

John Sessions

Ron Bain

Louise Gold


Additional (Non-Main) Cast included

Myra McFyden

Elaine C Smith


Production Team

 Songs - David McNiven

Design - Campbell Gordon

Producer & Director - Colin Gilbert

Production Company - BBC Scotland

Writers - Bob Black, Niall Clark, Robbie Coltrane, Philip Differ, Colin Gilbert (not credited as such), Donnie Kerr, Terry Kyan, Neil MacVicar, Ian Pattison, Laurie Rowley, Paul Smith, and, John Sessions.

Film Editor - John MacDonnell


According to the Radio Times interview, on the programme Louise Gold got to play the full range of female characters, ranging from: Play School Presenters and Shirley Bassey style singers, to the typical nurses and secretaries.

The Radio Times also highlighted the last episode of the series, on 3 December 1984, by including on that days viewing schedule and photograph from the show (depicting Louise Gold, Robbie Coltrane, and, Ron Baines, in unusual garb.

The series was a successor to the TV show A Kick Up The Eighties, and employed many of that shows personnel.

Extracts from the show, along with those from A Kick Up The Eighties, and, Naked Video were included in a television comedy compilation programme in 1998, called A Kick Up The Archive.

Myra McFyden went on to play the third Dynamo role of Rosie in Mamma Mia Cast 4.

Like Louise Gold, John Sessions did voices on Spitting Image, and can be heard on the album Spit In Your Ear.

Louise Gold, and, Elaine C. Smith went on to appear in an episode of City Lights, directed by Ron Bain, this was also written by Bob Black and produced by Colin Gilbert for BBC Scotland, but also shown on BBC2.

Rachel And The Roarettes, Rita Rudner, Alexei Sayle’s Merry-Go-Round, A Week In The West End, and, Transmission: Impossible With Ed And Oucho were also broadcast on BBC 2, as was the first terrestrial broadcast of The Alan Clark Diaries.

Robbie Coltrane went on to appear in Alice In Wonderland, for which Louise Gold puppeteered.

As a television comedy actress Louise Gold has gone on to appear in an episode of Gina’s Laughing Gear.

It is not known whether the Paul Smith listed among the writers on this programme, could possibly be the same Paul Smith who became a notable BBC TV producer (with Points of View and various Children’s programmes to his credit in the late 1980s and well into the 1990s.). It is also not clear whether he could be the same Paul Smith who appeared on ITV’s 50 Greatest Shows (as the producer of It’ll Be Alright On The Night)

Elaine C. Smith went on to take part in Shopping With The Stars 2009.


Critics Comments



Links about Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee

Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee, BBC Comedy:

Petition To Get Laugh I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee Released On DVD:

A Kick Up The Eighties, BBC Comedy:

BFI Database’s page for the programme:

 The Encyclopaedia Of Fantastic Film And Television’s page for the show:

Internet Movie Database’s page for the show:

Naked Radio - a Page about this Scottish Radio programme, which claims to have been the forunner to many of BBC Scotland’s notable TV comedy shows:

BBC Programme Catalogue Pages for the series (unfortunately the ‘main’ page does not appear to be working): , , , , , , and,


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