My Life In Books: The Dribblesome Teapots

If you were a kid in Britain in the 1970s, you will probably remember ‘Jackanory’. If you don’t fall into this category, then I will explain that ‘Jackanory’ was a kids’ TV programme, where a famous person would read a children’s book aloud. It was effectively being read a story by a famous person. Each episode was only about ten minutes long – if you wanted to find out how the book ended, you had to keep watching the show for a week or so.

‘Jackanory’ was not, admittedly, my favourite part of the BBC children’s programming (in those days we only got about half an hour, scheduled to keep the kids quiet while Mum was making dinner). Whether or not I would remain interested in the book being read depended not just on the book, but also on the person reading it. The most distinct memory I have of ‘Jackanory’ was of Kenneth Williams reading THE DRIBBLESOME TEAPOTS, a book of extremely silly short stories.

The title story was about a king and queen in a faraway land who were so fond of their cups of tea, that when the favourite royal teapot starts dribbling, a declaration is made that promises half the kingdom to anyone who can produce a teapot that doesn’t dribble. When the rashness of this promise is pointed out, a magical citizen of the kingdom is brought in to cast a spell ensuring every teapot in the land will dribble – hence saving the kingdom.

I don’t remember exactly what happened with this story – I think perhaps the favourite tea pot was fixed, and everyone lived happily ever after with dribble-free tea breaks. What I do remember is ‘Carry On’ veteran Kenneth Williams talking about the tea pots that ‘dribbled all over the place’ in the nasal tones – complete with the rolling of the ‘r’s – that he was so famous for. He was the ideal choice to read these stories. If there’s an audio version of his reading of the book around anywhere, I would recommend that over the book itself.


1 comment so far

  1. Diane Dooley on

    Oh, Kenneth Williams had THE most amazing voice. I’d definitely listen to something read by him.

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