In 1980 Rita Webb appeared in six episodes of the new ITV children's programme "Whizzkids Guide" starring alongside Rita were Sheila White, Kenneth Williams and her old pal Arthur Mullard. They all appeared in the show as school children (Rita was 76) using there own first name, they also appeared in other sketches as teachers (and for Rita dinner lady Mrs Eaten) the show also featured Patrick Newell as the form master, Craig Stokes as the brains in the library, Acrobats by The Dingbats, music by The Brownsville Banned and fun animation design by Alan Scragg (animator Paul Stone). The show was based on the Whizzkids Guide books by Peter Eldin, who had this to say about Rita Webb in a letter to the stage newspaper (9th April 1998) 'In 1980 I worked with Rita on the childrens comedy Whizzkids Guide, which I conceived and wrote. After every scene in which she appeared Rita would come straight up to me for approval and ask "Was that alright darlin'?" She insisted on taking one of my childrens books with her for one scene, so it would be seen on screen, a lovely lady'.On the subject of playing the part of a school girl Rita told reporters "I just remembered my own school days. I filled inkpots with water, wrote naughty words on the blackboard and generally outraged my teacher." As you can see the cast were featured in sketch form on the cover of the junior TV Times Look-in comic (with a double page spread inside) but it was Arthur Mullard and Sheila White who were photgraphed by Paul Stokes for the cover of TV Times the week of its premier (April Fools Day 1981 at 4.20pm it was a Southern production) Kenneth Williams wrote several comments about the actors and working on the show in his diary (published in an edited form in 1993) he remarked about rehersals for 24th June 1980, saying"Arthur Mullard is the most dilligent (as far as lines are concerned) sheila White gets it all wrong and giggles tiresomely, Rita Webb does the same & says 'Oh I fucked that up!' and on 11th July he remarked A day of appalling tedium. At one point, an exasperated Rita Webb complained 'I am acting you know!' & I replied 'You could have fooled me!' whereupon she walked out in a tantrum! Arthur Mullard said 'She's wild 'cos she's found out that her part was first offered to Hattie Jacques yer see!' & Sheila White asked him 'Who told her that?' & he said 'I did.'
***PLEASE NOTE THIS PAGE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND WILL BE UPDATED WHEN I HAVE TIME****
Rita's first scene shown in episode one of Whizzkids Guide is set in the classroom, as the scene begins we see the form master sitting at his desk, calling out the names of his pupils (none of which are present) one by one there after they roll in, Arthur Mullard is first, then Rita rolls in, form Master asks, "Rita, why are you late?" Rita standing next to his desk with holding her satchell, her hair tied in bunches (one red one yellow) speaking nervously she replies "My bus was late sir" Form Master says abruptly "well if your bus is late tomorrow, you must take an earlier one." Rita nods then walks away from his desk. Next kenneth and Sheila arrive arm in arm and more banter is heard with the Form Master, next we see a gag where Kenneth unravels a bull of string that entangles the Form Master and everyone laughs. (actually part of the scene is silent where there laughter should be, replaced by a sound effect for the string, at the end of the scene we eventually here them laughing)
S2- Peanut Rita, Sheila and Kenneth are sitting round a table when Arthur comes in saying "Now then Whizzkids i'm gonna show you something you've never seen before" Rita asks "What?" then Arthur proceeds to crack open a peanut saying they have never seen it before, then he says and you will never see it again as he pops it into his mouth.
S3-Classroom-Arithmatic lesson, Rita is seen at her desk as Sheila and Arthur give cheeky answers to the Form Master
S4-Canteen (Green background) -Sheila asks Rita (As Mrs Eaten) "I bet you have a very clean kitchen Mrs Eaten?" Mrs Eaten (behind counter, dressed in apron and hat) says in a posh voice "Yes I do, but how did you know?" Sheila replies "Everything tastes of soap" she puts her hand through her hair and walks off leaving Mrs Eaten purturbed
S5-How to cheat at lines, Rita is just in the background as Arthur and Kenneth show how to cheat and not cheat at doing lines)
S6-This scene shows Arthur and Rita behind cartoon bodies with a hole for their heads to fit through (Rita's head is on the headmaster with a cane, cloak and hat, while Arthur has the boy bending over ready for a whacking), Rita - "I Say I Say I Say, how many cakes can a boy eat on an empty stomach" Arthur-"Oh quiet a lot I should imagine" Rita "No only one because after the first one his stomach is no longer empty."
S7-Clasrrom Eyepatch gag, Rita is seen at her desk as Kenneth trys to cheat at exams by wearing eye patches
S8-Canteen (Orange background) Sheila is standing next to Rita (as Mrs Eaten) holding out her plate as Mrs Eaten scoops up food she says "I bet your dumplings were very popular in the middle ages Mrs Eaten?" Mrs Eaten, offended replies "How dare you girl, i'm not that old! What makes you say that?" Sheila saucily replies "well they'd make jolly good cannon balls" at this point Mrs Eaten plonks two large dumplings onto Sheila's plate, the second dumpling goes straight through the plate and creates a hole in the floor, as Sheila looks down and laughs Mrs Eaten looks astonished straight into camera (a sound effect is used at the end of this scene)
S9 - Corridor Scene-Arthur with hands in pocket is standing next to Rita, green bunches in her hair, chewing a piece of liquourice. Arthur says "I bet I can make you say Green" Rita replies all determined "iIbet you can't" Arthur continues "Alright, what's the colours of the Ar??" Rita, still chewing on her liquourice replies "Red and White", Arthur continues, "Alright, what's the colours of the Union Jack?" Rita states slowely, but adamantly "Red, White and blue" Arthur cheekly says "There you are I told you I could make you say blue!" Rita gets excited and angry, shouting back at him "You never, you said you'll make me say green!" Arthur laughs "and you just have" as Rita pulls a face of fury.
S10 Home work, Rita really only appears in the background in this sketch as Arthur, Sheila and Kenneth get to banter with the school master about there homework.
S11. A very short scene with Arthur, Kenneth and Rita loitering in the corridor as Sheila asks for a donation.
WHIZZKIDS GUIDE SONG
Whizzkids are the winners
Whizzkids is our name
We trampled on our Teachers
Until they cry with pain
We wore them out and Poke
A finger in there eye
W hizzkids are the winners
We never have to try
Whizzkids are the leaders
Whizzkids are the tops
We never are the losers
We never ever flop
We bend the rules a little
We always win the game
W hizzkids are the winners
Winning is our game