Bootsie and Snudge in Civvy-street

The Army Game’s civilian spin-off

A new Granada comedy series Bootsie and Snudge begins next Friday. It features those two characters from The Army Game — Sergeant-Major Claude Snudge, played by Bill Fraser, and Bootsie, played by Alfie Bass. But they have left the Army. TV TIMES writers Frank Duesbury and Charles Bayne met them in Civvy-street

TVTimes masthead
From the TVTimes for week commencing 18 September 1960

WE were strolling down King’s-road in London’s Chelsea when we noted something odd. Not the sort of normal odd thing you would expect to see about Chelsea, which is famous for its oddities.

It was the sight of Sergeant-Major Claude Snudge and his old enemy Bootsie in civvies.

Snudge was leading by about 20 yards, his beady eyes squinting in one of those rare bursts of late summer sunshine. He was immaculate in a business suit, white shirt, nattily knotted tie, and a well-brushed Homburg.

A man in a sandwich board reading "VOTE FOR BOOTSIE"
Bootsie opens his campaign to become an MP

Bootsie was trailing behind, scowling. He was clad in a sweater, trousers and his best plimsolls, which have fewer holes in them than his second-best pair.

“Mr Snudge,” we ventured, “why are you not in uniform?”

“Are you addressing me, sirs?” he snapped, his thumbs, we noted, stiffly pointing down the seams of his immaculate pin-stripe trousers.

We said we were, and perhaps he would like to come and have a drink. And Bootsie, too. “Not wiv him, never,” said Bootsie, who had drawn up beside us.

“I will have a drink with you gentlemen in the saloon bar of this ’ere public house,” said Snudge.

“And I’ll be in the private bar,” said Bootsie testily, hobbling away.

We asked Snudge what he would like to drink. “Bearing in mind me new life I think I’d like a gin and mixed,” he said with an evil smile, “because I’m going to be mixing it.”

He smoothed his waistcoat, deftly snapped a cherry stick between his thumb and forefinger and said: “I am going to be a company director, but I have not decided which company shall have the benefit of my experience. I am in considerable demand.”

We said his experience with the men of Hut 29 in The Army Game should help.

“Help,” spluttered Snudge. “It is invaluable. If there was any of them takeover bids knocking around, Snudge would know. Anything dodgy going off and Snudge would sort that little lot out. Not no how they won’t make a ‘nana’ out of me.

“Then there’s me upbringing, me stature. There’s them that’s got it and them that ain’t. Like speaking proper.” Snudge paused to sip his drink. “I shall have a car, chauffeur-driven of course, two secretaries, and occasional trips abroad,” he said. “No more of that Bootsie and his pals for Snudge. I am now going to live the life of a gentleman, manipulatin’ millions of pounds, thousands of men, machines, exports, imports.

“Power is what I’m trained to, and power is what I am going to be. If I can handle Hut 29 I can handle anything.”

A man in a suit and a homburg hat
Now it’s pin-stripes for Snudge

We left Snudge planning his company reports to join Bootsie in the private bar. He was sitting on one stool with his aching feet resting on the rung of another.

“Am I glad to see the back of him,” said Bootsie, nodding towards Snudge several yards away. “It’s worth being in the Army just to be able to say goodbye – to horrors like Snudge.”

Well, we said, what are you going to do, Bootsie? “Me,” he cried, his face lighting up. “I’m just going to do good for everyone. I’m going to be a politician.”

We said we would have a drink while he explained. “Yes,” said Bootsie. “I’ve seen so much unhappiness in the world brought about by that rotten old Snudge that all I want to do is make people happy. Especially them with bad feet.”

He looked serious and went on: “When you have suffered as much as I have, with feet and Snudge, and all the time spent in the medical room of any Army camp, you get to understand the needs of people.

“That is why I have such compassion. I feel for the underdog. I’ll fight his case, because there are Snudges throughout the land.

“I can see myself now, making my maiden speech in the Commons. The deathly hush as the Members listen to my argument, one that would make Flogger Hoskins proud to call me his mate.

“‘Oh, Bootsie, Bootsie!’ they’ll shout when I sit down. I can see it all now … the newspaper headlines … the interviews … my Private Member’s Bill for free plimsolls for bad feet sufferers … Can’t you see it all, eh?”

We said we could. More or less.

Bootsie wriggled on his stool and muttered: “But I never want to do anything for Snudge. Except to make him unhappy. If I ever meet him again in Civvy-street, I’ll have him. I’ll have him.”

How, we ventured, was Bootsie going to get elected to Parliament? He gave us a conspiratorial wink. “It’s being fixed,” he said. “I’m already at the top of the top ten at Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park. The crowds love me. I just can’t help being popular.”

With that, he finished his drink, slipped from his seat and limped through the door into the bustling street. Ahead of him was Snudge, still 20 yards away …

They were heading for the Labour Exchange. A company director, a Member of Parliament? That is what they said. We shall have to wait and see.

A man in ragged clothes and a man in a suit
Bootsie and Snudge meet again – but they’re still enemies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *