Sunday, 13 October 2013

Not The Nine O'clock News - Baby On The Bus Sketch

There is a Not The Nine O'clock News sketch which features a woman who comes home laden with gift-wrapped presents as she greets her husband (Rowan Atkinson) who looks at her quizzically because her left breast is hanging out of her blouse and she doesn't seem to realise.  She looks down and exclaims with alarm that she has left the baby on the bus and rushes back out of the front door.  The woman is not Pamela Stephenson who usually played the female roles and the identity of this actress is unknown.

Referring to an episode guide site informs me that this "Baby on the Bus" sketch appeared in series 1, episode 5 which was broadcast on 13/11/1979.  Since she speaks it seems possible she might have been credited.  However no reference sources checked show any additional cast for that episode.

Regular visitors to the main site might have noticed the name "Darkman" appearing as a contributor.  From the early 1970s to early 1980s Darkman kept written notes on female nudity seen on TV including the programme name, actress name and the broadcast date.  He shared his notes with me and while they didn't actually describe the scenes beyond the type of nudity seen (e.g. "topless") they have proved an invaluable resource with his identifications and observations, made live without the benefit of being able to re-watch a video recording, nearly always proving correct whenever one of the programmes he listed becomes available for viewing by some means.  Most of his information appears on the site already when a named actress's involvement in a stated programme can be confirmed.  But a few have been omitted where that has not proved possible.

One of these unused entries was one he made for Not The Nine O'clock News, in which his notes state that an actress called Robina Gange was seen topless in an episode shown on 13-Nov-79.

This happens to match the date of the episode featuring the "Baby On The Bus" sketch.  Her name must therefore have appeared on the end credits.  Of course, without seeing the full original episode, it is not possible to be 100% certain whether or not there were any other sketches featuring a miscellaneous woman that might have alternatively accounted for that credit, or whether the baby on the bus woman was the only possible additional female performer it could have been.

Unfortunately that's where the trail to adding a site entry ends because no credits reference sources checked have any mention of a Robina Gange ever working on anything meaning her likeness cannot be compared to another appearance in order to see if it's her.  So either this Not The Nine O'clock episode was the only thing she ever did, or it was a pseudonym that was not used again.

From "Baby on the Bus" sketch

See the post Not The Nine O'Clock News - Baby on the Bus - The Verdict for an resolving update about this sketch.


  1. If it's any use, the BBC Motion Gallery entry for this episode lists the name Robina GAUGE rather than Gange, and a search on that name brings up two further entries, both Are You Being Served? episodes: 'Mrs Slocombe, Senior Person', and 'The Hero', coincidentally both broadcast in the same week as the Not the Nine O'Clock News episode. She presumably had non-speaking roles as the name does not appear in the closing credits for either episode.

    1. Thanks very much. with that name correction, and info on other appearances, that should give me a sporting chance of confirming or disproving her as being the woman in the sketch.

  2. On some australian airings I've seen if series 1, Robina Guage IS on the end credits on the 5th part of the series, not necessarily the 5th episode. She is also featured topless at the end of the episodes posing for Rowan in a sketch that degrades bananas

    1. Thanks for your info, that last bit is not something I've ever heard about before.