Rainbow episode review: Lemon and McCartney

Have you ever tried to do anything, ever? I have, which is why I sympathise with poor crap Zippy in this episode.

Let’s begin.

There’s a strange noise in the Rainbow house. Bungle, George and Geoffrey all wonder what it could be. It doesn’t occur to any of them that it could be Zippy. Even though it sounds like Zippy and is Zippy. Instead, Geoffrey thinks the noise might be coming from the sky they can somehow see from the middle of their living room:


It’s nice to see that Geoffrey’s wearing the opening credits from Saved By The Bell again.

They have to wait for Zippy to appear and solve the mystery of the noise.

“Zippy, why are you making noises like you’re being bummed?” asks Geoffrey.

“That is not me being bummed,” replies Zippy. “That is the song I am writing for the talent contest.”

i am writing a song

The others are all suitably impressed, apart from Bungle, who needs Geoffrey to tell him what a talent contest is. Then they start trying to hijack his song, offering to help with it. George offers to help by tapping on the table with a pencil. Geoffrey and Bungle offer to help with the words, by actually adding some.

Zippy rebuffs their kind offers, which means they all get in a strop with him and leave the room. Zippy gets back to his song:

sheet music

Is anyone else quite surprised that Zippy can write music? I mean, considering he can’t write words in most episodes and has to get Geoffrey to do it?

Also, his pencil is tied to the table with string. I think this is so Dawn can’t come round and steal it with her big hairy fingers.

pen 1

Anyway, Zippy’s song isn’t coming on too well. Here are his lyrics so far:

“If you have a friend,
who is friendly and kind,
don’t ever lose him…
or else…”

Zippy decides he might need some help after all, even if it is from Geoffrey, George, and a syphilitic bear. Unfortunately, the others are all too busy to help him now. Geoffrey is reading, and George is busy doing something or other.

Bungle, meanwhile, is busy doing this:

reading 2

For fuck’s sake Bungle get some glasses – I know they make glasses for men in bear suits, because you own a pair of sunglasses.


The point is they’re all too busy to help Zippy now. Zippy has fallen into a pit of despair and regret. It’s a bit like when you start writing a blog post about Rainbow, and you want to give up because it’s crap because you’re writing it, but you can’t give up because you’ve been doing it for half an hour already and you won’t get that half an hour back.

writing a blog post

Zippy’s lyrics version 2:

“Friends come in all sizes,
some are big and some are small,
the ones that are big
are much bigger than the ones who are small…”

I don’t think Michael Bolton of Michael Bolton fame has anything to worry about.

Never mind, let’s move onto the music instead. Zippy tries out different sounds for the enjoyment of his friends.

trying out song

They don’t understand his genius, so he goes into the kitchen, where Geoffrey threatens him with a pan.


Geoffrey, shitlord that he is, suggests writing a song called “Quiet friends are lovely people”. Unfortunately, Zippy’s interpretation of these lyrics causes Geoffrey to threaten him with a pan and his fist.

pan 2

Zippy is now shunned and banished to the garden by his jealous div friends.

Zippy’s lyrics version 3:

“Friends are what you have when you’re a nice person!
Friends are nice people really even if they’re jealous!”

There doesn’t seem to really be a tune, but I’m imagining it being set to the tune of “Aquarius”, and I suggest you do the same.

Sadly, their intolerant bastard of a neighbour decides to throw one of his boots at Zippy. That’ll learn him. Since their neighbour is a deep-voiced cockney man, I’m assuming it’s not Dawn, unless she’s having a really bad day. Also, I don’t think Dawn would throw her boots at Zippy.




We cut to about three weeks later, judging by the state of Zippy. Zippy has been solidly working on his song all this time, and hasn’t had time to do anything like eat, sleep, or not mysteriously get covered in soil. The others have been too busy just standing there to notice this.


Poor Zippy.

“Doesn’t anyone know how hard it is to be clever?”

Sorry no, not a clue.

Zippy fucks off, and the others stand there worrying about him. My ‘three weeks’ theory is confirmed when they all start talking about Zippy not washing or getting enough sleep. If that’s the case, it’s nice of Geoffrey to wear the same shirt again. He must know I like that shirt.

Also, Geoffrey’s just remembered those drunk emails he sent to Dawn.


Zippy clearly needs some help with his song, but he won’t ask for it, probably because the only people available to ask are Geoffrey, George and Bungle.

God damn it, if only they knew some singers who lived in their kitchen.

Sadly they don’t because Rod, Jane and Freddy have now moved out of the kitchen, and into their own show. However, they do know Christopher, which means they won’t have to summon Dawn and her Bossa Nova button.

With a sense of relief that he won’t have to face Dawn after those emails, Geoffrey phones Christopher to tell him about Zippy’s shit song.



What’s the betting that Christopher comes up with a song in about 10 seconds, complete with backing track and reverb.

“Hey Zippy, I know your song’s probably brilliant and everything, but will you allow me to do something on it just so I can feel wanted for a bit?”

Well played Christopher.


Unfortunately, Bungle has to go and ruin it by wading in and going “Yes! And then we can all sing it with you!”

Fuck off Bungle, stop trying to hijack the song. Zippy doesn’t want your fat voice drowning him out and making sure he gets last place at this talent contest.

Zippy and Christopher go off for 10 seconds, and come back with a fully written song, complete with music and reverb. I love it when I’m right. If only ‘being able to predict the plot of Rainbow’ were a marketable skill.

I know you’re all dying to hear the finished song, so here it is:

And here we leave the Rainbow gang for another day. Hopefully Zippy tricks Bungle into thinking you can only take part in this talent contest if you wax your nipples beforehand.

The moral of the story: If you have to do anything ever, get someone else to do it and then take the credit for it.

6 thoughts on “Rainbow episode review: Lemon and McCartney

  1. Before I left work today I told my colleague “I hate the name Geoffrey”. Then I thought about Geoffrey Rainbow. Then I read this. Life is full of synchronicity.

    Zippy’s expression at the pan AND fist makes me cry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been trawling through a selection of random ‘Rainbows’ the last few months. Late at night. To go with my Pot Noodle, my hatred of all mankind, and my contemplation of suicide. But in short, this is possibly my all-time favourite episode of Rainbow. Well, out of the random mix I’ve seen. There’s no doubt some forgotten classic out there somewhere that I haven’t seen since childhood, where Zippy, through a lengthy and meticulously planned anonymous hate campaign, instigates a bare-knuckle fight in the garden between George and Bungle, where George finally goes apeshit, mauls Bungle half to death, everyone cheers and celebrates, and Jane comes round in a bikini with refreshments as everyone parties. But until the day I find that elusive episode, this is a strong contender as my favouritest ever, even though it doesn’t feature Rod, Jane and Freddie. (Only the final episode produced, involving a mishap with some Corn Flakes, which I remember from it’s original broadcast, serves as a close competitor).

    Because it’s so darned funny. Not just in that “It’s a kid’s show without hint or irony” / “George is a little bit gay” / “Bungle is a lot gay” / “Geoffrey just drew something that looks like a willy” sort of way. No, it’s genuinely funny. It’s from pretty late on in Rainbow’s run, when things were very much comedy based with a few ‘morals’ and ‘how to do things’ mixed in. Rainbow did have a few era’s of different styles. Much of the ’70s era was more straightforward educational based plotwise, with the odd funny line from Zippy or the odd “I’m a tosspot” line from Bungle; the early 80s had several different stages of more exploratory stuff (Bungle was still a tosspot), but by the tail-end of the ’80s/early ’90s, it was pretty much The Zippy Show laugh-fest, featuring Bungle the tosspot. Occasionally they’d edge back towards a more straightforward “learning” episode… which was generally a bit shit when you tuned in for a laugh riot from the zip-mouthed comedy genius. (Hey Jenny, you’ve done an article breaking down of the different versions of Bungle, maybe you could do an article on the different ‘phases’ of Rainbow one day when you’re bored, Pot Noodle in hand, hating mankind and wondering what the point of it all is. …Cos everyone is like me, right?!)

    Anyway, suffice to say the Zipster is at his most classic-est here. From his typical boasting how good he is at writing songs (only for it to emerge he’s actually pretty shit), to the saucepan-banging shenanigans in the kitchen. Even singing outside in the garden and getting a boot thrown at him has a comedy pathos that the greats such as Chaplin, Milligan, Cleese and Timmy Mallet combined could only dream of.

    Christopher “weird name but nice guy and wrote a load of stuff including this episode” Lillicrap turns up later on to help Zippy actually get his musical work of art finished and they all have a sing-song. The “Friends” song they sing, Iain Lee sometimes used to play on his old LBC show after a caller phoned in and played a bit down the phone one day, so it seems I’m not the only one who loves this comedy classic episode. Why the Rainbow gang never released this catchy little ditty as a single we’ll never know, definite number-one-in-the-charts material, far better than those shit Rainbow theme rave remixes that were churned out for a while in the ’90s. “Zippy and Co. sing ‘Friends’ – Featuring Christopher Lillicrap and Bungle the tosspot”.


    1. That’s a good, idea, I’d never really noticed that about the show – also, if you’re looking for a modern classic, watch the one where Geoffrey finally loses his shit, goes out and comes back in as his own evil uncle (called ‘Misbehaving’) 😀



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