T. Bag's Christmas Ding-Dong

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UK Air Date26/12/1990, 9.50am
Repeat ScreeningN/A
Copyright Year1990
VTR Date08/08/1990 & 09/08/1990
Fremantle Archive Ref50932
Consecutive Episode Number63
IMDB LinkEpisode page

T. Bag (Tabatha Bag)Georgina Hale
Vanity BagGlenda Jackson
T-Shirt/ThomasJohn Hasler
Count Gustav PumpernickelPeter Woodthorpe
Archduke FritzJames Saxon
Maria Von MortheimMegan Kelly

Original Music ByTerry Trower
ChoreographerPamela Young
Make UpCarol Cooper
CostumeRaymond Childe
Floor ManagerFrancesca Boulter
Production AssistantGill Thomas
CamerasAlbert Almond
SoundBrian Moray
Lighting DirectorAllen Harradine
DesignerJohn Plant
Written ByLee Pressman
Grant Cathro
ProducerCharles Warren
DirectorGlyn Edwards

T-Shirt decides to treat T-Bag to a night at the Christmas opera, but T-Bag is not interested but when she finds out that her cousin Vanity Bag has the starring role, T-Bag auditions and ousts Vanity Bag with her cunning plan of T-Shirt writing a new opera, but both T-Bag and Vanity Bag want to star in the opera so what will T-Shirt do?
The High-T Website synopsis
T-Bag finds herself out in the cold when her cousin Vanity Bag decides she wants to be the star of the new opera.
TV Times listing
A Christmassy show starring the famous, and usually serious, actress Glenda Jackson. She plays Vanity Bag!
Lookin listing
The wicked witch, T-Bag (Georgina Hale), comes across her cousin and arch rival Vanity Bag (Glenda Jackson) in this festive extravaganza set in a Viennese Opera House.
Unknown newspaper listing

If you would like to contribute your favourite/funniest etc quotes from this episode please contact me.

Mein opera

Pumpernickel: Yarrrghhh!
T-Shirt: Steady.
Pumpernickel: What is? Uh?
T-Shirt: Sorry.
Pumpernickel: Where, where, where in blazes did you spring from eh?
T-Shirt: Well I was...
Pumpernickel: Get out of here. Leave mein theatre this instant, do you hear?
T-Shirt: I was only...
Pumpernickel: Go, go, go again. Scram.
T-Shirt: But you see I.
Pumpernickel: But me no buts boy. Archduke Fritz of Flugelfurt will be here at any minute. So go, vamoose, sling your hook, skidaddle. (Pumpernickel escorts T-Shirt out of the theatre into the street outside). Out, out. You want to see mein opera, you buy a ticket like anyone else.
T-Shirt: But I was only...
Pumpernickel: Get out, out.
T-Shirt: Charming. Thanks a lot.

Added: 26/12/2020

You're going to be a star

Pumpernickel: (Knocks on door) Maria. (Knocks again) Maria, my dear.
Maria: Is he here? (he nods) Hurmmm.
Pumpernickel: Calm yourself my dear, you've got nothing to worry yourself about. Arch Duke Fritz will be cock-a-hoop (laughs), he'll adore you.
Maria: Do you think so?
Pumpernickel: I know so (laughs), come, let us rustle up some arpeggios before he arrives, hmm.
Maria: I'm so nervous.
Pumpernickel: Why be nervous? You have the most beautiful voice in the whole of Flugelfurt. You're going to be a star, hmm.
(They walk off and a masked Vanity Bag walks in).
Vanity Bag: Thatís what you think, thereís only one star around here and thatís me-a! (laughs).

Added: 26/12/2020

A night at the opera

T-Shirt: The Enchanted Trombone, I bet T-Bag would like that. Yeah, that'll bring a smile to her face. Your Majesty, your Majesty.
(T-Shirt uses his magic and T-Bag appears in a bathtub).
T-Bag: Do, do, do, do, do, do, do. Ouurrrggghh, what the devil?
T-Shirt: Oops.
T-Bag: Oh I might have known, the boy with no brain.
T-Shirt: Sorry.
T-Bag: Whoops and sorry, sorry and oops, the two most well used words in your vocabulary. Hmm, what did you drag me here for? Uh, it's freezing.
T-Shirt: Fancy a night at the opera.
T-Bag: What?
T-Shirt: The Enchanted Trombone, look, my treat.
T-Bag: Oh you idiot.
(Fanfare as the Arch Duke arrives, Pumpernickel comes out into the street).
Pumpernickel: It's the arch duke, it's the arch duke, all stand for the arch duke. No, not you madam, sit down. Oh welcome, welcome, welcome your highness, welcome to the Royal Flugelfurt Opera House.
Archduke Fritz: I hope for your sake you've got the heating on, it's perishing out here.
(The Arch Duke goes into the opera house).
Pumpernickel: Crying out loud, cover yourself up madam, this isnít Paris you know, oi, oi, oi.
(Pumpernickel mutters as he goes inside).
T-Bag: Don't just stand there looking urhhh gormless, do something, I'm freezing.
T-Shirt: Hang on, I'll get a towel.
T-Bag: Ohhhhh.
(T-Shirt goes into the opera house, closes the door which causes and avalanche of snow, he then pops his head out of the door).
T-Shirt: Oops, sorry.
T-Bag: Ohhhhh.

Added: 04/04/2015

A Christmas treat

T-Shirt: Well that's great isn't it? I just wanted to give you a Christmas treat.
T-Bag: Treat? You want to give me a treat, go and jump on the roof.
T-Shirt: I thought you might enjoy a nice night at the opera.
T-Bag: Opera, you know I can't bear opera. Sounds like balloons being rubbed together.
T-Shirt: Why do I bother?
T-Bag: Oh it beats me. Urrrrhhh. I can't bear it here a minute longer, I'm off.
T-Shirt: Good, well go on then, buzz off. And a mouldy Christmas to you too.
(Vanity Bag is heard singing inside the opera house).
T-Bag: Shut up, listen.
T-Shirt: I thought you said you didn't like...
T-Bag: Shhhhhh. Urrrhhhh, I know that voice, oh it can't be, what's she doing here?
T-Shirt: Who?
T-Bag: Urrhhh, out of my way (Maria walks outside). Urrrhhh, do you mind? (T-Bag marches inside).
T-Shirt: Sorry about that, the day they dished out manners, she was out blowing raspberries at the Vicar (laughs). (Maria cries and runs off). Are you alright? What's wrong?
T-Bag (Off screen): T-Shirt! Come on.

Added: 26/12/2020

Christmas entertainment

Vanity Bag (in song): When I'm feeling weary, sad and all alone. One thing I know will cheer me, a bla-aaaaaa-aaaaaa-aaast, a blast on the old trombone. So I puff and I wheeze, blow the squirrels right out of the trees. All the birds go tweet and they stamp they feet. I'm a sucker for a blow, I'm a sucker for a blow, I'm a sucker for a blow on the old troooo-m-boooooo-oooooo-nnneeee. Trooooooooommm-booooooooooooo-oooooooooo-ooooooooo-nnne.
Archduke Fritz: What a load of old codswallop. Next!
Vanity Bag: There is no 'next'. If I'm not the star of the opera, there is no opera.
Archduke Fritz: Suits me duckie, who needs it anyway? Boring!
Pumpernickel: But sire, we have to have an opera, it's the tradition. We've been doing the Enchanted Trombone in Flugelfurt at Christmas for the last thirty years.
Archduke Fritz: Yes, and I've sat through every boring one of them. Haven't you got any other operas knocking around? Something with a few laughs in it.
Pumpernickel: Ha, ha, ha, laughs? But sire with all respect, this is an opera, not the circus.
Archduke Fritz: More's the pity. How would you feel if I stop funding your operas and gave all my money to the circus, eh?
Vanity Bag: Listen you big lunk, you better stump up the cash for this show or they'll be riots in the streets. Woe betide you if you deny the people their Christmas entertainment. You'll be out on your ear hole dummy.
Archduke Fritz: I will?
Vanity Bag: Indubitably.
Pumpernickel: She's right your Highness. The show must go on.
Vanity Bag: With me as the star.
Archduke Fritz: Oh, alright, alright, do it. I'll give you the money, anything.
Pumpernickel: A thousand thank-yous sire.
Archduke Fritz: And if that screeching hyena is the only singer you can dredge up, I suppose she will just have to do.
Vanity Bag: Did you hear that? He adores me. Come Pumperknickers or whatever your name is, lead me to the star dressing room, Tout de suite. I'll out-twinkle them all to-niii-iightt. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
T-Bag: Ohhhhhh, ohhhhhh. T-Shirt! Curse her, curse her all the way to kingdom come and back again. Star of the opera.
T-Shirt: Who is she anyway?
T-Bag: She's my show-off, stuck-up, swanky cousin, Vanity Bag.
T-Shirt: Vanity Bag. Your cousin?
T-Bag: Yeeeeeeess, twice removed but not removed far enough for my liking. Star of the opera, well we'll see about that.
T-Shirt: I, I, we're in for a Ding-Dong!

Added: 08/12/2012

Dear Cousin

T-Bag: Oh the builders have done a fine job here.
T-Shirt: What builders?
T-Bag: The ones who took down the door and demolished half the wall.
T-Shirt: What did they do that for?
T-Bag: So that my dear cousin, Vanity Bag, could get her big head into the room. Ha ha haÖ
Vanity Bag: Tabatha my dear, congratulations Iíve just heard the good news.
T-Bag: What good news?
Vanity Bag: That they plan to hold the next FA Cup final in your mouth. Well arenít you going to congratulate me Iíve got the lead?
T-Bag: Well put it on and Iíll take you for a walk. Ha ha haÖ You canít sing.
Vanity Bag (into song): Oh yes I caaa-aaaaa-nnn.
T-Bag (into song): No you caaa-aaaaa-nnnnnít.
Vanity Bag: But Iím the star of the opera.
T-Bag: Well weíll soon see about that.

Knock the monograms off your socks

T-Bag (in song): I'm a sucker for a blow, sucker for a blow, sucker for a blow on the old troooooooo-m-boooooo-oooooo-nnneeee.
T-Bag: Admit it, I'm the star of the opera round here, not that puffed up old bag of wind in there.
Archduke Fritz: Madam, you were abysmal.
T-Bag: What!?
Archduke Fritz: No, no, no, no, no, no, not abysmal, more stonking-well chronic.
T-Bag: Oh it's not my fault, it's this music. It's boring, boring, boring old twaddle.
Archduke Fritz: Well, I'll grant you that but it's all we've got. we're stuck with it.
T-Bag: Not necessarily.
Archduke Fritz: What do you mean, Pumpernickel what does she mean?
T-Bag: I mean I can lay my hands on an opera which will knock the monograms off your socks.
Archduke Fritz: Oh yes.
Pumpernickel: Written by whom may we ask?
T-Bag: Written by the one and only, the one and only child genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Shirt.
Pumpernickel: Oh. Who?
Archduke Fritz: Who?

Added: 08/12/2012

Opera's golden wonder boy

T-Bag: Wolfgang Amadeus Shirt.
Pumpernickel: I've never heard of him.
T-Bag: Never, oh you uncultured oaf, but you've heard of him haven't you?
Archduke Fritz: Yes, yes, yes, of course I have. Everybody's heard of...
T-Shirt: Wolfman.
T-Bag: Wolfgang.
T-Shirt: Wolfgang Amadeus Shirt at your service your highness. Why am I doing this?
T-Bag: Oh the toast of Europe's uppercrust, opera's golden wonder boy. Composer of such immortal classics as Tea Cosi fan tutte, need I say more?
Archduke Fritz: No.
T-Bag: Exactly. This boy will give you an opera the likes of which you've never seen. Your ears will be flapping, your toes will be tapping and wait 'til you catch a load of his opus.
Archduke Fritz: Mmm, I'm interested, ok, let's give it a whirl, huh.
T-Bag: What, splendid, Of course, Wolfie insists that I play the leading role, don't you?
T-Shirt: Huh?
T-Bag: Exactly, and how right to. Come my treasured lumpet, let's away and lubricate the old tonsils.

Added: 26/12/2015

The lead in your Opera

T-Shirt: This is nuts.
T-Bag: Oh shut up, shut up, I'm not asking you to do anything difficult just sit there and write me an opera.
T-Shirt: You're bonkers you are.
T-Bag: There. And make it good, especially my part.
T-Shirt: You're as vain as your cousin, worse.
(T-Bag walks off and Vanity Bag walks in).
T-Shirt: Eurrghhh.
Vanity Bag: I heard all that, so you're a composer now, well listen up Mister music man, I want the lead in your opera.
T-Shirt: But T-Bag said...
Vanity Bag: Oh never mind about her, I didn't nobble that other ghastly singer so my hateful cousin could step into her shoes.
T-Shirt: So it was you, was it?
Vanity Bag: Hmmmm.
T-Shirt: You made Maria lose her voice, what a rotten thing to do.
Vanity Bag: Listen up genius Jim, if I don't have the lead in your opera, you will lose something more than your voice, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Added: 08/12/2013

Do penguins fly?

T-Shirt: One fresh bake opera hot of the press.
Pumpernickel: Youíve finished it, oh thank the stars, is it good?
T-Shirt: Is it good, my dear man, do penguins fly?
Pumpernickel: No.
T-Shirt: Oh.
Pumpernickel: It had better be good; the whole future of the royal flugelfurt opera house depends on it.
T-Shirt: Trust me itís a cracker.
Pumpernickel: A Christmas cracker!

Pride goes before a fall

Vanity Bag: You stupid woman.
T-Bag: Oh, Big head.
Vanity Bag: Pea brain.
T-Bag: Oh this is ridiculous, what are we doing here?
Vanity Bag: You're right, it's Christmas, a time of peace and good will. What do you say, we become friends.
T-Bag: Alright.
Vanity Bag: Alright. Remember pride goes before a fall.
T-Bag: How right you are.

Added: 04/04/2012

"This one is Pane-less"
When T-Shirt switches the open/closed sign on the door of the curiosity shop you can clearly see that there is no glass in the windows, as the sign clearly goes through the window arches! This also happens in T. Bag and the Rings of Olympus when he closes the door!

For more mistakes from other episodes, please see the Nitpicker's Guide

  • Glenda Jackson (Vanity Bag) also appeared with Georgina Hale numerous times, once in the film 'The Boyfriend' in 1971, in the TV programme 'Which of these two Ladies is He married to?' in 1967 and on stage in the play 'Summit Conference' in the early 1980's..
  • Glenda Jackson is credited as 'Starring' alongside Georgina Hale in the opening credits.
  • As well as being an actress Glenda Jackson is also a Labour Politician.
  • The name of the character Maria Von Mortheim, is a play-on-words for 'Maria One More Time'.
  • This is the only Christmas special to feature the curiosity shop.
  • T-Shirt's alter-ego of 'Wolfgang Amadeus Shirt' is taken from the eighteenth century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • T-Bag introduces T-Shirt as Wolfgang Amadeus Shirt and mentions his classic opera Tea Cosi fan tutte, this was based on the real Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart opera Cosž fan tutte.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Shirt's opera Tea Cosi fan tutte is a play-on-words for 'Tea Cosy'.
  • Peter Woodthorpe, who played Gustav Pumpernickel, sadly passed away on 12th August 2004, aged 72.
  • James Saxon, who played Archduke Fritz, sadly passed away on 2nd July 2003, aged 49.
  • Out of the guest actors who appear in four episodes James Saxon is the only one to have appeared in a Christmas special.
  • James Saxon appeared in Spatz which was also written by Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro. James Saxon appeared in the episode 'Takeover' (#2.13, 04/04/1991) as Roland Blimpy.
  • James Saxon appeared in Mike & Angelo which was also written by Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro. James Saxon appeared in the episode 'The Emperor's New Clothes' (#12.8, 22/02/2000) as Emperor of Ptarg.
  • Megan Kelly appeared in Spatz which was also written by Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro. Megan Kelly appeared in the episode 'From Russia With Love' (#2.12, 28/03/1991) as a Woman.
  • This is the first episode not to feature the 'Summer With Marty' theme tune.

  • Major Happy's music box from T-Bag Bounces Back can be seen in the curiosity shop. When Thomas peers into the theatre the music box is on the table behind him on the left hand side, only half visible.
    (T-Bag Bounces Back, Episode 1: The Ousting Of Major Happy)
    (T-Bag Bounces Back, Episode 10: Happy Ending)
  • T-Bag mentions her performance at the Royal Flugelfurt Opera House in an episode of Take off with T. Bag.
    (Take off with T. Bag, Episode 7: Phantom Of The Opera)
  • Vanity Bag's cloak was reused and worn by T-Bag in an episode of T. Bag and The Rings of Olympus.
    (T. Bag and The Rings of Olympus, Episode 3: The Yukon)
  • Peter Woodthorpe, who plays Gustav Pumpernickel, appears in three episodes throughout the nine series of T-Bag. This is his first of his three appearances.
    (T. Bag and The Rings of Olympus, Episode 8: Leonardo)
    (T. Bag and The Sunstones of Montezuma, Episode 6: Ra Ra Rasputin)
  • James Saxon, who plays Archduke Fritz, appears in four episodes throughout the nine series of T-Bag, making him the most prolific guest actor alongside Matt Zimmerman and Jo Warne. This is his third of his four appearances.
    (T. Bag and The Revenge of the T. Set, Episode 2: When In Rome)
    (T. Bag and The Pearls of Wisdom, Episode 5: Mutiny!)
    (T. Bag and The Sunstones of Montezuma, Episode 3: Wilma Tell)
  • T-Shirt's toy soldier costume from this episode can be seen in the curiosity shop in T. Bag and The Rings of Olympus.
    (T. Bag and The Rings of Olympus, Episode 1: The Rings Of Olympus)
  • Tabatha Bag refers to T-Shirt as 'my treasured lumpet' in this episode, she also does this three times during T. Bag and The Pearls of Wisdom.
    (T. Bag and The Pearls of Wisdom, Episode 1: Any Old Port)
    (T. Bag and The Pearls of Wisdom, Episode 7: Tut Tut)
    (T. Bag and The Pearls of Wisdom, Episode 8: Cedric Sackbutt's Search For A Song)