Tuesday, 17 December 2013

"Dentistry for the Deceased" annual 1974

It's that time of the year when parents hurry to get in their orders for Christmas annuals. There's always a wide selection available devoted to children's favourite TV programmes, cartoon characters, magazines and even beloved toys.

"Dentistry for the Deceased" was a Saturday night programme that the whole family could enjoy. Celebrities who had recently passed away were put in teams of two with their dentists to compete against other dentist/celebrity teams.

During the week-long run-up to the live show the dentist would rehearse with the celebrity corpse to create spectacular and exciting oral displays.

Come the show, the teams would battle against the clock to produce the best postmortem smiles while the BBC's all-female dancing troupe "Teeth & Co." performed mouth/death themed routines to live music.

Bruce Scythe was the host for more than 90 years during which he assembled one of the world's largest collections of deceased celebrities, which sat forever smiling in his specially converted cellar gallery.


  1. Is it true that northern celebrity Jimmy Savile volunteered his mother for this show but that the BBC pulled it before she passed? We don't hear much of Savile himself these days, whatever became of him?

    1. Louis Theroux pushed him down a hill for failing to complete a fun run for orphans.

  2. What a great programme that was - I remember Bernard Mannings Jawbone being specially illuminated & the enamels polished to a high gloss for the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Manchester ship canal -how grand a sight as it floated gaily downstream - Broadcast live and in special black & white 16:9 ratio - A first for BBC Scarfolk.

  3. Now I understand why the Tooth Fairy is sometimes called Fill-in-the-blanks.

  4. I remember obsessively brushing my teeth after watching this programme as a young boy in the hope that I would one day have the honour of participating. During my quarterly dental hygiene inspections I used to fantasise about being a celebrity corpse.

  5. This show was a must see throughout the length and breadth of the commonwealth , when we arrived in Australia in 1981 it was being played three times a week on the ABC government broadcasting system, with special subtitled editions ported across for the use of "Special broadcasting service" that had been established for the use of migrants with limited English skills. The children watched it avidly , especially the special local christmas editions where celebrity Australia corpses were featured .The host Bruce used to wear a slouch hat for these shows just to get into the spirit of things and even the aboriginal stockmen and their families on the cattle stations were given special dispensation to stay up late and watch it ion the set n the farmhouse ( as long as they watched from outside through the windows)- one had to observe some proprieties.......

  6. What an incredible programme that was - I recall Bernard Mannings Jawbone being extraordinarily enlightened & the finishes cleaned to a high sparkle for the 100th commemoration of the opening of the Manchester boat channel -how great a sight as it skimmed merrily downstream - Broadcast live and in extraordinary dark & white 16:9 proportion - A first for BBC Scarfolk.

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