Film ID:
NEFA 9625

ON THE EDGE: VIZ

1988

Visitor Tabs

Description

This 1980s Tyne Tees Television feature is an anarchic spoof tour of the cult satirical rag ‘Viz’ at its offices in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, and at a photo shoot, introduced by creator Chris Donald with a hefty dose of smutty innuendo. Includes examples of some of the foul-mouthed cartoon characters such as Roger Mellie (the Man on the Telly), Buster Gonad, Biffa Bacon, Sid the Sexist, Jack Black and his dog Silver. 

The film opens with a spinning copy of Viz, a raunchy British adult comic magazine. A fast montage of cartoon images off the pages of Viz follows.

Chris Donald, the founder of Viz, is seated at his desk in a Jesmond office and introduces himself. He says that this is a busy day in the office as the deadline for the next issue is only a week away and things are pretty hectic.

The Viz magazine camera crew are out on the streets,  scouting for a location for a photo story (“very popular with girls”). Donald and crew glance around. They walk into a jeans shop and ask a bloke if he fancies being a character in a photo shoot. The shoot takes place in a trendy clothes shop, a girl posing and introduced (voice-over) by Chris Donald as “a girl who works as a shop dummy in a fashion shop.” She’s going out with an artist. She decided that she’d tell him she was a fashion model.” The scene cuts quickly between people on the shoot, many low-angle shots included, alternating with filming on the street and in the shop. The girl poses in a shop window, then must explain her subterfuge to the artist boyfriend, now seated beside her in the shop window, suitably dressed in a black beret. Chris Donald on voice-over: “He reveals that he’s not really an artist. He said he was a painter but what he really does is he works for the council and he paints lines in the middle of the road. Both lied.” They pose happily together.  A series of images of the printed photo story follow. The couple clasp their hands and smile happily as the last shot is taken in the shop for the story.

Chris Donald is seated back in the office opening mail. He opens a parcel with an entry for the Viz Top Ten from a record shop, where “we accept bribes from groups”. He picks up a plastic bag of “rotten food and cigarette ends”. So that won’t get in the chart.” The phone rings as he says there is an editorial meeting later on. He answers it. It’s Graham Dury, the Deputy Editor, actually phoning from a few feet away in the same room. He requests that Chris Donald have a look at a cartoon he’s not very happy with. He replaces the phone and walks across the room to examine Graham’s cartoon. Graham points out the bit he’s unhappy with. Chris Donald makes an editorial decision. “Oh, I think we’ll get away with that.” A series of stills of the cartoon “Jack Black and his Dog Silver” follows.

Chris Donald continues with his spoof tour round the Viz office, moving next door to see a few more people at work. Next door, it’s Graham again doing a magazine plan. Into the administrative office, where he introduces Graham again, making coffee. Chris Donald takes a swig of coffee. A comic cartoon bubble reads “Glugg!” A low angle shot follows of fingers typing slowly (the typist obviously crouched on the floor out of shot) with Chris Donald introducing in the background. Ann, the typist, turns out to be Chris, posing as a secretary without his glasses. 'The secretary' wants to show Chris a couple of letters, “tax bills”, “I think they’re onto you again.” The portrait shot of Chris typing is intercut with a strange “fingers typing” shot.

He heads through a door marked 'Fire Exit' and walks down some steps into the library. “It seems quite busy today.” He introduces Simon Thorp who is pumping up Graham’s bicycle tyres. Some saucy innuendo follows. He then introduces one of the assistant editors, Simon Donald (Chris Donald’s brother) who is doing a paper clip check. “We do one every Friday.” As he points out the office equipment and filing cabinet, more saucy banter takes place, all in the style of Viz comic itself. He then comes across Graham, the deputy editor, watering the plants and introduces him again.

Chris Donald runs through the various characters in the magazine, shots of the cartoon pages illustrating them. A rude Viz cover page is shown.

Chris Donald enters the editorial meeting, to the sounds of loudly squeaking hinges. He introduces Graham Dury, the deputy editor again. Stills of the cartoon ‘Buster Gonad’ follow as Chris Donald explains (in voice-over) where the inspiration for the character came from.

Donald introduces the Tyne Tees cameraman to the Viz team. He introduces the two assistant editors to camera, his brother Simon Donald, again, and Simon Thorp, all looking through piles of paper. Another brief montage of cartoon pages are shown, this time ‘Biffa Bacon’. Chris Donald apologises for being late. Simon Donald enquires if anybody has checked the paper clips. The team read out tongue-in-cheek letters for the letters’ page. In voice-over, Chris Donald talks about forming Viz in 1979. The phone rings and he says he has to get to London … in half an hour. He bids farewell to the team and steps into the darkroom rather than the exit, which a cartoon page of noises illustrates: “Biff. Crump. Snap. Rip” etc. Simon Thorp asks “Who was that?”

Chris Donald continues to recount his own version of the history of Viz, telling about a woman complaining that the language was obscene, disgusting and that they should stop publishing it altogether. He says he agreed with her and would stop publishing it tomorrow. “But I was lying you see.” [ sound ends before end of picture]