Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Safety First!

This is a cautionary tale - children, do not try this at home...

In the quiet yet disconcertingly dangerous town of Pifflebury, various Items of interest, curiosity, sentimental and maybe even actual value have somehow been lost. It is up to the children of the town to put things right. So, under the guiding hand of the Green Cross Man, Tony, Charley the Cat and the sensible children of the Tufty Club have set out to recover these valuables and bring them home to their rightful owners. Others have heard of this too, though. The troublemakers who call themselves the Apaches, neglected by Joe and Petunia and urged on by Billy Blunders (who actually prefers to be called Noddy), are being influenced by the Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water to thwart the do-gooders, put the valuables to much better use, and show everyone just how dangerous 70s suburban Britain really is.

This is the narrative of an episode of 7TV2 played using the Scarred for Life Programme Guide. The episode played is a home-made one I have called Lost and Found, which incorporates a few minor rules changes and additions, as well as rules for hazardous terrain types, bespoke Objective cards and new Gadget cards, all included for fun and playability. If you're interested, you can download a copy of the episode guide here.


The opposing casts are both taken from the Scarred for Life Programme Guide.

The Tufty Club
The Tufty Club:
The Green Cross Man (Star, 10pts)
Tufty the Squirrel (Co-Star, 5pts)
Charley the Cat (Co-Star, 5pts)
Tony (Co-Star, 5pts)
Morph, Dougal, Roobarb, Paddington, Willy Weasel and The Pink Panther - 6 x sensible children (Extras, 2pts)

The Apaches
The Apaches:
The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water (Star, 10pts)
Joe (Co-Star, 4pts)
Petunia (Co-Star, 4pts)
Noddy - Billy Blunders (Co-Star, 5pts)
Mr Tickle, Horrid Henry, Barney, Pingu, Miffy and Peppa Pig - 6 x foolish children (Extras, 2pts)
Bonzo, a rabid dog (Extra, 2pts)


Though the town of Pifflebury may look quiet and safe, danger lurks around every corner.

As the Green Cross Man watches traffic on the busy road, the Tufty club assemble beside the shops while Charley and Tony enter the farmer's field, keeping an eye out for livestock.

The Apaches deploy as a gang in some rough ground, the Spirit of Lonely Water at their side. Joe and Petunia have seen something interesting in the construction site across the road and are keen to investigate. Between these groups, Bonzo the rabid dog is considering his options.

The opposing casts advance on central Pifflebury.

The Apaches take the initiative and move forward. The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water sensibly ignores the open refrigerator that has been fly-tipped in the rough ground near him and advances in the general direction of the Park. Bonzo follows.  Noddy splits the Apaches into two groups, leading Henry, Pingu and Miffy into a nearby Mini and starting the engine. Mr Tickle and Barney take a longer but safer route across the busy roads toward the park, but Peppa is confused by the traffic and ends up stuck in the middle of the road.

Petunia leads the way across a road into the construction site, leaving Joe, who has temporarily forgotten his highway code, stuck crossing the road.

As the Tufty Club advance towards the park entrance near the zebra crossing, the Green Cross Man reaches the sweet shop quickly and recovers the first of the missing items - a Set of Car Keys. He immediately takes the controls of the red Morris Traveller parked by the shops. In the farmer's field Tony recovers a second item. This is the Box of Fireworks that everyone has been talking about. Tony likes fireworks, and is very excited, but watching from behind, Charley is meowing that he is a lot less comfortable with the situation.

The Spirit reaches the Lake and seeing something glinting back the light, leans in and recovers... a lost half crown. With a sigh of disappointment he pockets the coin in the depths of his black robe. Behind him, Bonzo is slow to keep up, hesitating dangerously while crossing the busy road.

Petunia has more luck in the Construction Site, where she finds a wallet containing a few notes, which she puts into her handbag with a smile. Just about enough for a nice new hat, she thinks.

Noddy swerves the car suddenly away from the kerb. Out of control, he speeds off down the road, just missing Joe who is forced back to the safety of the kerb he started from.

Tony is flattened by a rampaging herd of cattle
Unfortunately someone must have left a gate open, because as soon as he looks up from the colourful label on the box of fireworks Tony is unexpectedly trampled by a stampeding herd of cows. Charley meows in shock.

It's time to get out of the field. Charley leads Tony over the fence and safely across a pedestrian crossing as the Green Cross Man, at the wheel of the stationary Morris, waves them past. Willy Weasel heads off to the park on his own and Dougal towards the rubbish dump, where he has seen one of the other lost items. The rest of the Tufty Club, aware that their opponents are closing in on the last few uncontended objectives, head as quickly as they can in the direction of the railway line.

Now, it's a race against time to get to the items on the far side of the town, and for a change Noddy takes control of his vehicle properly, He drops everyone off near the electricity substation, leaving the objective on the railway line to Petunia. Unfortunately, Petunia turns out to have very little rail safety and gets much too close to a passing train. Oh dear! What a lot of blood!

Meanwhile, the Spirit decides to take direct action to delay the Tufty Club, closing in on them on an isolated section of pavement beside a zebra crossing. Behind, Mr Tickle jumps aboard a rubbish lorry carrying one of the missing items, leaving Barney, Bonzo and Peppa failing to cross busy roads in the distance.

Dougal enters the rubbish dump and recovers another missing item. Unfortunately, in doing so he attracts the unwanted attention of a wild rabid dog that starts to chase him. He beats a hasty retreat, scoffing all his jelly babies to give him a much needed energy boost and a bit more distance.

As Charley and Tony rush to his aid, Willy Weasel leaps onto the rubbish lorry and attacks Mr Tickle to take control of the item there. Below, the Tufty Club unwisely decide to gang up against the Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water. Two rather pathetic fights ensue.

Barney, flapping his tiny arms around and singing inanely to himself instead of concentrating on how to cross roads safely, is run over by a Mk2 Jaguar and has to take a trip to the hospital.

Meanwhile, outside the park, in the middle of the fight the Spirit spots a small and interesting bottle on the ground, and unwisely drinks its alcoholic contents. He falls over, weakened. Standing up immediately, he ignores the opportunistic attacks of his opponents, and focuses his attack on Tufty, who cannot escape his watery clutches. With the added boost of Lucozade (known to be an effective hangover cure), he smacks the squirrel hard and down he goes like roadkill.

Horrid Henry leaps over the fence into the electricity substation where he finds an abandoned catapult, while Noddy leads Miffy and Pingu up the railway embankment.

Just for a moment, things are looking marginally better for the Tufty Club, as the Spirit falls into a deep pool of water that somehow nobody noticed before, and is wounded and knocked down. But without Tufty, their morale is low and their attacks are too weak to keep up any momentum. 

But somehow things seemed bound to take a turn for the worse. Abruptly, Tony trips on the kerb edge and the box of fireworks he is holding explodes. Tony's hands and face are badly burned - but all that is left of poor Charley is the tip of his tail and a small cloud of slightly fishy-smelling smoke.

It's slippery on top of this rubbish lorry, thinks Willy Weasel, who suddenly falls over. The Spirit stands, attacking to no effect, and then Mr Tickle (who has got his timing completely wrong and should have acted first) uses his box of matches to set Willy Weasel on fire and then scatters marbles all over the place so that everyone in front of him falls over. Including the Spirit, who is starting to get fed up with all of this. Mr Tiocle completely fails to capitalise on this when attacking his prone, burning weasel opponent, but does at least take the opportunity to grab the item on the lorry, which (after all that effort) turns out to be nothing of any particular significance at all.

Noddy orders Miffy to get the item from the railway line, and she reluctantly obeys. She finds (and safely negotiates) a collection of old used needles, and then as the Apaches steal the scene, retires to safety along with Henry, Noddy and Pingu into a nearby commandeered rubbish lorry.

Too late, the Green Cross Man rushes to the aid of his pals, but despite their invulnerability the Spirit sees off the Pink Panther and Roobarb with little difficulty. Bonzo races to the aid of Mr Tickle, and Willy Weasel, who did at least manage to get the burning under control, is duly dispatched in turn. And to make matters even worse for the Tufty Club, Dougal (who completely forgot that he can automatically pass his first Mind test of the turn) is unexpectedly crushed to death beneath a tonne of falling bricks. As a token gesture, the Green Cross Man deals the final blow to the Spirit, who vanishes into oblivion.

Peppa Pig, who has failed to cross another road safely, is flattened under a rubbish lorry. But it is all too late, and The Tufty Club cast is axed.

In the last turn of the Apaches, Pingu is found to be carrying Foot and Mouth disease, and is taken away to be destroyed. In revenge, and as a final attempt to finish the do-gooders off, Noddy, Horrid Henry and Miffy gang up on the hapless Tony, as Mr Tickle sacrifices himself in the lake and the Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water rises from the water again.

The last dice roll of the game says it all, really...
Using all their remaining plot points, the Tufty Club attempt to resist the effects of the casting axe. But it seems that luck has abandoned them, and it is all too late anyway as the episode draws to a close to make way for the evening news. The forces of ill health and unsafety have demonstrated their case - 70s suburban Britain is a dangerous place indeed.

Be careful out there, children.