Alfonso Bonzo (final episode - part 1 of 3)
The last ever episode of this obscure but memorable and surreal CBBC show, adapted from the 1986 book, created by Andrew Davies. A chirpy, cheeky but likeable boy named Billy Webb. the episode seems a bit of an acid trip, but a good romp, as Billy gets transported into playing a game of snooker on the TV, playing miraculously well to squabbling with his older sister over meeting a creepy man, and then entering his living room, now turned into a Wild West Saloon, his dad leering up another woman, his dog starts talking. It all get weirder and weirder. This all links to "Alfonso Bonzo", the title character, a mysterious and magical Italian man posing as an Italian exchange student. Both Billy and Alfonso enjoyed swapping items, However, Alfonso Bonzo wants to do the ultimate swap, he wants to swap bodies as he likes having his family and being a brother to his older sister, and that's where things start getting a little creepy and sinister...
Each episode Billy Webb (Scott Riley), who in realtime, had already sustained a broken leg, tells his story to journalist Trevor Trotman (Mike Walling), and tells him through these flashbacks of how he broke his leg, with such an unbelieveable and long-winded story, you wonder if this is just all made up! He could be a pathological liar. You find out at the end of this episode in 3 parts! Well, maybe! The show had a fixed cliffhanger, of simply the storyteller keeping you wanting more, in the episodes running up to this last one.
A spin-off was made called "Billy Webb's Amazing Stories", not including "Alfonso Bonzo", however from memory, I'm actually not too sure and whether he appears at the end of the series. Both programmes only lasted for 1 series though. The boy was played by Scott Riley, and has appeared in a few other roles such as minor characters in "London's Burning" and "The Bill" in 1992 and 1991. Seems to have left the acting business now?
Alfonso Bonzo was played by Alex Jennings, who is now a rather esteemed actor, appearing as Prince Charles, Prince of Wales in the award winning 2006 BAFTA Film "The Queen". He has also appeared in the 1997 Oscar-nominated film "Wings of a Dove" alongside Helena Bonham Carter, but not in a starring role. Theatrically trained, he has appeared and has been nominated for awards, playing in such legendary theatres like London's "Old Vic" and the "Royal National Theatre". So the boy done good.
Other roles of the show to note is Billy's older sister, played by Fleur Taylor who starred as bully Imelda Davis in "Grange Hill" in 1985-87, before being expelled from the school for good. She has now left the acting business, and runs an Estate Agents.
Mike Walling appeared on quite a few children's Comedy/Drama on both CBBC and ITV around the time of the early-mid 90s. For some, he is most well known as Eric from BBC sitcom "Brush Strokes" (1986-1991). He has also appeared in Coronation Street recently in 2006, as short-lived character Clifford Ford, Before his TV "fame", he was a comedy double act with Mo Foster, who wrote parody songs including "The Papadum Song" in the early 1980s, which was meant to be released into the charts, however in a case of bad timing, the records never reached the shop due to industrial strikes. Mmm, I'm interest enough to youtube that!
Another worthy to note actor is Brian Hall, who play's Billy's father in both serials. He's best known as Terry the cook from renowned comedy sitcom "Fawlty Towers", starring John Cleese. He had a long career with many credits in British dramas and comedies until his death in 1997.