To many, it would appear that Podge and Rodge appeared out of nowhere to host A Scare At Bedtime - a relatively new creation, if you will. This is not the case. For those of you interested in the illustrious history of these two, or those who simply wish to relive the beauty of their malevolent past, read on.

The beautiful tale begins on The Den (children's programme presented by human Ray D'Arcy and aliens Zig and Zag) many moons ago. Zag's latest meandering stroll brings him to the back of an old magician's shop. Lying discarded in a box amongst the rubbish is a smelly old ventriloquist's dummy. Zag takes a liking to the little fellow, and brings him home, intending to pursue a career in ventriloquism. (Except he can't quite pronounce it.) All goes swimmingly well at first - he christens his little friend "Podge", and is given his own slot on The Den, where he performs. Badly. Zig is not happy at all with the level of attention Podge is receiving, and cruelly nicknames him "Sponge", often goading along to the theme tune to "The Sponge & Zag Show" (as he would have it) :

"Podge and Zag, Podge and Zag, Podge and Zag, the Podge and Zag show, Podge and Zag, they're really funny, Podge and Zag, the Podge and Zag show"

Needless to say, all is not as it seems. Podge is not a lifeless puppet. He first rears his head, unnoticed, as Zag finishes another dumb game of "where is he?", "I'm in the box". The immortal first words uttered by Podge on television were

"Aren't you a smelly stupid ugly alien? Uh uh uh uh ...."

The evil one then targets Zig (rightly, considering the abuse he suffered at the Zogabongs of the dim beige one), prompting the alien to steal a bicycle on display as the prize in some kids' competition. Podge promises Zig friendship in return, as he embarks on his evil campaign to take over the Den. He is relatively successful, gaining control of the programme, but rapidly overthrown by the crew, who are to believe that he is banished forever, unable to harm them again. The motherfucker was only starting......

Having been exposed as the evil twisted being that he is by his last unfortunate owner, Podge could obviously not return to The Den in normal attire. He was forced to turn to one of his many skills - disguise. Over the coming years, he would return to haunt the Den crew in various different incarnations. As a leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day, he taunted all and sundry - " I suppose you think I'm Podge or something?"

Podge's most daring (and ingenious) raid occurred around Christmas of 1992. By now, his excellent Postman Patrick outfit had gained him invaluable trust and access to No.10 Celebrity Square, where the Den had relocated to. Being a brat, Zig had managed to work his way into Santa's bad books, with a final warning winging its way from The North Pole, concerning a lack of presents for the beige one if he didn't pull his socks up. Podge craftily noted this, and pondered the very tragicness of Zig possibly being blamed for one final act of malevolence.... one he didn't even commit. Later that evening, while all were asleep, a shady figure in a postman's uniform broke into the house, smashed an expensive Pierre De Plonk clock, and made off with a bottle of Scent of Man - an intended present. (This last item was to prove particularly important in the grand scheme of things.) Next morning, naturally, fingers are pointed at Zig. The fact that he had been downstairs earlier that evening, despite Daddy Ray's orders to the contrary, didn't help matters. And while he moaned and protested his innocence, even the police were laughing at him on Crimeline. How and ever, much to Podge's chagrin, the alien came across a means of proving his innocence - the clock had stopped when it was smashed, and thus was still reading its time of interference. Zig had been downstairs much earlier. So, to mass panic and scribbling of letters to Santa, relieving Zig of any blame, and ensuring that presents were free to rain down upon him once more. Not quite. The ghostly postman figure suddenly popped up, and offered his assistance. While the 2 aliens wondered how exactly he had gotten in (all the doors were locked), he took the all-important letter, assuring delivery in good time to The North Pole, and telling them that they could trust him to get the job done. As he disappeared, the other 3 heaved sighs of relief at the (ill-founded) knowledge that Christmas had been saved.

It was bad enough that Podge had to deal with a smarmy git presenter along with 2 stupid smelly smug aliens, but he really could have done without an interfering fucking dog. Or, to be more precise, a zog. Zuppy, infernal blue and pink pet of the aliens, had been a present from their planet, Zog. Apart from chasing cats and barking in an annoyingly high-pitched voice, the zog was good for fuck all. Except whilst rummaging in the rubbish the very next day, he came across a pile of letters. Upon inspection, his masters found them to be the Christmas Letters from Zig, Michael Michaelson, Peter Peterson and all the other dwellers of Celebrity Square. Recognising the scale of the disaster, the 3 took it upon themselves to travel to The North Pole, deliver the letters to Santa himself, and thus save Christmas in a blaze of brilliance. A mere setback to Podge, who was waiting for the interfering clowns in the snow.....

His first appearance was a rude receptionist in the hotel where the adventurers shacked up. After getting rid of all enquiries, stating "I don't speak a word of English", he was less than helpful to Daddy Ray, who tried to find out where Santa could be found. He then took over a small cabin, and in the guise of a clued-up local, recommended the use of a bottom-sleigh, before accusing D'Arcy of making fun of him just because he was foreign. Typically, the 2 aliens were interfering with some success, finding the location of Santa thanks to some holidaying brats. The 3 readied themselves outside the cabin, and rushed in, spilling out their story breathlessly to the portly figure in red and white. Who replied with "ho ho ho oh really?"

The malevolent one, complete with white beard and all the requisite accessories, set off on a marvelous tirade, ridiculing Christmas and the whole concept of spreading joy and giving presents and happiness, claiming that Podge is "quite nice, really", and threatening interrupting aliens with extreme violence - "see this hand? Your face, this hand - BANG!! Then it'll all be over for you, smarty!" He then officially canceled Christmas, despite howls of objection. As the 3 dejectedly made their way out, he cackled and hurled derision at their pathetic stories, muttering something about reindeer burgers. In the cold snow outside, Ray remembered his own Christmas List, and went back inside to hand it over, regardless of what Mr. Claus has said. He was greeted with the sight of "Santa" bent over a large wooden chest, taunting whatever was inside - "you're staying in the box! You're not coming out until the 26th - don't like that quite as much as the 25th, do we?" D'Arcy made his way quietly across the room, grabbed the figure in red, and wrestled him to the floor. In the ensuing scuffle, Podge appeared to have the upper hand ("you'll NEVER win!!!!"), but once more the two interfering aliens got in on the act, and between them, they managed to restrain the screaming bundle of energy. The wooden chest was opened, and the accosted figure of Santa helped out. He recounted the story of how Podge had imprisoned him with a view to wrecking Christmas for the world, and thanked the 3 adventurers for saving the holiday. For some unknown reason, the crew stupidly left Podge tied in a bag on a woodland slope, and were unaware as they fleeced around on a sleigh, that he was laughing away to himself, dreaming up his next scheme, and promising revenge.

Almost equaling his first Christmas deviance in terms of brilliance, ingenuity and disruption was his gatecrashing appearance on the Den Is Ten celebrations. The show was commemorating 10 years of broadcasting, and hence organised a massive shindig, where they shipped in loads of screaming childer, all the characters that had appeared over the years, and some of their more special guests. Security was tight, for fear of Podge showing up and wrecking things for everyone. As if security was going to make a difference....

The first indication of trouble came when Ray read out a letter he had received earlier that week, from someone called Patrick Egdop. Mr. Egdop claimed that The Podge & Zag show had been his favourite over all the years, that Podge was better than Zag, but that he would unfortunately be unable to make it to the party. Zag reminded us all of exactly what Podge had been - "a ventriloquist's dummy who went mad." With that, Podge slid up from under the desk - "oh I'm Patrick Egdop, I could make it in the end." No-one suspects anything (such is the excellence of his yellow hat disguise) except for that damned interfering dog. Mr. Egdop responds to the dog's fervent barking by declaring that "I love a dog sandwich.....I mean, I love the dog's language, the barking." Ray tries to confirm the stranger's name - "Your name is Patrick Egdop?" "That's what I said, isn't it, stupid?" He claims to have enjoyed the Den for 100 years, before being told that it is only 10 years old. "Oh did I? I'm so forgetful, and young, and innocent." He eyeballs Zag before informing him that he smells. He is asked to greet the hordes of screaming brats : "oh hello boys and girls, you stupid lot!!....I mean, I love you a lot. That's what I meant." Ray asks him another question and is branded a "stupid presenter." The dog continues to bark in the background - "shut up you stupid dog!!!" He then decides to "go into the crowd, and just mingle", and he disappears. While the crew are left in no doubt that it was Podge who had been playing with them, he is off planning his next assault.

Radio D.J. Simon Young appears to celebrate his time on The Den as a Pop Gossip expert, and the evil one appears in a new disguise - a "Menace" woolly hat. He claims to be just a little boy, who's a bit lost. Twisted children's music plays in the background as he milks the sympathy offered all around. He denies that he looks like previous guest Patrick Egdop at all. "What is your name?" "Po - Po - Po - Paul. I've been a big fan of Simon Young's for 100 years." He is given the necessary directions to find his way out again, but remains, muttering "stupid bird" to the turkey under his breath. Unhappy with the level of attention he is getting as the show goes on, he shouts "don't mind me!!", before headbutting the turkey viciously. Twice. He is rebuked, and restrained. "I'm terribly sorry. I don't know what came over me. It won't happen again." The penny drops with Zig, ("wait a minute, wait a minute - it's blooming Podge!!"), and the mysterious intruder once again disappears into thin air.

His final appearance is as Boyzone member Keith Duffy - having phoned the set to inform them of his impending arrival. He slides up from under the desk in a baseball cap - "howya, I'm Keith from Boyzone." He is thanked for coming along to the show - "ah yeah, no problem, turkey breath." "What do you mean, I've changed?" He eyeballs Zag once more. "Did you just touch me? Did you just touch me on the shoulder? This is a 5000 jacket, and you have to buy me a new one." He mutters away about a stupid bird once more. The baying crowd is told to shut up, again. He is asked to sing a few bars of top tune "Coming Home Now", which is performed as "The Den is stupid.....The Den is stupid." He headbutts Dustin again, and is restrained. As soon as he is let go, he launches into the hapless turkey again, before disappearing. He can be heard roaring "stupid eejits!!" in the background. With his work done for the day, he leaves.

With Rodge by now firmly on board, Podge could attempt even more dramatic and daring feats. The following Christmas (1996), the Den crew threw a party in Dustin's grand-uncle's Cranberry Lodge, inviting Zig and Zag over from England, pop group O.T.T., and all the regulars from Den T.V. The perfect opportunity to spoil another Christmas, in other words.

Amongst Podge and Rodge's preparation was to switch the crackers for their own brand, complete with cruel jokes guaranteed to disturb the party - what do you get if you cross Dustin with a fox? A fox. The 2 boys were outdoors, watching the festivities, and began their abductions with the infernal Zuppy. With remarkable impressions of cats ("Miaow! I'm a cat! Miaowww!!!"), they lured the stupid dog outdoors, informed him that dogs have one life as opposed to cats who have nine, and with cries of "hasta la vista, fleabag", they clocked him. He was thrown into an old broom cupboard. O.T.T. were the next to go, with the 2 boys fooling them into believing that they were simpering screaming female fans. They got the popsters to pose for a photograph, say "disappear!", and that's exactly what they did.

Shortly afterwards, there was a knock at the door, and in walked Derek and Thelma from "Live at 5", who demanded boiled eggs, and labeled the party, the turkey, the pig etc. stupid in turn. Dustin informed them of all the goodwill and Christmas cheer at the party, to which Thelma replied "Hubaloo!" She quickly turned this to "where's the loo?". Sock Monster Sokky had been missing the musical card that his best friend Thomas had given to him, and became most excited upon suddenly hearing the tune. Thelma claimed it was the musical handbag that Derek had given to her for Christmas. Derek announced his desire for a duvet stuffed with turkey feathers, before the two disappeared as chaos ensued. Some time later, there was a load creaking in the attic. High-pitched pig Snotser, trying to crack on to pop specialist Emma, offered to go and check it out for her. Once in the attic, he found Podge in a rocking chair, shouting "creak, creak!!" with a pig's nose strapped to his face. "Who are you?" "Ah I'm Snotser, the pig thing." "Ah so am I!". Podge then asked the pig if he'd mind if his Christmas was wrecked for him. The stupid pig said "no", and tied himself up. Podge went downstairs, told them he was Snotface, and disappeared as Sokky's card began to play again in the background.

Pop specialist Emma was the next to go, as she answered a phone call from her new hair stylist, Rodriguez. (Her old stylist had apparently gone camping). He claimed that she looked like she had been dragged through a hedge backwards screaming, and proposed to come over with his mousse and gel, and to work a bit of his "hocus pocus." In the bathroom, Podge was standing in the mirror, complete with black wig, and moved according to the distressed woman who was appalled at her haggard appearance. Needless to say, it was off to the broom cupboard with her as well. Sokky then noticed his prize blue bucket floating outside by the window. He went out to retrieve it, and was whacked around the fur. Aunt Monica ran screaming into the kitchen worrying about her cake, and came back out decidedly shorter and plumper, and declared that her cake was grand. She called Dustin a "silly overstuffed goose", but quickly changing it to "oh, that anorak's looking a bit loose." Zag is enticed into the kitchen to help her with the food, and asked if he has scabies. ("I mean, he'd look well in navy.") She then turns to the turkey with a cruel tale of stuffing and seasoning, headbutts him and disappears. Next, the Easter Bunny calls to the door - "enough of that seasonal rubbish!!" Ray suggests that he has his dates mixed up - "don't tell me how to do my job!" The bunny cons Zig into giving him a hand, and he too ends up in the cupboard. Next to knock on the door are a short, plump Santa and Dudolph the (baaing) blue-nosed reindeer. ("I'm in a song"). Meanwhile, in the cupboard, Snotser produces a torch, and locates a Really Secret Escape Route. As you do. They all escape, and tell their tale. Podge and Rodge are still in the room, and shocked as the real Santa crawls out of another cupboard, thus scuppering their plans. They disappear into thin air, and curse their luck outside as the party gets into full swing once more. Artist Don Conroy then pulls up in his car, looking for the party. The two boys sense an opportunity to wreak one last piece of havoc - "we'll show you, Mr. Corduroy. We'll take the scenic route...."

1992 - Another Christmas tradition besides presents and good will is turkey. Naturally, the Den crew managed to make an equally large cock-up of this festive point. Zag was left in control of the situation, having won a turkey in a raffle or something. A live turkey. Needless to say, the simpering fools didn't have the heart to lop his head off and bung him in a oven. Instead, the sickly aliens made a place for him in their home and in their hearts. And then he started to talk. In a Dublin accent. His name was Dustin Hoffman, and a builder by trade. His first money-making racket involved setting up McDustin's Burgers in No.10 Celebrity Square. And it was a relative success, until one day there came a phone call from the Health Inspector. With a faint hint of Scent of Man wafting down the phone line, the inspector was particularly concerned with live animals in the kitchen :

Inspector : "Have you got a dog, by any chance, in the kitchen?"

Fools : "Yes, we have actually."

Inspector : "Oh really, like a dog sandwich?" (The first instance of his dogabilistic intentions...)

Fools : "No, he works in the kitchen."

Inspector : "Oh no. Oh no no no no...........I'll be around in the morning for a routine inspection."

He turned up the next day, complete with tweed jacket, overbearing wig, spectacles and clipboard. Seeing that he was not responding to bribes, the vicious turkey took to head-butting the inspector - the start of a long history of violence between the two. The inspector was having none of it - "did you just tap me on the shoulder? Right, that's it, the whole gin joint is gonna have to be closed down." And close it down he did....

His next appearance was as a moaning taxi-driver, who didn't mind the fact that his customers from No.10 Celebrity Square always seemed to be late, because it gave him an opportunity to lean in the window, and have a good old bitch about "insufferable bores" he had driven in the past, unavailable car parts etc.

1996-The first appearance of Rodge occurred after a particularly classic episode involving Podge on The Den. He showed up, without any apparent reason, and did little else besides loll around and insult all present throughout the show. The old Scent of Man whiff, along with his increasingly rude behaviour eventually gave him away, and the crew had surprisingly little difficulty in securing him, before settling down and waiting for the police to arrive. A lone sergeant pulled up to the treehouse with a great racket, and ensured the dwellers that he could take care of matters from there on. Despite being a dead ringer for the mirthful one bound hand and foot in the corner, the Den mob scratched their heads, wondering who it was that Sergeant Rodge reminded them of, and if he too was wearing Scent of Man. As they attempted to get on with the show, the other 2 laughed away to themselves, swapped cryptic comments, and generally behaved in a manner unsuited to an officer of the law and his prisoner. Head Honcho Ray rebuked Podge for his apparent carefree attitude towards the long arm of the law, and claimed that a spell in the slammer was just what the pup needed. With that, Sergeant Rodge hauled the cackling offender away, and sniggeringly informed the onlooking victims that they had nothing to worry about.

Some time later, Ray suspected nothing when intended rocking pop guests the Carter Twins answered "he's Brian, and I'm Declan", and minutes later "Robbie and Jack" when he asked them to introduce themselves. The fact that they could not sing, or that they also reeked of Scent of Man still didn't give the game away. It was only when the Carter Twins' manager rang the Den, to apologise for the fact that his clients wouldn't be able to make it that day, that the penny dropped. A scuffle followed, and the 2 brats escaped once more cackling and ridiculing.

And so, to connect their illustrious past with what they do now. The two reside in Ballydung Manor (phone no. Ballydung 666), which is occasionally accidentally referred to as Ballydung Asylum. It can be found just off the bypass, past Ballywank. Rumour has it that their parents left them in the asylum many years ago, and in revenge, Rodge took an axe to them both. But no bodies were ever found. Their Granny, (or a psychiatric nurse who went mad after caring for them), lives downstairs. They have a cat, Pox, who suffers from rabies, the pox, and extreme violence at the hands of its 2 owners. Their hobbies include cock fighting and exorcisms - Father Flange occasionally does special sessions. And their aim is to host a chat show when A Scare At Bedtime has run its course. (Their CV suffered no harm during a special broadcast during Telethon 98, which saw the two giving details of events in Ballydung involving dolphins and blow-holes).

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