Chipping in: Matt Lucas's carb-inspired collection box for #FeedNHS
He's sung as many silly songs as we've had hot dinners, and his latest daft ditty is helping deliver the latter to frontline healthworker heroes
At this point, when we've barely got a government (get well soon, Boris) and nothing is remotely as it should be, the fact that a song about a baked potato has climbed the pop charts seems perfectly acceptable. Nope, not a single eyebrow raised here. We've been here in novelty territory many times before with the likes of Mr Blobby, Bob the Builder and Crazy-flipping-Frog and, besides, this tune is raising all the readies for the NHS, so for that it should be commended.
Inspired by his time on Nineties panel show 'Shooting Stars' – when, as his Georgie Dawes character, he'd dress in a romper suit and give it some on the old drum kit when it was time to reveal the competition scores – 'Little Britain' co-creator Matt Lucas decided to rewrite and sing 'Baked Potato' as a bit of fun. An old ditty from the daft Reeves & Mortimer-fronted programme, it would have updated lyrics relevant to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, advising listeners to stay at home to prevent the spread of germs.
Being cooped up due to coronavirus has given rise to a smorgasbord of funny social media snippets new comic material, and Matt merely thought he was putting in his two pennies' worth to amuse the masses, hardly expecting his tidbit to take off as it did. "I just put it on my Twitter account thinking nothing of it; thinking maybe 500 people will see this," says Matt, who will start filming as host of the new series of The Great British Bake Off once the government declares it safe to resume normal day-to-day activities, "and in a couple of days, three million people had seen it and it had been shared on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram."
The message is loud and clear: only make essential trips
The lyrics feature handy (and catchy) instructions including: "Wash your hands and stay indoors (thank you, Baked Potato)/Only visit grocery stores (thank you, Baked Potato)."
"Keep your distance! Make some space! Remember not to touch your face," it advises, showing Baked Potato going about the day, largely indoors.
The video advises social distancing
Making the most of the gathering momentum, and with the help of actors Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory, as well as LEON restaurants, Matt set up not-for-profit campaign #FeedTheNHS so the nation's heroes could benefit from the song's success as they battle the pandemic. The song has already raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the relief effort through its chart debut and downloads, which will help feed scores of hardworking healthcare staff. The questions on our lips now are; will it reach number one? Will we ever be able to rid ourselves of this earworm? And will people take more heed of an animated baked potato than official government advice?
Visit the website to donat
Pssssst! Watch a vintage 'Shooting Stars' snippet here...