The Benny Hill Show Wikia

in 1981


in 1974


Dan Dan, The Laboratory Man is the secret agent character played by Mervyn Durt (Benny Hill) in the fictional TV series "Undercover Sanitary Inspector."
Often working with disguises, Dan is often getting photos from rival spies (Ken Sedd) or gathering intelligence when he isn't getting blown up or outed by stray dogs. His boss is known as Skipper (Nicholas Parsons/Henry McGee) who informs him that a fellow agent named Bathtub Jim has been taken out of the business. Skipper sends him to Istanbul to meet their contact Nina at the Tivoli Bar. He is told to memorize his instructions and then eat them. (All 250 pages of it.)
In Istanbul, Dan makes contact with three other spies including Zucco (Bob Todd) from Hungary, a waiter (Roger Finch) from Moscow and a mysterious Lady in Blue (Leslie Goldie/Jo Thomas) from Romania. They try bumping him off by poisoning his beer, but he dumps it into the restroom toilet, faking his murder long enough to get the jump on them, but the Lady In Blue's impossibly short dress distracts him as Zucco escapes.
As Zucco escapes, Dan tails him to a Turkish Bath where he accidentally wanders into the ladies steam room. He escapes by disguising himself as a woman. Making his way back to the Tivoli Bar, he tries getting info from the bartender (Jackie Wright), who has a heart attack. Complicit in his death, Dan is taken prisoner by the police (Roger Finch and Ken Sedd (?)), but one guard stays in the cell with him and tries getting romantic of him. Dan pins him to the wall with plungers.
Skipper comes to Istanbul to vouch for Dan and get him out of jail, telling him he meant the Tivoli Bar at the East Ham Bowl in England. Frustrated, Dan reveals his true identity to the captured guard, who then reveals their identity as a sexy brunette (Yvonne Paul (?)/Abigail Higgins).


  • The exterior of Dan's headquarters is the old London County Hall; today, it has been renovated into an apartment building.
  • This sketch was performed twice. The February 11, 1981 version runs longer, including a chase scene and the women's steam bath scene. In the February 24, 1974 episode, Bob Todd plays an agent blowing up an outhouse in the opener and the chauffeur/bodyguard to the enemy agent (Leslie Goldie). Sue Bond is a extra female agent in Dan's headquarters, and Nosher Powell is the (obvious) stuntman in the hotel fight scene which leads directly to the ending in jail instead of the chase scene.
  • The actors playing the officers and the girl in the cell in the 1974 version are unrevealed.
  • The ladies in the steam room in 1981 include Louise English, Sue Upton, Penny Kendall, Alison Bell, Claire Smalley, Camilla Blair, Julie Kirk with Louise turning up again in the locker room area with Bella Emburg.
  • The opening of the sketch identifies the fake actors playing the roles. Dan Dan the Laboratory Man was played by Mervyn Durt (February 24, 1974), changed to Durt Reynolds (February 11, 1981), an homage to actor Burt Reynolds who called himself one of Benny's biggest fans. The other actors are Louise English as Sybil Serpent (Laura Norder) and Bella Emburg as Celia Braynfeeble (Trixie). Sybil Shepard is likely a play on the name of American actress Cybil Shepard.
  • The "cast" in the February 24, 1974 sketch besides Benny includes Jenny Lee Wright as Mary Tyler Bathroom (Ida A. Jax) and Tiddles the Wonder Cat (Old One Eye).
  • The code names of Dan and Skipper in the 1974 sketch are Black Fox and Brown Owl.
  • The interior name of the 1981 sketch is "Never Kiss a Chicken On The Lips."