Surreal, sketch based TV comedy series. Two series were produced in 1967 by the commercial company Associated Rediffusion. In style and content, a forerunner of 'Monty Python's Flying ...
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The pre-Monty Python years of the six members of the group. Covers their school and university days, their first individual forays into comedy, how the parts slowly came together and Monty Python's eventual formation.
Surreal, sketch based TV comedy series. Two series were produced in 1967 by the commercial company Associated Rediffusion. In style and content, a forerunner of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus', which shared some members of the cast.Written by
Tragically only fragments of this pre-Python sketch show survive
Contrary to popular belief, Monty Python's Flying Circus did not spring fully-formed out of thin air. In the heady days of the early sixties lots of young British comic performers were coming up with ideas for shows that, like radio's Goon Show of the fifties, would break the mould of the rather stuffy sitcoms of the time. In 1967, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Marty Feldman and Tim Brooke-Taylor got together, with "the lovely" Aimee McDonald as presenter, to create 1967's "At Last the 1948 Show" (the title was based on the idea that TV executives would sit on shows for years before finally broadcasting them). The result was a surreal comic sketch show that can hold its own against the best Python material. Indeed, one sketch involving four impoverished Yorkshiremen, was later incorporated into Python's live routine, and some other 1948 Show sketches were used in the Pythons' two German TV specials. Other highlights include a rather strange English-for-beginners playlet in which Cleese refuses to stick to the script, and a Newhart-style single-header in which Cleese plays a neurotic headmaster (shades of Basil Fawlty already!) The show was produced for the commercial ITV Network, and the copyrights were held by David Frost's production company. Sadly after a few years this company decided to wipe the series, and only two complete episodes out of 26 survived. Some best-of-series compilations were later found in an archive in Sweden, of all places. While the loss of the complete series is a tragedy for students of TV comedy, I can only hope that the surviving material will someday be released on video, so we can all have a good laugh at what's left.
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