'How Do You View?' was the comedy series that made Terry-Thomas a nationwide star in Britain: he had already attracted attention as a performer in stage revues and nightclubs, but this tv series cemented his reputation. The programme aired on the BBC (in five series) from October 1949 to June 1952, usually at fortnightly intervals, with one special edition in September 1953.
Most of the sketch material was written by Terry-Thomas himself, alone or in collaboration. Another principal gag writer here was Talbot Rothwell, later to click with the 'Carry On' films.
The format of the programme centred on sketch comedy, with occasional musical numbers and blackout skits. Terry-Thomas played an exaggerated version of himself (much as Jack Benny did in the USA), abetted by a supporting cast who appeared in recurring roles. The premise of Terry-Thomas's onscreen character was that he was putting on some swank to reinforce his image as a big 'star', so he had acquired a butler (whom he didn't need) and a chauffeur (even though he didn't own a car). The butler, named Moulting, was played by Herbert Walton, whilst Peter Butterworth played Lockit, the chauffeur with no motor.
Leslie Mitchell, primarily known at this time as a radio newsreader, appeared regularly on 'How Do You View?' as a deadpan tv reporter, interviewing various crackpot scientists and other peculiar characters. These were invariably played by Terry-Thomas in crude disguises. It's interesting that the sketch-comedy premise of 'reporter interviews crackpot' was developed by Terry-Thomas in Britain at almost precisely the same time that Carl Reiner and Sid Caesar were using it so memorably Stateside on 'Your Show of Shows'. (Terry-Thomas did it first.) 'How Do You View?' also featured some big-name guest stars, including Diana Dors. The producer of this series was Ivor Williams, who for some reason fulfilled his duties under the pseudonym Bill Ward. Much of the material on 'How Do You View?' is still hilarious, more than half a century on from its original transmission.
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