At Last the 1948 Show

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At Last the 1948 Show
Created by Tim Brooke-Taylor
Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Marty Feldman
Starring Tim Brooke-Taylor
Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Marty Feldman
Aimi MacDonald
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 13
Production
Running time 25 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Original run 15 February 1967 (1967-02-15)  – 7 November 1968 (1968-11-07)[1]

At Last the 1948 Show is a satirical TV show made by David Frost's company, Paradine Productions (although it was not credited on the programmes), in association with Rediffusion London. Transmitted on Britain's ITV network during 1967 and 1968, it brought Cambridge Footlights humour to a broader audience.

The show starred Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Marty Feldman and Aimi MacDonald. Cleese and Brooke-Taylor were also the programme editors. The director was Ian Fordyce.

History[edit]

Frost approached Cleese, Chapman and Brooke-Taylor to star in a sketch series. They suggested Marty Feldman, until then a comedy writer.[2] The series bridged the radio series I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again and television's Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Goodies. It also led to Feldman's television series Marty (which also featured Tim Brooke-Taylor). The convention of comedy scenes interspersed by songs was abandoned. It still used punchlines, which would be abandoned by Monty Python.

The shows had no relationship to the year 1948; the title referred to television executives tendency to take time over making commissioning decisions. The cast also recorded an LP of sketches from the show's first season, as well as releasing a book of some of the sketches. The series was video-taped at what is now Fountain Studios, Wembley.

There were two series totalling 13 25-minute episodes (six in the first series, seven in the second).

Survival of episodes[edit]

Thames Television wiped the material once they had acquired the Rediffusion London archive, and all but two episodes were destroyed.[3] John Cleese rescued two episodes when he became aware of what was happening.[citation needed] Five compilation episodes for Swedish television also survived. Much missing material has been recovered in video, and surviving video has been restored by the British Film Institute.[4]

Out of an original total of 13 episodes, only one episode remains almost completely missing (1.1), seven exist complete, and five are incomplete.[5] Those that are incomplete consist of footage recovered from five compilation tapes returned from Sweden.[6] The audio of all 13 episodes exist, recorded off air by several fans. Only for the last episode no complete audio recording is known.[7] The majority of a previously missing episode (season 2, episode 6 tx 31.10.67) was returned to the BFI in May 2010,[8] so that today 73% of the original material survives.[9]

Only the five Swedish compilation episodes have been released on DVD. This includes the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, written and performed by Cleese, Chapman, Brooke-Taylor and Feldman.[10] The DVDs were issued by Pinnacle Vision in the UK (Region 2) and by Tango Entertainment in the US (Region 1). The DVD incorrectly states these as "recently recovered episodes", titles them as "episodes [1-5]", and also presents them in the wrong series order. There is no mention on the DVD that the content is a compilation. All editions of the DVD are NTSC based, with soft, grainy, and generally low picture quality even considering the material's age.[11] The surviving original episodes have never been released, but copies of episodes 1.4, 1.6, 2.2, 2.3, and 2.6 have in the past (and possibly illegally) been uploaded on YouTube and other websites; these look much sharper than the compilation material.

Elsewhere[edit]

Several sketches came from the Cambridge Circus. Sketches were again reused in How to Irritate People and Monty Python's Flying Circus plus Python's two German TV specials (Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus) and for stage shows. These include the "Four Yorkshiremen sketch" (which was later performed by Monty Python on Live at Drury Lane and Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl). Some sketches were performed in Secret Policeman's Ball stage shows: Top of the Form, Beekeeper. Another, the Bookshop Sketch, was recorded in modified form for Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album. Some sketches were also performed again by The Two Ronnies: Psychiatrist, Tea Boy on a Mission, and Grubnlian Holidays.

Guest stars[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'At Last the 1948 Show (1967-68)' BFI screenonline". Screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  2. ^ Roger Wilmut From Fringe to Flying Circus: Celebrating a Unique Generation of Comedy 1960-1980, London: Eyre Methuen, 1980, ISBN 0-413-46950-6.
  3. ^ Pythonet - 1948 Show
  4. ^ And now for something completely similar - the original Monty Python
  5. ^ Lost Shows
  6. ^ At Last the 1948 Show
  7. ^ Missing-Episodes website
  8. ^ Lost comedy archives unearthed
  9. ^ Missing-Episodes website
  10. ^ "Tim Brooke-Taylor interview". Radiohaha.typepad.com. 2006-06-03. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  11. ^ - Review

External links[edit]