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
Running time 25 minutes
Original channel ITV
Original release 15 February 1967 (1967-02-15) – 7 November 1968 (1968-11-07)[1]
Related shows Do Not Adjust Your Set (1967 – 1969)

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.

On 23 October 2014, two episodes were recovered by the British Film Institute from the David Frost collection.


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 became aware of tapes from two surviving episodes after Feldman's wife left them to him in her will.[4] 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.[5]

The majority of a previously missing episode (season 2, episode 6 tx 31.10.67) was returned to the BFI in May 2010,[6] so that today 73% of the original material survives.[7] On 23 October 2014, the BFI announced film copies of two previously missing episodes - the first and final editions of the series (tx 15.02.1967 and 7.11.1968) - had been recovered from the private collection of the show's executive producer David Frost.[8]

Out of an original total of 13 episodes, nine now exist as complete, and four are incomplete.[9] Those that are incomplete consist of footage recovered from five compilation tapes returned from Sweden.[10] The audio of all 13 episodes exist, recorded off air by several fans.[11] An LP compilation was produced using audio from the original videotapes. This has since been reissued on CD.

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.[12] 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. Interestingly, Eric Idle appears in three of the episodes (2, 4, and 5). All editions of the DVD are NTSC based, with soft, grainy, and generally low picture quality even considering the material's age.[13] 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.


Several sketches came from the 1963 Cambridge Footlights Revue entitled Cambridge Circus (the revue was previously entitled A Clump of Plinths). 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]


  1. ^ "'At Last the 1948 Show (1967-68)' BFI screenonline". 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. ^ "Unbound: John Cleese in conversation with John Hodgman". youtube. BAMorg. March 12, 2015. Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ And now for something completely similar - the original Monty Python
  6. ^ Lost comedy archives unearthed
  7. ^ Missing-Episodes website
  8. ^ Pre-Monty Python TV comedy episodes rediscovered,, 23 October 2014
  9. ^ Lost Shows
  10. ^ At Last the 1948 Show
  11. ^ Missing-Episodes website
  12. ^ "Tim Brooke-Taylor interview". 2006-06-03. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  13. ^ - Review

External links[edit]