The Complete and Utter History of Britain
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The Complete And Utter History of Britain was a 1969 television comedy sketch show. It was created and written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones between the two series of Do Not Adjust Your Set. It was produced for and broadcast by London Weekend Television but was not shown in all of the other ITV regions.
|The Complete and Utter History of Britain|
|Created by||Terry Jones |
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Executive producer(s)||Humphrey Barclay|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Original network||London Weekend Television|
|Original release||12 January –|
16 February 1969
The idea (inspired by a sketch in an earlier show, Twice a Fortnight) was to replay history as if television had been around at the time. Sketches included interviews with the vital characters in the dressing-room after the Battle of Hastings, Samuel Pepys presenting a TV chat-show and an estate agent trying to sell Stonehenge to a young couple looking for their first home ("It's got character, charm and a slab in the middle").
Seven programmes were written and produced, but LWT amalgamated the first two episodes into a single "stronger" (in their opinion) episode, resulting in a six-part series - the final cut of the first episode being 25 minutes like the others (i.e., of the first two episodes as originally recorded, 25 minutes were discarded).
For many years the entire series was believed to have been wiped. However, copies of the first two episodes (as broadcast) have now been found, as have the complete first two episodes as produced. The latter are in the form of poor quality video recordings, probably in CV-2000 format, with visible line structure and numerous instances of dropout. These were taken from the personal collection of the director, Maurice Murphy.
Terry Jones has expressed dissatisfaction with the show, complaining after a showing of surviving episodes that the pacing was off and the soundtrack all wrong.
|“||It was doing The Complete and Utter History of Britain that got me really convinced that you have to control everything. You not only act in the things - you've got to actually start directing the things as well.||”|
- Episode 1, 12 January 1969: From the Dawn of History to the Norman Conquest
- Episode 2, 19 January 1969: Richard the Lionheart to Robin the Hood
- Episode 3, 26 January 1969: Edward the First to Richard the Last
- Episode 4, 2 February 1969: Perkin Warbeck to Bloody Mary
- Episode 5, 9 February 1969: The Great and Glorious Age of Elizabeth
- Episode 6, 16 February 1969: James the McFirst to Oliver Cromwell
On 7 April 2014, Network Distributing released all extant material on a Blu-ray/DVD set in the UK. This release includes the first two episodes as broadcast, the first two episodes as recorded, and all available film inserts. New linking material for film inserts was recorded by Jones and Palin especially for this release, and included as a 50-minute programme entitled "The New Incomplete Complete and Utter History of Britain".
- Dave Eggers (2006-09-13). "Interview with Eric Idle in The Guardian, with quotes from Terry Jones and Michael Palin". Film.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-05-11.
- Spiny Norman (2014-04-07). "> Features > Palin and Jones Return!". Networkonair. Retrieved 2014-05-11.
- A brief filmography of Terry Jones
- The Complete And Utter History Of Britain at epguides.com
- Detailed information about The Complete And Utter History Of Britain on the Pre-Python series page at The Origin of Monty Python website
- The Complete and Utter History of Britain on IMDb
- The Complete and Utter History of Britain at TV.com