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The Complete and Utter History of Britain

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
THE COMPLETE AND UTTER HISTORY OF BRITAIN.jpg
Created byTerry Jones
Michael Palin
StarringWallas Eaton
Colin Gordon
Terry Jones
Roddy Maude-Roxby
Melinda May
Michael Palin
Diana Quick
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes6
Production
Executive producer(s)Humphrey Barclay
Running time25 minutes
Release
Original networkLondon Weekend Television
Original release12 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.

Contents

EpisodesEdit

Home mediaEdit

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".[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Spiny Norman (2014-04-07). "> Features > Palin and Jones Return!". Networkonair. Retrieved 2014-05-11.

External linksEdit