Monday, June 13, 2011
SATURDAY NIGHT SATIRE IN THE UK - RARE EPISODE OF THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS - BBC-TV - CIRCA 1963
In the turbulent sixties, a strident, satirical voice rose above the din of violent protest and acrid accusation that filled the streets of global capitals on both sides of Atlantic. As the norms and mores of western culture were tested by pacifists and anarchists, alike, in New York, Washington DC , London and Paris, a comedic revolution was being plotted in the spartan corridors of the venerable BBC.
Broadcaster David Frost , producer Ned Sherrin,a cadre of comedy writers that boasted future Python, John Cleese and future Knight, Clement Freud, plus a cast of multi-talented performers including Millicent Martin and Roy Kinnear were creating a volatile, voluble new genre for television: weekly satire.
If you worked in the laughter laboratory and choose to map the comic genome for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, THE DAILY SHOW, THE COLBERT REPORT, ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN, THE SMOTHERS BROS. COMEDY HOUR and more,you would find THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS provides the Double Helix of articulate, acerbic satire from which those shows have evolved.
Funny and efficient,TW3 took less than one hour to spoof the absurd events of the previous seven days.
The LIVE, monochrome revue of politically and socially relevant sketches, songs and monologues ran for just two seasons in the UK, in 1962 and 1963, but it was an instant hit and a Saturday night television event on the BBC.
In 1964, the BBC passed on the show, concerned about the upcoming elections and the impact of,what it perceived to be, the show's provocative material.The production team thought that the series was over.
But across the Atlantic, in New York City a reprieve was in the making.Impressed with the show's topical humor and innovative production values, American Broadway impresario, Leland Hayward, brought the daring show, along with host David Frost, to NBC prime time.
While all involved in the program and approving critics saw great promise in the Amercian version of THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS,it just didn't translate to large ratings.Even with a cast that included regulars Nancy Ames,Woody Allen and Alan Alda, plus major guest stars, the landmark show lasted only two seasons on the Peacock Network in 1964 and 1965.
Here from the UTUBESHERLOCK1111 You Tune site are six clips that constitute one, stinging episode of THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS from the BBC in 1963.Enjoy!!!!
BONUS - IN 1963, Millicent Martin and David Frost released a novelty recording of the theme from THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS in the UK. It was a hit. Here it is from the RAVES0FROM0THE0GRAVE0 You Tube site.Enjoy!!!