[Bonzo Dog]

Do Not Adjust Your Set

1967-1969 ITV


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The Bonzos were the resident band on this precursor of Monty Python's Flying Circus, also starring the newcomers to TV Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, David Jason and Denise Coffey. It was originally produced by Humphrey Barclay for Associated Rediffusion TV. Thames TV continued production after the ITV franchises changed on 30 July 1968.

Apart from the many Pythonesque sketches and the wonderful Bonzo performances, the show is remembered for David Jason and Denise Coffey's Captain Fantastic and Mrs. Black serial.

Jeremy Isaacs at Associated Rediffusion asked Humphrey Barclay to produce a TV follow-up to I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again. He wanted something as funny as possible, not aimed at children, that happened to be on at tea-time and wanted new faces. Daphne Shadwell directed.

The pilot episode should have gone out on Boxing Day 1967 (coinciding with the world premiere of Magical Mystery Tour) but the following week's episode went out instead, overran and was abruptly cut off. The first season ran until March 28th 1968. The fourth episode won the first prize in the Youth Programmes: 12-15 Years: Plays and Entertainments category at the Prix Jeunesse International TV Festival in Munich in June 1968.

The 25 December 1968 Christmas special, called Do Not Adjust Your Stocking, was produced by Lewis Rudd and directed by Adrian Cooper, then the second series was produced by Ian Davidson, directed by Adrian Cooper and started airing on 19 February 1969, producing a grand total of 27 episodes. Only Captain Fantastic and Mrs. Black survived to a third series.

Terry Gilliam participated in some of the programmes. For instance a black & white animation of his from the first series appears in a Python documentary called Life of Python. He'd met John Cleese in New York and then been introduced by Cleese to Barclay and then hung around the studio, gradually getting involved.

An episode from 1968 was reshown as part of Channel 4's TV Heaven - 1968 in 1993.

In 2005 a DVD of 9 shows was released.


Contributed by Andy Peel:
The National Television and Film Archive hold quite a number of the shows from the first series. They don't appear to hold any of the second series shows though, I guess these are kept in Thames TV's own archive [now owned by the Pearson media group]. Anyhow, the shows that the NTVA hold and the ones with a viewing copy are as follows.

Matthew K. Sharp supplied further info:
The listing for Do Not Adjust Your Set is missing show 1/13 - 28 Mar 1968 (the '67 Christmas special being exactly that, and not the first of the series). The "British Television Comedy And Light Entertainment Research Guide 1950-1995" (editors Christopher Perry & Richard Down) list this as missing, but it has subsequently turned up and been screened at the NFT.
(23 Jan 1999) The first episode of series two has turned up on its original 405 line tape at Thames - see the Kaleidoscope website for more info on this.

			    Copy    Viewing
			    Held    Copy
Christmas Special :
             26/12/1967	    y	    y
Episode 1  : 04/01/1968	    y
Episode 2  : 11/01/1968
Episode 3  : 18/01/1968
Episode 4  : 25/01/1968	    y	    y
Episode 5  : 01/02/1968	    y	    y
Episode 6  : 08/02/1968
Episode 7  : 15/02/1968
Episode 8  : 22/02/1968	    y
Episode 9  : 29/02/1968	    y	    y
Episode 10 : 07/03/1968	    y
Episode 11 : 14/03/1968	    y
Episode 12 : 21/03/1968	    y	    y
Episode 13 : 28/03/1968     y       ?

Do Not Adjust Your
Stocking : 25/12/1968	    y	    y

Episode 14 : 19/02/69       y
Episode 15 : 26/02/69
Episode 16 :  5/03/69
Episode 17 : 12/03/69
Episode 18 : 19/03/69
Episode 19 : 26/03/69
Episode 20 :  2/04/69
Episode 21 :  9/04/69
Episode 22 : 16/04/69
Episode 23 : 23/04/69
Episode 24 : 30/04/69
Episode 24 :  7/05/69
Episode 26 : 14/05/69



For the record, just prior to the start of Monty Python in 1969, John Cleese was in the TV show At Last The 1948 Show, with Tim Brooke-Taylor, Marty Feldman and Graham Chapman. John & Graham were also writing for others. [2005 DVD] Marty and Tim (plus John Junkin) went on to make BBC2's Marty in 1969.

ITV History

See Independent TeleWeb.

[Bonzo Dog]
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