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British Comedy

two recovered episodes of "At Last the 1948 Show" at BFI London Dec 7th
23/10/2014 20:47 GMT

Posted by lisa

Two episodes of "At Last the 1948 Show" will be screened as part of  BFI's "Missing Believed Wiped" evening in London on Sunday, December 7.  John Cleese will be on hand to present the two programmes, in which he starred (and co-wrote) along with Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graham Chapman, Marty Feldman, and "The Lovely Aimi Macdonald".

Here's the full story, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/comedy/comedy-news/11180852/Found-two-long-lost-comedies-featuring-Monty-Pythons.html


Found: two long-lost comedies featuring Monty Pythons
'Long-lost' comedy episodes showing the beginning of Monty Python's most famous catchphrases discovered in David Frost's collection

Two “missing” episodes of classic British comedy, showing the foundations of Monty Python’s most famous works and thought to have been lost forever, have been discovered in the personal collection of Sir David Frost.

The scenes, which were believed to have been permanently wiped from the records, feature John Cleese, Graham Chapman and are thought to show the birthplace of one of Monty Pythons most famous catchphrases.

Described as a “crucial” find, the episodes also show the beginnings of a new generation of British comedy, and were used as a training ground for Tim Brooke-Taylor, Marty Feldman, and Aimi Macdonald.

Filmed in 1967, the episodes of At Last the 1948 Show stars "the lovely" Macdonald as a presenter between sketches, who utters the words, “And now for something completely different...”.

The continuity announcement cliché went on to become a recurring motif for Monty Python

The two episodes, the first and last ever broadcast of the ITV show, have been rediscovered by experts at the BFI, who were invited to view the collection of the late Sir David.

He had been executive producer of At Last the 1948 Show, and had kept two reels of 16mm filmed directly from a television screen.

The shows have now been loaned to the BFI by the Frost family, and will be broadcast for the first time in decades in December, during a special evening presented by John Cleese.

Neither episode, the opening show of the first series and the final show of the second series, have been seen since their original broadcast in 1967.

Originally, only two episodes of the series were thought to have survived, but a comprehensive search of personal collections has now uncovered nine of the 13 programmes. All are now stored safely at the BFI National Collection of Film and Television.

Dick Fiddy, BFI television consultant who was invited to view the material by the Frost family, said, “This latest recovery is a crucial find. It represents a key moment in the history of British television comedy featuring the combined talents of some of its greatest exponents.

“These gifted comedians, all in their 20s and 30s, were let off the leash and allowed to experiment with style and content, resulting in shows which have had an enduring influence on comedy worldwide.

“Even very recently the famous ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ sketch - which originated on At Last the 1948 Show - was used as the opener for the Python’s stage shows at the 02 and had been performed previously by the team in galas such as the Secret Policeman’s Ball.

“Cleese, Feldman, Brooke-Taylor and Chapman, created, scripted and starred in the 1948 Show and the fact that the show remains very, very funny 47 years later is a tribute to their extraordinary abilities.”

The BFI added it is a “major find for fans of the extraordinary early flowering of surreal, British television comedy which led to the creation of the Monty Python programmes two years later”.

John Cleese will present the two programmes at BFI Southbank, London SE1 on Sunday, December 7, as part of the BFI’s annual celebration of newly recovered television programmes, Missing Believed Wiped.

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