Neil sez..."It's amazing how many letters we've had from people apparently convinced we were a real station operating from Rutland."

      ~ Neil Innes, 1975




Rutland Weekend Television
Programme Summary
A sketch show loosely based around Britain's smallest TV station. The station is strapped for cash, so all of its productions tend to be of the 'cheap and cheerful' kind. Spoof documentaries, bogus news items, parodies of period dramas and all manner of other television-related skits were included. Musical interludes were provided by Neil Innes.

Starring, Eric Idle, Neil Innes, David Battley, Henry Woolf, Gwen Taylor

Written by Eric Idle
Produced by Ian Keill
2 series, 14 episodes
Transmitted: 1975-76
BBC Television


From the TV Comedy Database




 

.
      From a 1975 N.M.E. article:

      The title, (Rutland Weekend Television), was partly chosen because crew members knew they'd be working with very limited resources. Innes recalls the press preview at which the BBC bosses were congratulating themselves on producing a whole series for the cost of one Lulu Show.
    The idea of Rutland, and its troubles, was born last year when Innes was appearing with the Pythons in their stage show at Drury Lane. He'd been associated with Idle for a long time, first, while with the Bonzos, in the ITV children's series "Do Not Adjust Your Sets," and later on the fringes of the Python set-up. He was never officially part of the Python organisation, but composed a lot of music for the show and toured abroad with them.
     
The new series was cooked up by Idle and BBC man Ian Keill, with whom he'd been working on Up Sunday. But there was a snag: The department a comedy show would normally go to is "Light Entertainment", familiarly known as "L.E." Whereas Keill's department, "Presentation", was designed to accommodate programmes of people's heads talking into microphones as exemplified by the likes of the Late Night Line-Up and The Epilogue.
     So how did the Rutland team manage to produce an L.E. programme on a Presentation budget?
      "We would rehearse three or four days a week, then have one lunatic day a week in the studio, trying to do one whole show. We still had to observe all the proper breaks for camera crew and the cameras had to be set up twice a day, and they were always breaking down... and if you know, you've got half of Nelson's flagship in the studio, you realise it's going to take time to get it out again. So you try to get some of the filmed stuff on tele-cine while that's going on...
     And our studio was on the fourth floor, and the costumes were in the basement, so it was up and down in the lift all day. Right next door was the weather studio, and if you were lucky, and they weren't' doing any weather at the time, you could nip through there as a shortcut to Make-up. But sometimes I only realised just in time that the lights were on...
     
"And other things... we weren't filming in sequence, we'd be doing bits of different programmes all on the same day, so we were trying to keep tabs and not lose any bits. And there were censorship problems from upstairs, so we had to cut things and move them around..."
      What with shooting up and down lift-shafts, and streaking past weather charts in their lipstick, and coping with Auntie Beeb - who wanted, incidentally, to cut the sketch about Nelson's bra and pants just before the last show went out - the team often became convinced that the show couldn't go on, and sat about giggling hysterically.
      The first shows it turned out, received a record number of complaints. Which they found encouraging.


You can read the entire NME article here


Style Guru ~
the early years


Johnny Cash

Neil & Fatso


 


Accountancy
Shanty


L'Amour Perdu


24 Hours In
Tunbridge Wells


Bandwagon
 


 

    Rutland Weekend Songbook
    BBC REB233

L'Amour Perdu
Gibberish (a sketch)
Front Loader
Say Sorry Again
I Must Be in Love
Twenty-Four Hours in Tunbridge Wells
The Fabulous Bingo Brothers
Concrete Jungle Boy
The Children of Rock and Roll
Stoop Solo
Song o' the Insurance Men
Testing
I Give Myself to You
Communist Cooking
Johnny Cash
Protest Song
Accountancy Shanty
Football
Boring
L'Amour Perdu Cha Cha Cha (a sketch)
The Hard to Get
The Song o' the Continuity Announcers


 

Eric Idle's divine gift for making up funny names went into overdrive during Rutland Weekend Television. We've harvested our favorites for you from Rutland Weekend Television and/or the Rutland Dirty Weekend Book...

Orpheus Limp
Raymond Diet
Private Bert Figgus
Mrs. Foxe-Scott-Forbes-Scott-
    Roberts

Frank Satan
Major Sir Oliver Cain Gore Hamlin
Ray Laycock
Arthur Pew
Mungo Wright (a poet)
Heinrich Ballman
Bigger Machismo
Steve Flea
Melvin Sir
Ronald Rothmeyer Scottsones
Mortimer Schlock
Samuel Kitsch
Greg Rebellion
Alex Macarena Maxstopolous
Bonzo Frankfurcanab Mad Henry
The Reverend Molly Sparks
Sexy Billy
Dr. Hans Christian Rabbitkiller
The Wretched Admiral Sphincter
Norman Two Rivers
Mantra Robinson
Alan Plato
Nosher Ono
Hugh Jeckel, M.P.
Lady Antonias Spry
Barry Candle
Rita Faucet
Christopher Serpent
Arthur Thrush
Keith Sprockett
Mr. Eric Mandible
Sir Nat Kosher
Monty Baz-Baz
Swanky Wainwright
Manipulated Pam
Sir Nate Kosher
Nobby Stiles
Ray Sidcup
Dr. Emil Kraterburg and Ruth
Albert Molar
Kevin Smack
Robert Whore
Roger Dull
Giovanni Machismo
Immanuel Gryphon
Joel Gay
Ritchie Trout
Kim Japan
Joan Squatt



Norman Reviewbar
Andy Quentin-Strathers-
    Godalming-Chumleigh
Lady Sarah Pony
Janet Rabbit-Endorsement
Barbara Santa
Monica Santa
Claus Santa
Bobbie Sox
John Tampon
Alice B. Topless
Walter Anthony Crunch Trappist
Bill Vasectomy, Jr.
Matt Vinyll
Tommy Vulgar
Kurt Wellcome
Truebuttock Richardson
Diamond "No Legs" Trike
Dalmatia Cohen
Lester Bondage
Rhapsody Schmidt
Mountebank Brooke-Riposte
Keith Watergate
Peter Nobullshit
Ron Discomfort
Albert Biggles
Ray Serious
Mervyn Clutch
Stig Fossil
Rex Stardust
Jumbo Machos
Ronnie Amphetamine
Rik Ego
Reg Bingo
Keith Sly
Rita Role
Renault de Sex
Norman Conquest
Jane Honda
Ray Goebbels
Morton Smouch
Ronald Alias
Sir John Bankrupt
Ilya Beaucoup de Monde
Sandy Sadism
Betty Bison
Tommy Blitoris
Cyril Bourgeoise
Roland Clytemnestra
Sig Coipus
Ray Sadist
Frank Nepotism
Andrew Steroid
Paul Febs
El Machismo
Brian Thing
Jack Poodle
Sammy Alpine
Keith Monoplasm
Edgar Dull
John Brepuce
Cliff Drabble
Hickory Deadglove
Lally Crumble
Vincent Thigh
Peter Blook
Tony Diddle
Miles Madness
Norman "Giggly" Dull
Dr. Thwack Dull
Keith Erudite
Charles Henry
Makepeace Freeloader
Lefty Goldblatt
Raymond Greed
Alan Betty Gruff
Rita Juices
"Leapy" Harbottle
Mal Heureusement
Rex Irony
Satchelmouth Jones
Keith Llama
Benny Menopause
Alan Nangoboogie
Samuel John Opposite
Caesar Pig-Triumph
Count Pollen
Sir Cyril Proffit
Dean Protege
Lady Coral Bidet
Colin Bent
Marolo Machos
Peter Wretch
Khalid "Billy" Impetigo
Arthur Gorgeous
Ronald Mouche
Al Foresoreskin
Brian Alias
Understanding Ron
Mrs. Rita True
Brian Thug
Poncy Ray
Ron Vessel
Arthur Bigamy
Jane Lysurgic Acid
Sybil Artwork
Splig Utherism
Paul Yes
(our apologies if any of those are somebody's real name.)

In addition to the brilliance of Neil's music and Eric's writing, the cast of RWT were all brilliant performers. Some went on to appear in further Python things. Here are those CONNECTIONS...

 


Terence Bayler was Leggy Mountbatten and lots of people in Life of Brian.



Gwen Taylor was Mrs. Iris Mountbatten, Chastity Nasty,
and lots of people in Life of Brian
.

 


Henry Woolf was Arthur Sultan, and was in Rocky Horror!

Added 5/30/05 Our interview with Henry Woolf!

 


David Battley was the teacher in Willy Wonka.

 


John Halsey became Barry Wom, Bunny May was "one of 'em screamed in me ear" cop, and Carinthia West was Barry Wom's replacement bride when his first ran off with some Scottsman from Hull.



And Eric Idle did a sketch
about James Burke.

 

Next: Films (part one)


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