David Frost Presents

How to Irritate People (21 Jan. 1969)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Talk-Show
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In this mock-documentary, John Cleese narrates a series of sketches on irritation -- types and techniques. Included are parents irritating their children, old ladies irritating movie-goers ... See full summary »


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Episode complete credited cast:
Himself / Dad / Pepperpot / Boyfriend / Teddy / Man at Party / Son / Bored Pilot / Silly Job Interviewer / Presenter / Julian Trevelyan
Tim Brooke-Taylor ...
Pepperpot / Restaurant Customer / Mr.Harris / Poofy Actor / Man in need of a lift / Mr.Bevis / Bored Pilot / Man with score card / Mr.Raymond / Gig Sanders / Dr.Rhomboid Good-Cabin
Malcolm / Bona Fide Movie-Goer / Head Waiter / Mr.Gibson / Poofy Actor / Tom / Flight Attendant / Man with score card / Mr.Shande / Topic Announcer
Gillian Lind ...
Mum / Mother / Mrs.Raymond
Pamela / Girlfriend / Restaurant Customer / Beryl
Dick Vosburgh ...
Waiter / Man with gun / Man with score card


In this mock-documentary, John Cleese narrates a series of sketches on irritation -- types and techniques. Included are parents irritating their children, old ladies irritating movie-goers in a theater, an overly subservient waiter, a car repairman denying obvious car trouble, a party guest hinting for a ride, airplane pilots playing practical jokes on their passengers, and a talk show host who doesn't stop talking. Written by Samuel Stoddard <ss1@christa.unh.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 January 1969 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Connie Booth's first acting role. She had originally just agreed to play a small part in one sketch, but took on several more roles after Jo Kendall, who had originally been cast to play most of the younger female characters, pulled out at the last minute. See more »


Teddy: What animal makes the noise, "meow?"
Mrs.Maurice: A car?
Teddy: Nearly! Ca... ca... ca...
Mrs.Maurice: Ca... ca... bus?
Teddy: No. Ca... ca...
Mrs.Maurice: Aeroplane?
Teddy: No, no! Ca... ca... ca...
Mrs.Maurice: Ca... ca... ca... MOTOR TORPEDO BOAT!
Teddy: NO, NO, NO! Ha, ha, ha... bad luck, Mrs. Morris, jolly good try. No, Mrs. Morris, what ANIMAAAAAAL... ha, ha... makes the noise "meow?"
Mrs.Maurice: Oh, that's easy. A cat.
See more »


Featured in What the Pythons Did Next... (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Before the Flying Circus, there was this... and I think we can all agree that John Cleese knows how to be irritating
18 October 2007 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

Before the Flying Circus, before the movies, before the Python team was complete, they put together this... well, half or so of them, did, anyway. This is a series of sketches(more than one of which were later re-done on the show) all based around the concept that the title describes. Cleese has Chapman and Palin with him, and they manage to put a lot of good skits on the screen. It's not as refined and well-done as the show and the movies, but it's a good look at the Pythons roots(and what admirable roots, at that). It runs for an hour and less than ten minutes, and it does so quite smoothly. The jokes are never far away, and some of them are utterly hilarious. The pacing is pretty much spot-on, if some skits perhaps go on for longer than they ought to. The material never feels tired or bland(if some of it is overused). The performances are energetic, enthusiastic and just plain *work*. It's not as far-out and bizarre as the show and the movies are, but it's still satisfying and entertaining. The bits are all different, and this has the first appearance by(and the spoken definition of, coining that as their name) "pepperpots", who would be seen countless times on the Circus. The whole production is presented as a documentary with Cleese as the host, introducing each segment and occasionally making jokes in-between them. For any fan of the team, I would say that this is worth the hour. I recommend this to any fan of the Pythons, Cleese and British comedy in general. 7/10

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