Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones wanted to keep the show in the tradition of "Not the 9 O'Clock News", the BBC sketch comedy show which the comedy duo appeared in together as regular performance and for which launched their careers.
Between the 8th and 9th season. Mel Smith directed 1997's "Bean" starring Rowan Atkinson as the iconic British comedy character Mr. Bean. Rowan Atkinson was a regular performer on "Not the 9 O'clock News" which starred Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones.
The sketch which Smith and Jones discuss about The Beatles was voted online as "Mel Smith's No. 1 finest comedy moment" on July 20th, 2013, in memoriam of Mel Smith whom died the day before on July 19th.
When Mel Smith passed on, Griff Rhys-Jones led a tribute to his comedy partner on the Twitter social network and stated "I still can't believe this has happened. To everybody who ever met him, Mel was a force of life. He had a relish for it that seemed utterly inexhaustible. He inspired love and utter loyalty and he gave it in return. I will look back on the days working with him as some of the funniest times that I have ever spent. We probably enjoyed ourselves far too much, but we had a roller-coaster of a ride along the way. He was a gentleman and a scholar, a gambler and a wit. We are in a state of shock. We have lost a very, very dear friend."
The show is considered to be a spin-off of "Not The 9 O'Clock News", which Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones were regular performers and they wanted to keep the show and it's humor in tradition of "Not The 9 O'clock News". Chris Langham was also a performer on "Not the 9 O'clock News".
The public service announcement sketch in the 6th show of Series 1 which Mel Smith's character suffers a heart attack and dies foreshadowed the real life death of Mel Smith on 19th July 2013, which Smith died of a heart attack at the age of 60.
When Mel Smith kisses Griff Rhys Jones in the kissing sketch, Griff Rhys Jones correctly guesses that Mel Smith had eaten taramasalata. According to Griff Rhys Jones, Mel Smith had in fact eaten curry, smoked and drank a lot.
When it came to doing the show, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones had wanted to be their double act to be that of The Odd Couple (1970) (TV Series) which Smith was the easy going slob and Jones was the uptight neurotic one.
Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones were both unwell during a live special and were both sick with food poisoning and Mel Smith fell off his chair and vomited backstage and got some vomit on his tie and both Smith and Jones were unable to continue with the live special.
8 years after the final season and 7 years before Mel Smith passed away, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones reunited for the 6-part special The Smith & Jones Sketchbook (2006) (TV Series) which Mel and Griff looked back on their favorite sketches from the show.
According to Mel Smith, the idea for the Head to Head sketches came about because it was an opportunity for 2 men alone talking about their foibles which had emotional honesty and the barriers were down.
In 1 sketch, a bird hunter (Griff Rhys Jones) shoots The Snowman and James from "The Snowman" by Raymond Brig, as they are "walking in the air". Mel Smith provided the voice of Father Christmas in Father Christmas (1991) (Short) which was adapted from the book by Raymond Briggs and was a spin-off of The Snowman (1982) (Short).
Regular performer Robin Driscoll would later go on to be a co-writer of Mr. Bean (1990) (TV Series) which he played different characters and he would also later join the BBC sketch comedy show The Fast Show (1994) (TV Series) as a regular performer.