|Index||3 reviews in total|
Born too late (1960), for years I knew about TW3 by repute (from my two
elder brothers). Some time in the late 70s, archive clips of this
groundbreaking show started to be shown on TV, and I could see for
myself - in spite of the technical advances of the intervening years -
its amazing boldness and novelty.
It is hard to equate the present-day Sir David Frost, a jowly man in late middle age who currently conducts "soft", Sunday-morning interviews with politicians, with the gauche young man of the same name (if lacking the title) forty-odd years earlier, who gamely (if ineptly) participates in the revue-type sketches of TW3.
I myself was a young man in the 1980s; I was amazed not by the datedness of TW3 (although its B&W minimalism - which must have been so striking in the very early 1960s - seemed antediluvian twenty years later), but by the savagery of its satire. A sketch about Henry Brooke, the then-Home Secretary, was far fiercer than anything in "Spitting Image".
Far more important than Frost's gauche anchor was the magnificent Millicent Martin, a sexy jazz singer who declaimed (with only minimal rehearsal) complex, tongue-twisting ditties freshly-minted from the scriptwriters' slimline Remingtons.
Other regulars were the late, great comic actor, Roy Kinnear, a comparatively youthful Kenneth Cope (a good few years before "Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)"), the irreplaceable Lance Percival (whom I was always too shy to approach when I saw him walking his basset-hound - only marginally more hangdog than he - near Parson's Green) and Timothy Birdsall, the handsome and charismatic cartoonist doomed to die of leukaemia at 26 halfway through the series.
There were lapses, of course. Sometimes it just wasn't funny. Other times it was hopelessly naive (the gushing JFK tribute, for example). The series was cancelled late in 1963, because, post-Profumo scandal, the General Election (which was not, in fact, held until October 1964) appeared to be in prospect.
They needn't have bothered. Harold Wilson's Labour Party won anyway!
Hard, actually IMPOSSIBLE to believe that not a solitary person in all
years has had a single acknowledgment or comment to make on this
ground-breaking weekly show that made David Frost a household name in three
continents back in the early 60's.
Hit British Television like a steam train and nuked the collective public consciousness on its first appearance. The first show to feature stand-up comedy satirising current affairs. Thumbed its finger at traditional news broadcasting and mocked everyone from political figures, sports people, through to Television executives themselves. The ancestor of many many shows worldwide which picked up and copied the format. None either equalled or topped it. In Australia the first cab off the rank was THE MAVIS BRAMSTON SHOW which tried to hide its Brit origins and wound up a very limp imitation despite its subsequently being remembered so fondly. FAST FORWARD follows in TWTWTW's steps but lacks the depth of talent of its English grand-parent.
An ICON of 60's entertainment, and if you are British, then all the more meaningful that statement becomes. Cutting-edge scripting by David Frost and Bernard Levin and Millicent Martin, Kenneth Cope, Lance Percival, William Rushton and Roy Kinnear all went on to develop a stage and film presence....some more successfully than others.
I was just leaving school around the time TW3 was launched and it is hard for anyone who wasn't around then to fully appreciate the impact this had on the sixties generation. I often watched it after an evening out, when my parents were turning in. This made it seem as if it was a young person's programme. Also, although it was a regular late night programme it always went out live which meant its time-slot was flexible and it occasionally appeared to over-run. No other satire/discussion/comedy programme since has even come close to the thrill this programme brought. You felt as if you were actually watching it in an intimate London night- club.
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