After 'Your Show of Shows' ended its run in 1954, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca went their separate ways ... neither achieving as much success separately as they had enjoyed together. In January 1958, Caesar and Coca united on American television for a new series, 'Sid Caesar Invites You', with some of their 'Show of Shows' scriptwriters and a similar sketch-comedy format. It looked to be a sure-fire success, but the new series lasted barely five months and was scuppered in May.
Those programmes were never transmitted in Britain, but Sid Caesar was well-known to the executives at BBC's Broadcasting House. Following the cancellation of 'Sid Caesar Invites You', BBC's Comedy Department invited Caesar and Coca to come to London and re-stage episodes of 'Sid Caesar Invites You', employing the existing scripts and an English supporting cast. Inevitably, there were a few jokes to the effect of 'Caesar conquers Britain'.
The BBC edition of 'Sid Caesar Invites You' ran for 13 half-hour episodes, transmitted from July to September '58. The material included sketches written by 'Show of Shows' veterans Mel Tolkin and Mel Brooks ... however, these scripts were written for the American version of 'Sid Caesar Invites You', and therefore Tolkin and Brooks did not make the journey to England for the BBC version. South African-born comedian Jeremy Hawk was a regular cast member in the British version, usually playing Caesar's rival or his superior neighbour in the sketches.
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