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Complete And Utter History Of Britain, The (ITV 1969, Michael Palin, Terry Jones)



Sketch series The Complete And Utter History Of Britain was written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. It did as the title said but from the point of view that TV was around at all the important dates of history, with such treats as interviews in the dressing room after the batle of Hastings. This was an idea that the duo had used as a single sketch in the series Twice A Fortnight. Very much the sort of thing Horrible Histories would do many years later.

There were such delights as Samuel Pepys presenting his own chat show and Caesar looking at his home movies of his British Invasion.

Palin and Jones also starred and were assisted by Wallis Eaton, Colin Gordon, Roddy Maude-Roxby, Melinda May, Ted Carson, Colin Cunningham, John Hughman and Johnny Vyvyan.

Not much of the series is still in existence, just the first episode and some filmed inserts and originally 7 episodes were filmed but the first two were combined.

Palin and Jones were very busy in this period just prior to Monty Python kicking off. They were working on not just but also Do Not Adjust Your Set and Frost on Saturday as well as other bits and pieces.

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 6×25 minute episodes / 1969 12 January – 16 February Sundays 10.45pm

Writers: Michael Palin, Terry Jones / Producer: Humphrey Barclay / Director: Maurice Murphy

1. From The Dawn Of History To The Normal Conquest (12 Jan 1969)
2. Richard The Lionheart To Robin The Hood (19 Jan 1969)
3. Edward The First To Richard The Last (26 Jan 1969)
4. Perkin Warbeck To Bloody Mary (2 Feb 1969)
5. The Great And Glorious Age Of Elizabeth (9 Feb 1969)
6. James The McFirst To Oliver Cromwell (16 Feb 1969)