Alas Smith and Jones, 1984
Alas Smith and Jones was the comedy sketch show featuring the talents of Mel Smith and Gryff Rhys Jones, previously known for their work on Not The Nine O’ Clock News. It ran for 62 episodes between 1984 and 1998, totalling 10 series. From 1989 to 1992 and 1995 to 1998, it was called Smith and Jones.
In 1987 (between Series 3 & 4), the duo went on London Weekend Television for The World According To Smith & Jones. The BBC were furious and came close to cancelling Alas Smith and Jones, reviews were mixed as critics were unsure what to make of it. Smith and Rhys Jones soon appeared back with the BBC for a fourth series later that year. Despite the criticism, The World According To Smith & Jones returned for a second series in 1988, and then flashed from the schedules without a repeat (unlike Series 1, which was repeated in battle against the BBC in late 1987).
In 1985 they were the big name in comedy and appeared on stage as policemen in a brief sketch as part of LIve Aid.
Following on from the success of The Two Ronnies show of the same name, in 2006 Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones returned for The Smith and Jones Sketchbook, recorded in front of a live audience acting as a look back at their earlier shows.
Not unlike Not The Nine O’Clock News, some of the sketches used taboo-breaking material in questionable taste (as well as bad language), and also featured head-to-head ‘duologues’ between Smith and Jones. The head-to-head sketches were very much in the mould of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore – Smith was the idiot who knew everything, Jones the idiot who knew nothing.
Griff Rhys Jones
Writers included: Clive Anderson, Colin Bostock-Smith and Andy Hamilton
Original Transmission Dates: 31 January 1984 – 14 October 1998