The Comedians, 1971

It’s hard to believe this show is almost fifty years old, yet the simple format it used is still been used today on shows such as Live At The Apollo.

The Comedians was the brainchild of legendary TV producer Johnnie Hamp.  He devised the simple concept of comedian, microphone and an audience.  The series has a great back story and we were lucky enough in 2011 before his retirement Johnnie Hamp himself told us how it all came about and the huge success of those early days.  You can read that story in two parts from these links.

Comedians each performed 20-minute sets, which were then edited together into half-hour shows. Each edition featured up to ten stand-up comics.

The show enjoyed huge success in it’s day and between 1971 and 1985 during it’s first run it notched up an impressive seventy three shows over eleven series.  During that time there were even two Christmas Specials and a sell out run of shows at The London Palladium.

The series was briefly resurrected in 1992 under the title “The New Comedians” running for just five shows.  Many of the original cast re-united in 1993 for The Comedians Christmas Cracker.  This was the last time they appeared together on TV.

After TV

A 40th Anniversary run of shows was held in the Blackpool Grand Theatre during the summer of 2011 and in 2016 four of the surviving comics took to the stage once again in Blackpool to film a special DVD.

Summary

Simple.  A TV studio, a microphone and an audience.  After a musical intro from Shep’s Banjo Boys comedians would step up to the mic and do what they did best – tell jokes.

Comedians each performed 20-minute sets, which were then edited together into half-hour shows. Each edition featured up to ten stand-up comics.

Clips

 

 

 

 

 

The Comedians

Many stars of the show became household names as a result of The Comedians.  Here’s just a few names

Bernard Manning
Frank Carson
Ken Goodwin
Jim Bowen
Duggie Brown
Mick Miller
Stan Boardman
Colin Crompton
Charlie Williams
Russ Abbott

Details

Channel: ITV
Devised By: Johnnie Hamp
Produced By: Johnnie Hamp and Ian Hamilton
Original transmission Dates:
12th July 1971 – 16th March 1974 (series 1 – 7}
21st  July 1979 – 15th February 1980 (series 8&9)
2nd June 1984 – 6 July 1985 (series 10&11)
9th June – 23rd July 1992 (series 12, broadcast as The New Comedians)

Specials 

The Comedians’ Christmas Party – 24th December 1971
Christmas Special – 22nd December 1973
The Comedians’ Christmas Cracker – 28th December 1993

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