Standard apology for newsreader
s on the BBC
Imagine my surprise then, when dialing into my public radio station
on its radio drama night hoping to find X Minus 1 or ZBS'
The Fourth Tower of Inverness, I heard a raucous half-hour of zaniness filled with Pythonesque humor,
with a live audience roaring at familiar characters and outrageously painful puns.
"Ulysses, on the way here I saw a sign from the heavens,
the storm was so fierce it knocked down your tent."
"What does it mean?"
"It was a poor tent."
The Python connection became clear once the credits were read (with several barbs
at producer Humphrey Barclay): the cast featured Cambridge Footlights alumni
, David Hatch, Jo Kendall, and future Goodies Tim Brooke-Taylor
, Bill Oddie
, and Graeme Garden
(The original cast had Anthony Buffery instead of Garden).
First broadcast on BBC Radio in 1964, announced as "an extravaganza specially written for the wireless
by several persons and featuring a number of performers."
It ran for eleven series before the team split up.
ISIRTA gradually acquired several distinguishing features, including the Angus Prune Tune,
regular characters (Brooke-Taylor's Lady Constance de Coverlet, Cleese and Kendall as soap opera couple John and Mary, and Oddie's manservant Grimbling),
and a semi-regular format.
The first half of the show usually had sketches and jokes.
Next was a bizarre song by Bill Oddie (e.g. "God Bless the Ferrets of Olde England"),
and the second half usually featured one long sketch, either the Prune Play of the Week,
(a satire on a classic film, play, or epic) or a serial,
such as "The Curse of the Flying Wombat" in the fourth season.
The show was produced at various times by Humphrey Barclay, David Hatch,
Bob Oliver Rogers and Peter Titheradge.
There was an album released in 1967 by EMI (UK, Australia) and Capitol (US), entitled I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again.
SIDE ONE: The Auctioneer; The Day After Tomorrow's World; The Doctor; Blimpht; John and Mary; Robin Hood
SIDE TWO: Identikit Gal; Baby Talk; Family Favorites; The Curse of the Flying Wombat; Closing/Angus Prune Tune