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All our Yesterdays

Do Not Adjust Your Set
By Martin Kelner on May 30, 2002 - 2:32:00 PM

All Our Yesterdays
Article dated: Thursday 30 May 2002
Do Not Adjust Your Set

What a revelation this programme turned out to be. Broadcast during what was still thought of as Children's Hour in those days, to the uninitiated it promised the kind of desperate wackiness producers seem to think children demand; primary colours and excessive mugging. The determinedly off-the-wall title did not augur well either, but the presence of Vivian Stanshall and his magnificent Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band drew in some older teenagers, who not only enjoyed Neil Innes's sharp musical parodies and Stanshall's eccentricity, but hung around for the sketches of Terry Jones and Michael Palin, as well as some Terry Gilliam animations, a full two years before Monty Python.

A young David Jason starred alongside the future Pythons as a character called Captain Fantastic. His scenes, usually in tandem with the underrated Denise Coffey, tended to be more or less conventional children's TV business, unlike Eric Idle's contributions to the show which were genuinely ground-breaking.

Idle took other well-established television genres and subverted them, usually playing a smoothie presenter, who starts off as Mr Reasonable, but gradually becomes more and more manic, a role he honed to perfection in Python. This kind of thing had been done before - notably in Peter Cook's Not Only But Also - but never on children's television.

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