Original Transmission – 10th April 1971
Written by Tim Brooke-Taylor, Barry Cyer, Eric Idle, Chris Miller, Spike Mullins, David Nobbs, Michael Palin & Terry Jones, Bill Solly, Peter Vincent, Dick Vosburgh, Gerald Wiley
Party Sketch – Ronnie B finds it impossible not to keep attacking Ronnie C
Tina Charles – River Deep, Mountain High
Ronnie B Solo – A Doctor who has a cure for people who say everything twice
Hampton Wick – Episode One
Ronnie C – Interpol Sketch
New World – Rose Garden
Ronnie C in the Chair
Hearing Aid Sketch
Big Jim Jehosophat and Fat Belly Jones
Notes: Although the Ronnies had worked together for a number of years prior to this, there’s still a slight sense of nervousness on show (especially in Ronnie B’s case). This is evident in the opening news items which seem more than a little stilled – although the weird set design (angled desks) and CSO back projections don’t help. This would be swiftly amended for show two.
The first of many party sketches finds Ronnie B in an abusive mood, first slapping Ronnie C’s face and then kneeing him in the groin! And since the slaps sound real it seems that Ronnie B wasn’t holding back.
Some of the Ronnies serials tend to drag a bit and Hampton Wick is the first example of this. Luckily Madeline Smith’s winsome beauty is some recompense for the fairly laboured comedy.
These early series have an abundance of guests (later on they’d be pared down to just a single guest spot). The sixteen-year old Tina Charles impressively belts out River Deep, Mountain High whilst New World offer a blend of laid-back acoustic warbling that’s rather relaxing – although the moustaches and hairstyles on display make it a little hard to take them seriously. But Rose Garden was a hit for them in 1971, reaching no 15 in the UK charts.
As for Alfredo, well he’s the first in a series of speciality acts who pop up in most of the series one shows. Where else are you going to see a man dressed in German military uniform playing the drums and (sometimes) catching ping pong balls in his mouth? If that’s not entertainment I don’t know what is.