Alas Smith and Jones

1984 | United Kingdom

British sketch comedy show that followed hot on the heels of Not The Nine O'Clock News which also featured the programme's stars, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. 

The programme's format borrowed elements from some of Britain's best known double act series and in doing so Smith and Jones quickly established themselves as firm favourites. Each episode would begin with the duo appearing in front of the studio audience to introduce the show (a la Morecambe and Wise) before giving way to a succession of quick-fire sketches (The Two Ronnies). 

One of the best remembered sections of the show was the 'head-to-head' where Smith, the idiot who knew everything, would attempt to explain something straightforward to Jones, the idiot who knew nothing (shades of the Dagenham Dialogues of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore). The title of the show itself was a pun of the American TV Western series Alias Smith and Jones. As well as having a great team of comedy writers that included Clive Anderson, Mark Steel, Andy Hamilton, Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, Smith and Jones heavily contributed their own material. 

After several seasons the show was simply retitled Smith and Jones and moved into independent production - one of the first to be commissioned by the BBC from an independent company, Talkback Productions, of which Smith and Jones were also directors.

Published on November 27th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.