Rutland Weekend Television

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BBC Two (ended 1976)

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Rutland Weekend Television

Show Summary

In the early 1970s, while he wrote and performed for BBC-1's Monty Python's Flying Circus, Eric Idle conjured up a BBC Radio One series. He called it Radio Five in the days when the BBC had but four radio networks. The production facilities were so crude and the budget so cheap that Idle had to work the skin off his bones to do virtually every part. So when Monty Python's Flying Circus stopped, Idle was eager to do a new comedy-music series for BBC-2. As with Radio Five, the facilities and the budgets were to be absurdly cheap. Idle called his series Rutland Weekend Television, or RWT, after Britain's tiniest county, a county absorbed into Leicestershire before the series got on the air. Idle called on his good friend Neil Innes, former member of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, to help put Rutland Weekend Television together. Innes wrote and performed songs (as did Idle). But Rutland Weekend Television did come at a hefty price. Because the BBC would not pay Idle to do the show, Idle demanded to have the American rights to the series. As a consequence, Idle never released Rutland Weekend Television to the States in any format. The lone break in the wall was the clip of "the fabulous Rutles" performing the song I Must Be In Love. This was the opening bit of an imagined rockumentary on the alternate Beatles. Idle showed this clip the first time he hosted Saturday Night Live. It impressed producer Lorne Michaels to a great extent. When Idle said he was planning to do a full-length Rutles documentary, Lorne Michaels convinced him to work in tandem with NBC's penchant for a large budget. The result was The Rutles: All You Need is Cash, which remains a cult classic.moreless
Eric Idle

Eric Idle

Various Roles

Gwen Taylor

Gwen Taylor

Various Roles (1976)

Henry Woolf

Henry Woolf

Various Roles

David Battley

David Battley

Various Roles

Neil Innes

Neil Innes

Various Roles

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