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That Was the Week That Was

BBC (ended 1963)


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That Was the Week That Was

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Welcome to the That Was the Week That Was guide at TV.com. NOTE: Although the notional length of the programme was 50 minutes, the show's actual length varied wildly. Some weeks it was allotted 30 minutes but ran for 40 or more; most weeks its official slot was 50 minutes but since they had the luxury of being the last show on at night with nothing following (except for the first three weeks of season two, when a late film was scheduled afterward with the deliberate intention of forcing TW3 to end on time - a ploy which TW3 fought back against by giving away the ending of the film during their show), it didn't matter if they ran over, so frequently they did, stretching the 50-minute slot to anything up to an hour and a half.
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  • Satire, comment and irreverence on the preceding week's news - all done live and without inhibition.

    Nearly fifty years later, there's no way any more to convey to people just how revolutionary this show was. It changed British television forever, and there are people to this day who have never forgiven it. Done live, with new script material often being written as the show was unfolding, this was an open-ended and fearlessly rude satire programme, the very last show of the week on the BBC, and thus often stretching cheerfully into the small hours of Sunday morning. It wasn't always as funny as it thought it was, and sometimes items were under-rehearsed; but its total inability to be impressed by the leaders of society, or by the various taboos and conventions of the day, was utterly tonic. The BBC was terrified of it, and cancelled the show only a few weeks into its second season. Shame on them.moreless