Not The Nine O'Clock News - 'proper' episodes

Not The Nine O'Clock News. Image shows from L to R: Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson, Rowan Atkinson, Griff Rhys Jones.

Not The Nine O'Clock News

Popular satirical sketch show of the late 70s and early 80s starring Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Pamela Stephenson

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Matt79

  • Friday 27th April 2012, 8:12pm [Edited]
  • Black Country, England
  • 67 posts

I have waited and waited for Not The Nine O'Clock News to get a proper release. All we have had for years are the DVD versions of the mid-90s "The Best Of Not The Nine O'Clock News" videos.

I am 32 and so I am obviously too young to remember Not The Nine O'Clock News the first time round and sadly, my only viewing of the series has been the BBC compilations. But they must have missed out so much. I can imagine there must be some very funny sketches and songs that they didn't include in the compilations.

Considering the status of the series, I am very surprised the BBC have't released all four series.

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RJ

  • Friday 27th April 2012, 10:13pm
  • England
  • 595 posts

From what I gather, John Lloyd just isn't interested in doing it.

Plus, it'll always be a bit of a headache over rights issues (so many writers to credit). Although other open door shows have been released.

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Aaron

  • Saturday 28th April 2012, 12:58am
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,345 posts

Having watched a number of the full original episodes recently, I can imagine it'd be a nightmare to get any kind of rights deal to release the series. Much of it uses video clips from contemporary news reports, which would have to be cleared individually, as well as the writer and performer credits for the dubbing or whatever may have been used over the clips; I imagine there's a big difference in the legality of using video clips of real people in a news report, using them in satire, and using them for direct commercial gain.

I also believe I've read, as RJ suggests, that Lloyd is not that interested. A real shame I think, whatever way one looks at it.

Although, having said that, the heavy topicality of a lot of the material means a lot is no longer funny.

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Matt79

  • Monday 30th April 2012, 9:06pm [Edited]
  • Black Country, England
  • 67 posts
Quote: Aaron @ April 28 2012, 12:58 AM BST

Having watched a number of the full original episodes recently, I can imagine it'd be a nightmare to get any kind of rights deal to release the series. Much of it uses video clips from contemporary news reports, which would have to be cleared individually, as well as the writer and performer credits for the dubbing or whatever may have been used over the clips; I imagine there's a big difference in the legality of using video clips of real people in a news report, using them in satire, and using them for direct commercial gain.

I also believe I've read, as RJ suggests, that Lloyd is not that interested. A real shame I think, whatever way one looks at it.

Although, having said that, the heavy topicality of a lot of the material means a lot is no longer funny.


It is still a shame that the series can't be released, though. There is a very funny song on YouTube that wasn't in the compilation. The song is about the Ayatollah and Billy Connolly is playing him! Pamela Stephenson is dressed in Khaki singing "Ayatollah "Khomeini" closer" :D

I know some of the material wouln't be funny now, although there must be other sketches not in the compilations that are classics. I have heard of a sketch called "Laid in Wales" that was a spoof of the Made in Wales adverts and it was the third spoof - Failed in Wales and Made From Whales were in the compilations, but not Laid in Wales.

There is also one sketch that did make it to the "best of" with Rowan Atkinson advertising a capsule called "Contac 1200" - "a runny nose cannot be prevented but now it can be cured" and Rowan has got 2 huge capsules stuck up his nose! This reminded me of a scene he later did in Blackadder Goes Forth where he has got pencils stuck up his nose!

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Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Thursday 10th May 2012, 5:02pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 16,093 posts

I wish I had recorded the 1979 first series of NTNOCN, which had Chris Langham who was replaced by Griff Rhys Jones as there was a great sketch on Spare Part Surgery where CL (all gowned up) was performing a heart operation and when he realised that the patient's heart was no good he dashed off to the Spare Parts department (as you would get in say in a car dealership).
The chap behind the counter offered him a heart on a metal plate, which he checked by holding two fingers on it and checking it with his watch, but said it was no good. The man behind the counter then became flustered and in getting out another heart accidentally knocked over a tray of eyeballs, which bounced all over the place.
Mayhem ensued as CL rushed back to the operating theatre with the heart he was happy with. Very clever sketch!

I remember the Contact 1200 sketch (which I think I have somewhere), but the one that always stuck in my mind is when Rowan Atkinson appeared as a Martian making contact with planet Earth, and he was using a device that was on the desk in front of him as an electronic interpreter, which converted his Martian gobbledygook into English, but it started to go wrong as the batteries started to run out and so you got bit of "Martian" and English mixed up together and at one point he swore and said he would never buy cheap batteries from Woolworths or some such shop.

Oh, and one other, which was a spoof on the Carling Black Label adverts (some of the best ads ever though - especially the Dambusters one and their spoof on the Old Spice ad):-
Mel Smith and RW or it might have be GRJ were policemen sitting in a squad car by the side of the road, when a car came speeding up the road swerving all over the place, hitting things etc. It then turned round and came back down the road doing much the same thing. Mel & Co just quietly watched it doing this and as it drove past, Mel said "Bet he drinks Carling Black Label" and they set off in pursuit of the drunken driver. Very clever and funny.

As for the copyright issues etc., I think this is just a pathetic excuse to save them having to bother. I have bought DVDs, especially American ones that have many stars, actors, comedians etc. in them - they don't seem to have a problem in the States with issuing shows with both dead and live people in them.
I think we are seriously short-changed in this country, after all it was us that paid for them at the end of the day, but of course in many aspects of broadcasting in this country - the viewer/listener is of no consequence!!!
Arrogance. I think some of these producers want bringing down a peg or two. Laughing out loud Laughing out loud Laughing out loud Laughing out loud Laughing out loud

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Vince W

  • Thursday 10th May 2012, 5:27pm [Edited]
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 27 posts
Quote: RJ @ April 27 2012, 10:13 PM BST

From what I gather, John Lloyd just isn't interested in doing it.

Plus, it'll always be a bit of a headache over rights issues (so many writers to credit). Although other open door shows have been released.


That's a good point, the credit issue must be a f**king nightmare, the first series has one lineup, the rest a completely different one. It was continually changing as well.

I'm 33. I remember watching it repeated on BBC, I had a very awkward moment when they were singing Cunni-Lingus and I didn't know what the word meant and asked my dad who played dumb but then his knowledge of sex he might have been genuine.

Can't stop being embarrassed retrospectively though

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Aaron

  • Thursday 10th May 2012, 5:43pm [Edited]
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,345 posts
Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ May 10 2012, 5:02 PM BST

As for the copyright issues etc., I think this is just a pathetic excuse to save them having to bother. I have bought DVDs, especially American ones that have many stars, actors, comedians etc. in them - they don't seem to have a problem in the States with issuing shows with both dead and live people in them.


The market in the US is very different. It costs far less (comparitively) to produce a DVD release, and there are far, far more customers to make the investment back from and make the venture worthwhile.

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Matt79

  • Thursday 10th May 2012, 6:12pm
  • Black Country, England
  • 67 posts
Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ May 10 2012, 5:02 PM BST

I wish I had recorded the 1979 first series of NTNOCN, which had Chris Langham who was replaced by Griff Rhys Jones as there was a great sketch on Spare Part Surgery where CL (all gowned up) was performing a heart operation and when he realised that the patient's heart was no good he dashed off to the Spare Parts department (as you would get in say in a car dealership).
The chap behind the counter offered him a heart on a metal plate, which he checked by holding two fingers on it and checking it with his watch, but said it was no good. The man behind the counter then became flustered and in getting out another heart accidentally knocked over a tray of eyeballs, which bounced all over the place.
Mayhem ensued as CL rushed back to the operating theatre with the heart he was happy with. Very clever sketch!

I remember the Contact 1200 sketch (which I think I have somewhere), but the one that always stuck in my mind is when Rowan Atkinson appeared as a Martian making contact with planet Earth, and he was using a device that was on the desk in front of him as an electronic interpreter, which converted his Martian gobbledygook into English, but it started to go wrong as the batteries started to run out and so you got bit of "Martian" and English mixed up together and at one point he swore and said he would never buy cheap batteries from Woolworths or some such shop.

Oh, and one other, which was a spoof on the Carling Black Label adverts (some of the best ads ever though - especially the Dambusters one and their spoof on the Old Spice ad):-
Mel Smith and RW or it might have be GRJ were policemen sitting in a squad car by the side of the road, when a car came speeding up the road swerving all over the place, hitting things etc. It then turned round and came back down the road doing much the same thing. Mel & Co just quietly watched it doing this and as it drove past, Mel said "Bet he drinks Carling Black Label" and they set off in pursuit of the drunken driver. Very clever and funny.

As for the copyright issues etc., I think this is just a pathetic excuse to save them having to bother. I have bought DVDs, especially American ones that have many stars, actors, comedians etc. in them - they don't seem to have a problem in the States with issuing shows with both dead and live people in them.
I think we are seriously short-changed in this country, after all it was us that paid for them at the end of the day, but of course in many aspects of broadcasting in this country - the viewer/listener is of no consequence!!!
Arrogance. I think some of these producers want bringing down a peg or two. Laughing out loud Laughing out loud Laughing out loud Laughing out loud Laughing out loud


These sketches sound very funny and it is criminal how the proper series still hasn't been released. I agree that the copyright issues seem more like an excuse, the BBC haven't done many decent releases in recent years and I personally find it annoying how they send so many classic shows to Playback who can sometimes really cock up the release (as they did with Citizen Smith, such as wrong episode titles and putting the pilot at the start of the DVDs rather than an a special feature).

Hopefully, GOLD might one day repeat Not The Nine O'Clock News in full. Their programme range seems quite limited at the minute. They seem to show so much of Only Fools and Horses, The Vicar Of Dibley and One Foot In the Grave.

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Aaron

  • Thursday 10th May 2012, 6:18pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,345 posts

Putting the pilot at the start is a very correct thing to do. Buggering up titles certainly is not!

In defence of Playback however (might be the only time I'll ever say that), they've largely stuck to what they're supplied with, so many of the 'issues' could be down to the BBC. True, however, that they could have done a little bit of research and avoided confusion.

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Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Friday 11th May 2012, 10:25am
  • England
  • 16,093 posts
Quote: Aaron @ May 10 2012, 5:43 PM BST

The market in the US is very different. It costs far less (comparitively) to produce a DVD release, and there are far, far more customers to make the investment back from and make the venture worthwhile.


Costs versus a bigger market, I grant you, but copyright is exactly that surely whatever country you are in, and I would have thought it would have been more of an issue in the States than over here.
I used to be in communication with the BBC and ITV in the early 1970s and the message was then, that there wasn't a hope in hell of progs. being issued on VHS using the same "excuse" of copyright.
In the early days of the Tony Hancock Society (of which I was a founder member) we tried and tried to get tapes released that our members did not possess, but the rights issue was resolved with Roger Hancock (his brother) and now all is well.
But as I have said before - we paid for these, so what about our rights?

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Matt79

  • Friday 11th May 2012, 12:11pm [Edited]
  • Black Country, England
  • 67 posts
Quote: Aaron @ May 10 2012, 6:18 PM BST

Putting the pilot at the start is a very correct thing to do. Buggering up titles certainly is not!

In defence of Playback however (might be the only time I'll ever say that), they've largely stuck to what they're supplied with, so many of the 'issues' could be down to the BBC. True, however, that they could have done a little bit of research and avoided confusion.


I know what you mean about how they could have done research. Sorry to go off the subject, but the pilot of Citizen Smith is basically the same as Series 1 Episode 1 with slight dialogue differences and a Welsh actor playing Shirley's Dad (as well as their last name being Jones instead of Johnson), so really this pilot should have been a special feature as it is just an early (and inferior) version of the "proper" first episode.

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Aaron

  • Friday 11th May 2012, 12:16pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,345 posts
Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ May 11 2012, 10:25 AM BST

Costs versus a bigger market, I grant you, but copyright is exactly that surely whatever country you are in, and I would have thought it would have been more of an issue in the States than over here.


One would have thought so - but in fact the UK has some of the strongest copyright and IP laws in the world, and the studios and distribution companies seem to have much more relative clout in the US than they do here.

Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ May 11 2012, 10:25 AM BST

I used to be in communication with the BBC and ITV in the early 1970s and the message was then, that there wasn't a hope in hell of progs. being issued on VHS using the same "excuse" of copyright.


I believe that was the case at the time. But as with music clearance in recent years (noted above), lots of work was done to clear up those ownership quibbles, re-negotiate contracts and clear all the niggly rights issues, once the market became more lucrative and it was in the BBC's interests to do so.

Quote: Matt79 @ May 11 2012, 12:11 PM BST

I know what you mean about how they could have done research. Sorry to go off the subject, but the pilot of Citizen Smith is basically the same as Series 1 Episode 1 with slight dialogue differences and a Welsh actor playing Shirley's Dad (as well as their last name being Jones instead of Johnson), so really this pilot should have been a special feature as it is just an early (and inferior) version of the "proper" first episode.


Ah, that's a good point actually, yes. I do get very annoyed when a pilot is a separate feature generally, but in that case, yes I agree, it might've been a little better for it to be separate.