I have been listening to repeats of I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again (ISIRTA) on Radio 4 Extra. It was the programme that kept me sane, or relatively sane, back in 1968. Having spent years mucking about playing in bands and doing menial jobs, I found myself at university studying Physics and Mathematics to what seemed to be an impossibly high standard.
I soon discovered that several of my student colleagues were also fans of the programme, a zany mix of pun-filled sketches, and other hilarious nonsense.
This is an excerpt from one of the sketches that I remember:
"King Henry VIII was a singular spectacle of a king; he was a monocle. He stood six feet in his socks and the other two feet in his shoes. He was every inch a king and a great ruler..."
We invited John Cleese, one of the performers who had announced in one of the shows that he owned a cat called Hitler, down to Southampton to talk to us. Naturally we were interested in his radio programme; Cleese was more interested to know how ‘radical’ we all were. ‘Do you believe in the abolition of money?’ he asked. We were terminally conventional and must have disappointed him greatly.
However one of our number kept in touch with Cleese in the hope of getting tickets for the next series of ISIRTA. There were to be no more, we were sorry to hear, but he told him that he could give us tickets for a new TV show he was working on. It sound very odd indeed and I nearly didn’t go. After all, what kind of title is Monty Python’s Flying Circus? I don’t like circuses. Well, we went, and I can tell you that I was in the audience during the recording of the Lumberjack song.
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