It's A Mad World World World World

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It's A Mad World World World World

In 1989-1991, four writer-performers, Tim Firth, Tim De Jongh (aka Tim Scott), Mike Smith (aka Michael Rutger after his favourite film star)) and William Vandyck recorded two radio series for BBC Radio 4, called “And Now In Colour”. A TV pilot was shot under the same name, consisting of a central story (mainly scripted by Firth), with sketches by the group. This pilot was produced in 1991 by David Tyler and directed by Simon Spencer.

Although it wasn’t taken up by the BBC, the group showed enough promise for another (transmittable) pilot to be commissioned, written by the same team, and retaining the performances of Tim De Jongh and William Vandyck, but augmented by Alistair McGowan, Flip Webster and a newcomer to the comedy scene, from Manchester, Caroline Aherne.

Shot partly on location and partly in the studio, the show again featured a central story - a hostage stake-out that turns farcical - with intermittent sketches. Highlights included a ponderous Late Show-style Arts feature on a poet who writes those dreadful verses in birthday cards, and a Temptation Of Christ sketch where the Devil offers Jesus the chance to pop the foil on a new jar of Nescafe. There was also a True-Lives style psychodrama enacted entirely by Subbuteo men, and a James Bond title sequence as if sung by Richard Stilgoe as a clever acrostic-

“Oh, “J” is for the jungle into which he’s dropped at first...
“A” is for the alligator near whom he’s immersed...”

etc etc

Alas, although well-received by the critics, the pilot was never taken up, and the team split up; William Vandyck reappeared as the host of King Stupid, Tim Firth is now an established playwright and film writer - (“Neville’s Island”, “The Flint Street Nativity”, “All Quiet On The Preston Front”, “Calendar Girls”), Michael Smith metamorphosed into best-selling horror write Michael Marshall Smith and Alistair McGowan and Caroline Aherne were, of course, never heard of again, except by everybody in the world.

The title, by the way, is possibly one of the most awkward ever devised, being a rather introspective play on the 60’s US film farce It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World”. But it’s better than the other nearly candidate, “Half A Sixp”.

It's A Mad World World World World

And Now In Colour

1st TV Pilot - Recorded 25/7/91

StarringTim Firth
Tim De Jongh
William Vandyck
Mike Smith
Written byTim Firth
Tim De Jongh
William Vandyck
Mike Smith
Directed bySimon Spencer
Produced byDavid Tyler

"It’s A Mad World World World World"

 First Tx: 25/5/93 BBC Two

StarringCaroline Aherne
Tim De Jongh
Alistair McGowan
William Vandyck
Flip Webster
Written byTim De Jongh
Tim Firth
aka Michael RutgerMike Smith
William Vandyck

Pete Baikie

Triffic Films

Design Assistant
Rachel Headey

Make-Up Designer
Heather Squire

Costume Designer
Anna Stubley

Special Effects Designer
Andy McVean

Location Camera
Bill Broomfield

Camera Assistant
Hugh Adams

Location Sound
Simon Wilson

Max Foster

Dave May

Resource Technical Co-ordinator
Phil Dean

Alison Jagger

Assistant Floor Manager
Ali Caron

Vision Mixer
Heather Gilder

Camera Supervisor
Gerry Tivers

Sound Supervisor
Laurie Taylor

Lighting Director
Graham Rimmington

Les Stevenson

Production Manager
Murray Peterson

Directed byGeoff Posner
Produced byDavid Tyler

It's A Mad World World World World

The show involved a running storyline about a hostage stake-out. You can take a look at the first part of the script by clicking here.

"Mad World World World World" was shown once on the BBC to really rather good reviews, but alas, not seen since. But the people who worked on it all have web links - here are some of them....

Learn more about William Vandyck here

This is Tim Firth's official and grown-up website

Mike Smith aka Mike Rutger metamorphosed into the horror writer Michael Marshall Smith and you can click here for his website

Check out Alistair McGowan's big impressive CV!

And click here to read more about Caroline Aherne

Other shows in GEOFF & DAVID ...