The Comedians - 1970's

The Comedians is a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_television show of the 1970s (later reprised in the mid 1980s and early 1990s) which was produced by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnnie_Hamp of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granada_Television. The show gave a stage to nightclub and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_men%27s_club comedians of the era, including https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russ_Abbot, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lennie_Bennett, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Boardman, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Bowen, Jimmy Bright, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duggie_Brown, Mike Burton, Dave Butler, Brian Carroll, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Carson, Jimmy Cricket, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Crompton, Charlie Daze, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vince_Earl, Steve Faye, Eddie Flanagan, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stu_Francis, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Goodwin_%28comedian%29, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Hamilton, Jerry Harris, George King, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Knutt, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Manning, Paul Melba, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Miller_%28comedian%29, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_O%27Connor_%28comedian%29, Tom Pepper, Bryn Phillips, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Reid_%28entertainer%29, Mike McCabe, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Roper, Harry Scott, Sammy Thomas, Johnny Wager, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Walker, Charlie Williams, Lee Wilson and Lenny Windsor.


Also featured on the TV show, were Shep's Banjo Boys, a 7-piece band
comprising (for the first 5 series) Charlie Bentley (tenor banjo), Andy
Holdorf (trombone), John Drury (sousaphone), John Orchard (piano), John
Rollings (drums), Graham Shepherd (banjo) and Howard Shepherd (lead
banjo)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Comedians_%28TV_series%29#.
In 1973 the line up was Howard "Shep" Shepherd (lead banjo), Graham
Shepherd and Mike Dexter (banjos), Tony Pritchard (trombone), Tony
"Tosh" Kennedy (sousaphone) and Ged Martin (drums)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Comedians_%28TV_series%29#.
The Comedians began as an experiment for Granada TV. Filmed before a live audience in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester,
comics each performed 20-minute sets, which were then edited together
into half-hour shows. Each edition featured up to ten stand-up comics.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_men%27s_club are numerous in Britain, especially in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_East_England and have been a useful training ground for artists, especially comedians. Most of these clubs are affiliated to the CIU (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_Men%27s_Club_and_Insti) founded in 1862 by the Rev. Henry Solly. There are also political clubs, as well as Servicemen's Clubs affiliated to the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_British_Legion.


It was remarkably popular during the earlier series. An https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramophone_record#Common_forma recording of the show reached the best-seller charts, several sell-out national tours followed, including a season at the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Palladium, and the programme won the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critics%27_Circle Award.


The comedy frequently took the form of anecdotes or jokes and often involved https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexism stereotypes. Like other British comedy successes of the day, notably, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Thy_Neighbour,
this kind of entertainment was acceptable on British television during
this period but would not be so today. Viewing the series in retrospect
it stands as a major social document of the times.

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