End Of Part One (ITV, 1979-1980)
End Of Part One was a rather strange comedy sketch show that was shown on ITV before my time and I first became aware of it when I saw some clips on TV Ark and some intriguing descriptions of sketches on TV Cream. It was a show that parodied a lot of television shows around at the time, but also adverts and LWT in-vision continuity, including a lot of taking the mickey out of the announcers!
The show was the first TV work by Andrew Marshall and David Renwick, who had previously worked on a BBC Radio 4 show together called The Burkiss Way. As well as End Of Part One, they then went on to create the equally odd ITV comedy shows Whoops Apocalypse and The Steam Video Company, and I’ll be reviewing both of those too soon. They then went their separate ways and among other things created the classic comedies 2point4 Children and One Foot In The Grave, shows that seem to be conventional sitcoms at first but have a twist to them.
The first series of End Of Part One featured the characters Vera and Norman Straightman who were always having to deal with the bizarre interruptions from TV personalities. Among the cast were Sue “Marlene” Holderness and Fred Harris which seems to be something of a surprise as he was better known for presenting children’s TV shows at the time. But he did put in a good performance and it is well known that he doesn’t like to work with amateurs.
I was very pleased when Network finally released both series on DVD after hearing so much about it and I was very impressed with what I saw. There were parodies of shows such as The Generation Game and World Of Sport featuring great impressions of Larry Grayson and Dickie Davies and the attention to detail in these spoofs really was terrific. There was also a live studio audience but it is difficult to know what they made of what they were seeing. A lot of the laughter seems to be more bemused than amused.
The episodes seemed to get odder as they went on, with various things such as the credits being run at the wrong time and messing about with the LWT ident at the start, even showing the BBC2 one instead in one episode. One of the strangest things of all about the show though was the scheduling. LWT didn’t really seem to know what to do with it and both series were shown on Sunday afternoons, with the first series being shown at 5:30, and the second series being shown at a ridiculous 4pm, although in other regions the times did vary. This meant that barely anyone saw it at the time much to the frustration of the writers and it is very difficult to imagine what anyone thought of it. I am a fan of the show though.