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World According to Smith and Jones, The

HERE’S A weird one. Mel & Griff temporarily decamp from the BBC to earn big bucks from Dyke Towers for routine effort in the Spitting Image/Clive James Sunday slot, revisiting history via means of clips from crappy old films linked with terrible one-liners written by a third-rate script team led by main Roland Rat writer Colin Bostock-Smith. Pathetic main gag revolved around the fact that every week, one of the hapless 50s B-movie actors resembled Smith. Jones: “Just stop that there…look, it’s Mel!” Smith: “It doesn’t look anything like me”. And running jokes about Keith Chegwin (in clips from Children’s Film Foundation classic Young Robin Hood) and the same stock footage of a bloke shooting an arrow turning up in hundreds of films. But the main (only) point of interest concerns the fact that they made 12 shows, but after ITV screened the first block of six, Smith and Jones made a new series for BBC, in which they almightily took the piss out of their ITV efforts (“A Load Of Old Jokes According To Smith And Jones”) and sent up the Mel-lookalike gag, perhaps in order to conceal their shame and embarrassment. But then ITV screened the second set of six, ostensibly as a new series, making S&J look like a pair of hypocritical tossers. And how they deserved it for making the fiasco in the first place.



  1. Matty

    September 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I have the strangest memories of this show, or rather one episode of it (the “Crime” one, for those who remember) that we had taped accidentally after leaving the VCR on “record” whilst taping a film of some sort. Like much “adult” fare we kids lapped it up and watching it dozens of times, in that weird way you do with anything you record when you’re a kid, with its stupid “looks a bit like…” jokes and daft observations. Years later I discovered that quite a few of the clips were taken from old Ed Wood movies and were therefore quite funny anyway without explanatory humour. Something that sticks in my mind was a scene where a blonde girl with a severe expression and a cigarette between her fingers was being given a talking-to in some melodrama and told that “one day, you might be able to open a small hatshop”. Griff (I think) dropped the punchline that it looked like Margaret Thatcher with “yes, it’s Faggie Maggie!” followed by teh satries about it explaining why she ran the country like a small hatshop.

  2. Richardpd

    December 31, 2023 at 10:02 pm

    I remember many years later Griff Rhys-Jones made a series looking at old visions of the future, poking fun at some of the more outlandish ideas.

    Each week Griff would fly away at the end in an obvious model autogyro complete with string pulling it up!

    I think it was a cheap filler series on BBC2 which was never repeated.

  3. Droogie

    January 3, 2024 at 1:49 pm

    I loved Smith & Jones, but this was rotten. I remember one show had a medical theme and they used several clips from Lindsay Anderson’s Britannia Hospital. This had recently been screened on Channel 4 and I remember thinking how lazy they were getting cheap laughs from a film that was meant to be a humorous satire in the first place.

  4. Richardpd

    January 3, 2024 at 10:14 pm

    Mel & Griff seemed to take a while to get things on an even keel, starring in the dubiously titled Morons from Outer Space (not seen it, but it sounds bad!) in the mid 1980s. Luckily Alas Smith & Jones soon became a staple of comedy on BBC2 & were promoted to BBC1 after dropping the Alas.

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