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RDJ2,656 posts since 25 Oct 2003
Central (South) Midlands Today
Very sad news.

Early (or comparatively late) in his career he was a script writer for the David Frost vehicle That Was The Week That Was. So satire was his thing.

But he'd obviously be most remembered for It'll Be Alright On The Night. Most of my sentiments are echoed from what I posted a few weeks ago when the David Walliams version aired.

You might not have found Denis to be that funny, heck he'd even acknowledge that himself. BBC Breakfast this morning played an entire monologue from IBAOTN 10 where he freely admits "we have 100's of brand new clips, but unfortunately I'm the price you pay between the funny bits".

And the infamous "Hello, or if you fast forward me to get to the funny bits, Goodbye."

But let me tell you, you get rid of the monologues and it's not the same. You find that he is good buffer material so it's not just overkill of a whole plethora of bloopers one after the other that you grow tired of (like other more recent shows have made the mistake in doing). He knew what he was doing. He'd let the clips do the speaking.

Denis's influence went much further than his monologues. He along with the production team hand picked the funniest clips and were ordered in such a way to keep the canter up. The audience in the studio as well as at home found each clip just as hilarious. And they were edited in such a way to make the funny bits hilarious.

In an era without the internet, he'd even go to the effort to go to far flung countries where english is far from their native language, but you don't need to understand what they're saying to find it funny.

The title is ironic, the music was classy, the style just all came part and parcel to make the show just not another flash in the pan cheap bloopers show. It was the first and it's been the best.

Denis spoke of his distaste of more recent blooper shows and that you can second guess exactly what's going to happen. You can read all this up in his obituary here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25738224

It was the Blue Peter Elephant that started it all as an idea for the show for Denis. And his favourite clip ever was Paul Hendy going up to a member of the public to ask "Are you peckish?" to respond... "No I'm Turkish".

What he did lasted 29 years until his retirement and multiple editions, including the Laughter File. It shows the legacy he had that the show itself has lasted over 40 years and we've got him to thank for that. A sad loss.
Last edited by RDJ on 19 September 2018 7:15am
Central News South
January 9th 1989 - December 3rd 2006
Steve Williams2,671 posts since 1 Aug 2008
All The Best From Denis Norden - his final show for ITV - is airing tonight at 2245

That's good news. Really sad about this, I think Denis was the first "grown-up" comedy person I really liked. And Alright on the Night used to be my favourite show on telly, I would faithfully watch the repeats no matter how many times I'd seen them, to the stage I could recite Denis' script along with him. They always used to use it as a spoiler for a new show on BBC1.

Indeed, there was that time in 1995 where they repeated The Utterly Worst of Alright on the Night and then a week later, repeated Alright 6 - where about 75% of the clips in the Utterly Worst were taken from so the shows were virtually identical. They got loads of complaints and the following week, when they repeated Alright 7, it was preceded by a new introduction by Denis saying "Don't worry, none of these clips have been on for ages!"

Here's my attempt to catalogue every clip show he did in what I'm calling the Clipboard Collection...
Alright on the Night (1-20, plus various Worsts, Kids, Late and 10th, 21st and 25th anniversary specials)
Laughter File (1-13)
Ten Years of London Weekend (the first Alright-style show, back in 1978)
Denis Norden's World of Television (which I've never seen, but I think it was basically the pilot for Clive James on Television)
21 Years of Laughter (comedy clips for LWT's 21st birthday)
30 Years of Laughter (the same, nine years later)
With Hilarious Consquences (the same, but for Thames - his only show for Thames)
40 Years of ITV Laughter (the same, but with clips from all ITV companies)
Pick of the Pilots (a series of clips of crap American TV shows)
Denis Norden's Trailer Cinema (the same, but with crap films)
Laughter By Royal Command (clips from Royal Variety shows)
A Right Royal Song and Dance (the same, a few years later)
And The Winner Is (clips from award shows)
Denis Norden's Laughter of a Lifetime (his favourite comedy clips - I remember he said in it how much he liked Jerry Seinfeld and Garry Shandling but of the two, "I've always been a Shandling man!")
All The Best for Denis Norden (as we know, his final best of everything show from Christmas 2006)

I think that's all of them - isn't it?
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Neil Jones5,205 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
I was about to assume they couldn't repeat any of his clip shows because of rights issues, but if they ITV seem to be able to repeat All The Best, what holds back AOTN and Laughter File? Or is it a case by case basis?

They probably can, they just don't want to. They may come round, I mean Tommy Cooper was one of ITV's most successful stars in the 1970s, yet apart from tribute and flashback programmes made regularly after 1984, an episode of his Thames or LWT shows was rarely if ever seen. It's only been fairly recently he's popped up again, albeit on ITV4.

All The Best is a more recent programme and falls under ITV plc so they'll probably automatically own all the rights and what not to air it at near enough immediate notice, whereas Norden Alright on The Night was LWT until just after the merger so it probably needs more work to get into a state to air.
kernow1,222 posts since 18 Jan 2006
I was about to assume they couldn't repeat any of his clip shows because of rights issues, but if they ITV seem to be able to repeat All The Best, what holds back AOTN and Laughter File? Or is it a case by case basis?

There have been regular repeats of the Griff era of It'll Be Alright on the Night over the last few years, so can't see any reason why they can't repeat the Denis Norden episodes, but one factor will be that nowadays there's certain people that can't be shown on TV anymore.

Given that it started in the 70s, this may affect certain episodes of It'll Be Alright on the Night, and it would require resources for these to be checked and edited before screening.

I'm assuming that All The Best from Denis Norden has been checked for suitability for broadcast, and edited as necessary.