History of Rutland Weekend Television

What did Eric Idle right after Monty Python? Rutland Weekend Television. Harmon and Scott dive into the history behind the 1975 cult TV show that was responsible for launching the legendary Beatles parody: The Rutles. Idle teamed with musician Neal Innes - from the Bonzo Dog (Doo-Dah) Band - who was considered the seventh member of Monty Python and crooned songs in Monty Python in the Holy Grail.

Rutland Weekend Television (RWT) was a television sketch show on BBC2 that was written by Eric Idle with music by Neil Innes. The show lasted for two series; with six episodes filmed for the first series in 1975, and seven episodes for the second series in 1976. A Christmas special was also produced and broadcasted on Boxing Day 1975.

Monty Python's Flying Circus had just ended the year before. And Eric Idle was the first of the Pythons to have his own comedy series. (Faulty Towers ran later in 1975.) The production studio for the show was tiny. The cast and crew had to carry the entire set up flights of stairs before each filming.

The premise of RWT was that the show was  "Britain's smallest television network," and broadcasted from England's smallest county, Rutland. The pairing of Innes and Idle meant a lot of funny musical parodies - such as The Gay Whistle Test:

Did you know that former Beatles member, George Harrison, played a role in Rutland Weekend Television; as a pirate? Also, the bands Toad the Wet Sprocket and Death Cab for Cutie - got their names from references connected to the show.

A segment on Rutland Weekend Television later spun off into the full-length mockumentary, The Rutles.

In 2002, there was a sequel to The Rutles called Can't Buy Me Lunch. It wasn't very good. But Rutland Weekend Television's legacy is that it created the musical mockumentary and begot other comedy's set in TV studios, such as SCTV.