Eric Idle and Neil Innes ‎– The Rutland Weekend Television Song Book

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July 4, 2017
referencing The Rutland Weekend Song Book, LP, Album, PPSD-98018
Rutland Weekend Television (RWT) was a television sketch show on BBC2, written by Eric Idle with music by Neil Innes. Two series were broadcast, the first consisting of six episodes in 1975, and the second series of seven episodes in 1976. A Christmas special was broadcast on Boxing Day 1975.
It was Idle's first television project after Monty Python's Flying Circus, which ended the previous year. The show was the catalyst for The Rutles. Rutland Weekend Television or RWT centred on "Britain's smallest television network", situated in England's smallest (and mainly rural) county, Rutland.
The show's title alludes to London Weekend Television (then part of ITV and since renamed ITV London). A Rutland TV station would be pretty small (representing roughly 30,000 people in an area less than 150 square miles), so a Rutland Weekend Television would have to be ridiculously tiny. The joke was doubly meaningful as Idle had accidentally been granted a presentation budget[1] instead of the more lavish budgets associated with light entertainment – so the weekly patter about their inability to buy props and sets reflected reality. Indeed, the last show of the first series featured Idle and Innes, stripped and shivering in blankets under a bare bulb, singing about how the power's about to be shut off. Idle speaks bitterly about these conditions now but his attempts to overcome them formed the basis of a lot of the show's jokes.
Idle, in a 1975 Radio Times interview, remarked, "It was made on a shoestring budget, and someone else was wearing the shoe. The studio is the same size as the weather forecast studio and nearly as good. We had to bring the sets up four floors for each scene, then take them down again. While the next set was coming up, we'd change our make-up. Every minute mattered. It's not always funny to be funny from ten in the morning until ten at night. As for ad-libbing, what ad-libbing? You don't ad-lib when you're working with three cameras and anyway the material goes out months after you've made it.