Rutland Weekend Television is one of those programmes that everyone claims to love but very few people have actually seen. Of course the reason everyone loves it is because of it’s connections to Monty Python. It was Eric Idle’s first project after Monty Python’s Flying circus.
I have just watched it again recently and loved the programme – thought it was a lot different when I was younger. I saw it on repeat in the 1980’s and as a smallish child was quite baffled by it, though remember finding it funny (It was surely no less baffling than programmes like the “Flumps” or “Moomins”! Rutland Weekend Television ran for only two series (a lot like Fawlty Towers), and we broadcast in 1975 and 1976
The shows were all about RWT (Rutland Weekend Television - obviously) "Britain's smallest television network", situated in England's smallest county, Rutland.
The running joke in the show was that the show was running on almost no budget ( with Rutland obviously being so small, it having no money to run a TV station) the show's title alludes to the then ITV company London Weekend Television (now ITV London).
Apparently, making the show wasn’t much fun for Eric Idle who made a lot of remarks at the time in the press about the actual lack of budget, with the production of the show being very arduous and having to constantly to jump through hoops to get things like props and sets made.
Eric Idle was of course lead performer on the show, and he is stand out – I remember him more from RWT than some of the Monty Python sketches he was in sometimes. But also a big part of the show was Neil Innes, a former member of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, and longtime songwriter for Monty Python. As well as the songs Neil also performed as characters on the show.
In fact there are quite a few other performers you would recognize from Monty Python – Gwen Taylor who played a number of roles in “Life of Brian”and a few of their other films was the lead female character in the show as well