I’m sorry……again!

16 Jan

It’s one of those folders on my computer that just sits there apparently serving no purpose!

It lurks on my 500 Gigabyte external Hard Drive – the one that’s about one-quarter full of my music collection – occupying a paltry couple of Gigabytes of space although it doesn’t contain music as such.

The name of the folder vaguely meant something to me (so it didn’t get arbitrarily deleted) but not enough that I could actually be bothered to open it and look within.

I have no idea where it came from or when it arrived and even now that I know what it contains I have no clue as to whether it was sent to me on a DVD, copied from someone’s PC onto a memory stick or if it just got downloaded from somewhere.

And when I do eventually stop being so bloody cryptic and start explaining myself I know for sure that there are those among my readership who will know, exactly, of what I speak.

Specifically I refer (although they have no exclusive right to the knowledge) to the members of “The 20” – those, including myself, who passed through the years 1964 to 1969 in the “A” stream at Copleston Sec. Mod. School for Boys (a.k.a. The Dame Kenneth G. Armstrong Academy for Amateur Explosive Engineers – a title I may or may not attempt to explain some day!).

What? The folder? Oh yes, I’m sorry!

The title of the folder was “ISIRTA” and it stands for the title of one of the most amazing radio programmes ever commissioned by the BBC! It was the forerunner of “Monty Python…” and “The Goodies” and its full title was, of course, “I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again!!

And if any of you, whether from my family or not, have ever wondered exactly who is to blame for my sense of humour – you need look no further – THIS is the programme responsible!

Before I started listening to it I had hardly any sense of humour at all but afterwards my parents complained that they had to examine every word they were about to say to me to try to forestall a wave of smart-arse remarks, jokes, innuendos and, best of all, PUNS! For some strange reason I think they actually PREFERRED it when I was all serious and miserable!

I don’t recall exactly who in the class at school actually discovered the existence of the show – for many years I was convinced that it was ME but now wonder if it was one of those “memory of a memory of a false memory” situations in which I convinced myself I was more of a “someone” in the class than I really was.  Or maybe I really did find it and share the news in which case I probably WAS something of a hero! Who knows? My friend Vincent in Thailand that’s who! Probably. Watch the comments and we’ll find out.

Whoever it was, the existence of ISIRTA was soon passed around and effectively split the group into those who didn’t “get it” and those of us who hung on every word of every episode and went around quoting the best jokes and catch-phrases throughout the following week.

My own particular favourite episode (which must have been after 1966 and before we left school in 1969) was a send up of the new American Sci-fi series “Star Trek” – whatever became of THAT? – featuring Captain Kink and the crew of the Starship Secondprize! It also featured “our Irish Chief Engineer, Scotty” so they got THAT right.

My favourite joke from the episode occurs when the Captain remarks to Scotty that they are passing an asteroid made entirely of Stewing Steak!

“Aye”, comes the reply, “it’s meaty all right!” (You have to say it aloud in an Irish accent to get the full effect)

Which tells you a LOT about what I find funny!

Any way, I’ve found this folder and it contains every episode of all eight series including the pilot and a recording of a Cambridge Footlights show featuring the stars, who, since I haven’t seen fit to mention them were: John Cleese, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, David Hatch, Jo Kendall and Bill Oddie.

If anyone of my regulars would like a copy please let me know and I’ll bung ‘em on a DVD and send them to you.

Meanwhile, those around me had better watch out – a revived outpouring of extremely silly humour is, no doubt, on the way!



Posted by on January 16, 2011 in Schooldays


Tags: , , , , , ,

3 responses to “I’m sorry……again!

  1. Vincent

    January 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    M’boy has sent me quite a few of the eps recently, on disk (he got them off the R4 satellite) – from which I culled Bill Oddie’s “Rhubarb Tart” and sent it to you a while back (I ASSUME you got it).

    Which brings me to MY version of how ISIRTA came to be such an important part of the lives of our “gang” at Copleston HIGH (I know it was Sec Mod in OUR day – but shhh!)

    I heard a trail for the show – which I had never heard of before – and which featured the afore-mentioned song.

    Now of course, RHUBARB had a VERY important significance to us in those days – the details of which you may wish to pass on to our reader.

    But having NO tape-recorder at that time (I’d had a toy one the year before – but that broke – and the next year, I got that Panasonic portable we had so much fun with – but I didn’t have it yet) I set off with Lamb and someone else, to Charlie Manning’s Fun Palace at Felixstowe.

    There, we waited in the “Record Your Own Record” booth, tranny radio in hand, for Bill’s song to start – with a half-crown hovering in the slot.

    When the song was announced, the money was dropped and incredibly – I GOT the song. OH how we laughed.

    I actually HAD that record until recently – but it’s disappeared. Never mind – I now have a PERFECT recording of it on disk.

    Which brings me (FINALLY!) to the answer to your question. According to MY memory: I told you about the song that was coming up – and when I told you the programme’s TITLE – you said you KNEW the programme and had BEEN a devoted fan for SOME TIME.

    I have to say that THESE days, the EARLY programmes (’64-5) sound LAME – but when WE joined the saga (’66-7) it was at its HEIGHT.

    Were you at the 25th Anniversary Broadcast? I was! I heard about it while WORKING as a traffic-light engineer in ESSEX.

    I told Control I was taking an hour’s lunch break – parked up at a District Line station car park – took the tube to the theatre where they were recording it (near Charing Cross) – grabbed three tickets and high-tailed it back.

    I JUST got back in time to answer the radio and tell them the next job was NEARLY sorted – then I shot off and DID it!

    Two days later, me, wife number one and m’boy saw the show LIVE (I have the radio recording, of course – as I’m sure YOU do).

    But only those who were THERE know the TRUTH about John Cleese’s Silly Walk bit. They played a SOUND EFFECT and John stood ROCK-STILL!

    Why? Because it was for RADIO!!!!

  2. Cy Quick

    January 18, 2011 at 7:48 am

    It is enchanting to hear how you young chaps were as fond of the cool comedy of YOUR teens years as were MY fellow schoolmates of the Goon Show in the 1950s.
    (But I personally did not find the Goons funny!)

    I was too young to see the point of ITMA as a kid in the 1940s. And I don’t think there WERE any leading edge aka avant garde comics on BBC radio before the war, were there…?

  3. Richard Haxell

    January 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    This still being broadcast on radio 7.I was a fan and got the lowdown from you..remember it well.The joke was tedious the scenario convoluted but I still sing “Whale meat again” ad nauseum.Thanks for that old mate!!


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