Alas Smith and Jones

Alas Smith and Jones

1984 - United Kingdom

British sketch comedy show that followed hot on the heels of Not The Nine O'Clock News which also featured the programme's stars, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. 

The programme's format borrowed elements from some of Britain's best known double act series and in doing so Smith and Jones quickly established themselves as firm favourites. Each episode would begin with the duo appearing in front of the studio audience to introduce the show (a la Morecambe and Wise) before giving way to a succession of quick-fire sketches (The Two Ronnies). 

One of the best remembered sections of the show was the 'head-to-head' where Smith, the idiot who knew everything, would attempt to explain something straightforward to Jones, the idiot who knew nothing (shades of the Dagenham Dialogues of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore). The title of the show itself was a pun of the American TV Western series Alias Smith and Jones. As well as having a great team of comedy writers that included Clive Anderson, Mark Steel, Andy Hamilton, Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, Smith and Jones heavily contributed their own material. 

After several seasons the show was simply retitled Smith and Jones and moved into independent production - one of the first to be commissioned by the BBC from an independent company, Talkback Productions, of which Smith and Jones were also directors.

Published on November 27th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

The Five Foot Nine Show

A one-off comedy show that reunited two of the regulars from That Was The Week That Was.

Also tagged Sketch Comedy

The Cosby Show

One of TV's biggest hit in the 1980s and one which almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre.

Also released in 1984

The Howerd Crowd

Frankie Howerd in a series of three shows written by Eric Sykes.

Also tagged Sketch Comedy

Arthur's Treasured Volumes

It's title inspired by the initials of the television company that produced the series, Arthur's Treasured Volumes appears to be, if the sole surviving episode is an example, an underrated and unfairly forgotten TV gem.

Also tagged Comedy Sketch Show

Ever Decreasing Circles

Although very popular in its day this BBC sitcom now seems to be curiously overlooked.

Also released in 1984


Reality crime show in which members of the public are asked for help and information in criminal investigations.

Also released in 1984

Box of Delights

John Masefield's enchanting children's fantasy The Box of Delights, tells the story of a young boy whose chance meeting with a Punch-and-Judy man leads him to a world where almost anything is possible.

Also released in 1984

Behind the Fridge

A one-off special featuring a series of sketches portraying the eccentricities of the British courtesy of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

Also tagged Sketch Comedy