1 9 7 9 – 1 9 8 4 (UK)
36 x 30 minute episodes
A comedy series in which one of America’s brightest young comedians presented his uniquely comic view of life in Britain.
The American had made such an impact as a guest on the Des O’Connor Show that he was given his own BBC2 show.
The series – part sitcom and part sketch show – was written by Kelly Monteith and Neil Shand (Spike Milligan’s Q collaborator) and featured Monteith as a fictionalised version of himself: an American comic based in London, living in a flat with his wife Suzanne (Gabrielle Drake of UFO fame).
The show frequently strayed into decidedly “adult” – and vaguely taboo – subjects, albeit with such charm and casualness that it was hard for anyone to take offence.
Monteith would chat to the audience, alternating his monologues with domestic sketches.
Guests appearing on the show included Victor Spinetti, Valerie Leon, Liza Goddard, Carol Hawkins, Glynis Barber, John Barron, Ed Bishop, Frank Thornton, Gorden Kaye, William Franklyn, Hugh Lloyd, George Layton, Stratford Johns, Derek Griffiths, Tony Selby, Wendy Richard, Gretchen Franklin, Marina Sirtis, Patrick Newell, Vicki Michelle, Gordon Rollings and John Bluthal.
Gabrielle Drake left the show for the final season and the format was changed to be about the making of the Kelly Monteith series, with the sitcom element weaving in and out of standup routines, with Monteith sometimes discussing the mechanics of writing and performing the show directly with the audience.
The format did not prove as popular with viewers and Monteith returned to the States. He continued to tour the UK regularly for some years afterwards.
Kelly Monteith suffered a stroke in 2021 and died in Los Angeles on 1 January 2023, aged 80.