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You Must Be Joking!

1 9 7 5 – 1 9 7 6 (UK)
15 x 30 minute episodes

Two series of slapstick, satire and straight gags written and performed by teenagers from the Anna Scher Children’s Theatre in Islington, north London, under the guidance of the only adult on the show, the former star of The Comedians and future Bullseye compere, Jim Bowen.

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In 1973 a one-off Magpie film looked at London’s streets and markets through the eyes of children attending Anna Scher.

Showing how they interpreted daily life in their drama classes, Kids About Town caught the eye of producer Roger Price (The Tomorrow People), who suggested the kids be given their own series.

It was a wry, energetic and irreverent comedy show of a kind never previously seen – and certainly not one for the easily offended.

One of the three main hosts was 16-year-old schoolgirl Pauline Quirke – who went on to star in her own show, Pauline’s Quirkes – and occasional first series programmes also featured Linda Robson (they teamed up again 14 years later for Birds Of A Feather).

In between topical and satirical sketches, Elvis Payne took a cynical look at the week’s news, and live music came from youthful popsters Flintlock.

14-year-old Gary Kemp (later to sing with the rock band Spandau Ballet – and act in the feature film The Krays (1990) – provided some of the music.

Not to be confused with the 80s BBC panel show of the same title (minus the exclamation mark).

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Ray Burdis
John Blundell
Pauline Quirke
Elvis Payne
Jim Bowen
Michael Holloway
Linda Robson
Bill Rice

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