1 9 7 1 (UK)
3 x 30 minute episodes
One of the great clanging disasters in the history of BBC2, Where Do I Sit? was a chat show with an accent on comedy, intended to highlight the talents of Peter Cook as a wit with a splendid ability to ad-lib.
The ill-advised brainchild of Cook and Monty Python producer Ian MacNaughton, this show’s format alternated between comedy sketches (written and starring Cook, and filmed in advance) and live sequences in the studio in which Cook would interview show-biz guests including, incredibly, Kirk Douglas.
Other guests interviewed were Spike Milligan, television writer Johnny Speight and the brilliant American humorist S.J. Perelman.
The half-hour episodes were in colour and boasted a large budget, but the film sequences were bizarre rather than funny and the interviews were a total disaster.
Cook didn’t prepare for the interviews and had made the mistake of insisting on being allowed to sing a song in each show.
Reviewing the first show for The Times, Chris Dunkley deplored the “endless weak jokes about the technical trivialities of television production”, including frequent shots of producer Ian MacNaughton in the production gallery, telling Cook what to do next.
Dunkley went on to sum up the whole show as “dismally embarrassing . . . a sad disappointment”. The viewing public agreed and after just three episodes the plug was pulled permanently.