Billed as ‘a radio custard pie’ this show ran for 8 years and starred Greame Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie, John ‘Otto’ Cleese, Jo Kendall and David Hatch (who later went on to produce the show). The show sprang from the undergraduate revues, with the pilot of the series being a recording of the West End show, Cambridge Circus, aired on the 30th December 1963.
Cambridge Circus originated at the Cambridge University Footlights Club, and sprang from the revue entitled “A Clump of Plinths”. This title may seem unlikely, but the first idea “You Can’t Call a Show Cornflakes”, is even worse!!! Luckily, by the time the show had transferred to the Edinburgh Fringe, it had attained the far more acceptable title, Cambridge Circus.
The show was a liberal smattering of silly voices, awful puns, and mildly smutty humour, and was totally anarchic, with the audience controlling most of the show in later series. It is notable for the amount of talent present. Bill Oddie and Greame Garden wrote the scripts with contributions from the others, and this team later, with Tim Brook-Taylor were to form the Goodies on BBC TV, John Cleese was one of the founding members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and is undoubtedly one of the best comedy writers ever (and I am using Fawlty Towers as exhibit A here, M’lud), and David Hatch has gone on to be Controller of Radio 2, Controller of Radio 4 and then the Managing Director of the BBC Network Radio.
Series 1 consisted of 3 shows: 3 April – 17 April 1964
Series 2 was a total of 9 shows: 4 Oct – 6 Dec 1965
Series 3, another 13 shows: 14 March – 6 June 1966
Series 4, a further 14 shows: 3 Oct – 6 Dec 1966
Series 5, yet another 14 shows: 23 April -23 July 1967
Series 6, a further 14 shows: 14 April – 7 July 1968
Series 7, a total of 13 shows: 12 Jan – 6 April 1969
Series 8, another 12 shows: 6 July – 28 Sept 1972