|Alas Smith and Jones|
Griff Rhys Jones
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||62|
|Running time||30 min per normal episode|
|Original run||31 January 1984 – 14 October 1998|
|Preceded by||Not the Nine O'Clock News|
Alas Smith and Jones was a British comedy sketch television series featuring Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. It was broadcast on the BBC from 1984 to 1998. From 1989 to 1992 and 1995 to 1998, it was called Smith and Jones.
The series followed in the footsteps of Not the Nine O'Clock News in its use of taboo-breaking material and sketches in questionable taste (as well as bad language), and also featured head-to-head 'duologues' between Smith and Jones. The series shared several script writers with Not the Nine O'Clock News including Clive Anderson, Colin Bostock-Smith and used Chris Langham as a cast regular. Other writers included Andy Hamilton.
The show's title was a pun on that of the American television series Alias Smith and Jones. The head-to-head sketches were very much in the Pete and Dud mould - Smith was the idiot who knew everything, Jones the idiot who knew nothing.
The series was one of the first to be commissioned by the BBC from an independent company, Talkback Productions of which Smith and Jones were also directors. The format of the Head to Head with similar characters was used by Smith and Jones in a series of commercials.
In 1987 (between Series 3 & 4), the duo went to London Weekend Television for The World According To Smith & Jones, the BBC were not exceedingly happy about the show and were close to canceling the duo's spot. Reviews were mixed, critics didn't know what to think of it and Smith and Rhys Jones soon appeared back with the BBC for a fourth series later that year.
Despite all criticism, The World According To Smith & Jones returned for a second series in 1988 and then flashed from the schedules, without a repeat (unlike Series 1, which was repeated in battle against the BBC in late 1987).
In 2006 Smith and Jones returned with The Smith and Jones Sketchbook, recorded in front of a live audience acting as a look back at their earlier shows.
The show ran for 10 series with 6 or 7 episodes of 30 minutes duration in each series.:
A compilation DVD release (coded for region 2) The Best Of Smith And Jones was scheduled for 8 August 2005 by the BBC, but has been delayed many times and is unlikely to be released.
But of the latest news, Fremantle Media planned a DVD release titled At Last Smith & Jones: Volume 1 (which was originally planned for 2008) - and was last scheduled for 8 June 2009. Though the magazine DVD Review reviewed the disc, the release has been pulled from the schedule again. The two disc set contains two-show compilations of each series (Series 1-4), as well as the specials in companion uncut - The Home Made Xmas Video, Alas Sage & Onion and the short series from 1989 Smith & Jones In Small Doses.
In 1991, a compilation of footage from Series 5 and 6 was compiled for a VHS release - simply titled Smith & Jones. The second video released in 1993 featured footage from Series 1-4 of the series, particularly from the second series.
Tie-in books included The Smith and Jones World Atlas (a humorous gazetteer of the world's countries), Janet Lives With Mel And Griff, and The Lavishly Tooled Smith And Jones Instant Coffee Table Book (co-written with Clive Anderson), which was designed to look as if it could be made into a coffee table.