Before Monty Python brought his (in)famous Flying Circus to British TV and film, there was a BBC radio show entitled “I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again” (ISIRTA). The show was pure silliness, and starred David Hatch as the hapless announcer, and also featured voices of John Cleese, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Jo Kendall, and Bill Oddie.
The show was a precursor to Monty Python. In addition to Cleese, future Pythons Graham Chapman and Eric Idle wrote for the show, although they didn’t appear on it (as if anyone “appears” on radio.) Some elements of the various sketches made their way onto future Monty Python shows.
One of my favorite episodes included a retelling of Julius Caesar, and included some of the following dialog between Caesar and one of his generals prior to a battle…
Caesar: Do you have any light artillery?
General: Yes, sir!
Caesar: How many batteries?
General: None, sir! They work off the mains!
Caesar: How about bodyguards?
General: I have three foot soldiers.
Caesar: Have you got anything taller?
Double-entendre was par for the course, as were dreadful puns. If you’re a fan of Monty Python, you’ll love ISIRTA. Below is a sample from one of their shows…
I’ve just purchased a two-CD set of MP3 files from the Old Time Radio Show Catalog that has most of the episodes of ISIRTA. I’ve been listening to these as I drive to and from work, and it’s made the madness of the office a bit more bearable.