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24 September 2014
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The Smith

& Jones Sketchbook 

Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith

The Smith & Jones Sketchbook - brand new series for BBC ONE




Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones recorded a total of 80 programmes together after Not The Nine O'Clock News - from their first series Alas Smith & Jones (which ran from January 1984 to December 1988) through to the Smith & Jones series (November 1989 to October 1998).


Alas Smith & Jones was broadcast on BBC TWO. When the series became plain Smith & Jones, it transferred to BBC ONE.


Famous writers


A number of now famous names wrote for Mel and Griff.


These included:

  • Andy Hamilton
  • Clive Anderson
  • Rory McGrath
  • John O'Farrell (best selling author of Things Can Only Get Better)
  • David Baddiel
  • Hugh Grant (who wrote as part of a comic trio 'The Jockeys of Norfolk')
  • Jack Docherty
  • Paul Merton
  • Arthur Smith
  • Rob Grant & Doug Naylor (of Red Dwarf fame)


Guest appearances


Several well-known faces today were rather less well known when they appeared in a Smith & Jones sketch.


Such faces include:

  • Nigel Harman (who played Griff's son in 'The Home Made Xmas Video' in 1987)
  • Jane Horrocks
  • Brenda Blethyn
  • Steve Pemberton (from The League of Gentlemen)
  • Miranda Richardson
  • Brian Cox
  • Patricia Routledge
  • Geraldine James


Regular cast members were Pete McCarthy (who went on to enjoy great success as a travel writer before his untimely death in 2004), Chris Langham (whose role in The Thick of It has earned him unanimous critical acclaim) and Tony Robinson (later to become famous as Baldrick in Blackadder).




All the music in the Smith & Jones series was composed by Peter Brewis, who composed for Not The Nine O'Clock News, The Young Ones, Spitting Image, Carrott's Lib and The Lenny Henry Show.


The Head to Head Sketch


The Head to Head conversations, which featured Mel and Griff as two 'dumb and dumber' characters facing one another in white shirts, were probably the material for which they were best known.


These characters were originally developed by Mel and Griff for use in radio commercials but their success on television soon took over.


Many of the Head to Heads were written by Clive Anderson and Rory McGrath.




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