Do Not Adjust Your Set
Do Not Adjust Your Set (DNAYS) was a children's television series produced originally by Rediffusion, London
Associated-Rediffusion, later Rediffusion, London, was the British ITV contractor for London and parts of the surrounding counties, on weekdays between 1954 and 29 July 1968. Transmissions started on 22 September 1955.-Formation:...

, then by the fledgling Thames Television
Thames Television
Thames Television was a licensee of the British ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 until 31 December 1992....

 for British commercial television channel ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 from 26 December 1967 to 14 May 1969.

The show took its name from the message (frequently seen on the TV screen in those days) which was displayed when there was a problem with transmission. Although originally conceived as a children's programme, it quickly acquired a cult crossover following amongst many adults, including John Cleese and Graham Chapman (as mentioned by Cleese himself in the "Paying my ex wife" stage performance tour, October 2010).

This was an early appearance of many actors and comedians who later became famous, such as Denise Coffey
Denise Coffey
Denise Coffey is an English actress, director, and playwright.After training at the Glasgow College of Dramatic Art, Coffey began a career in repertory at the Gateway Theatre in Edinburgh, then moved to the Palladium Theatre there...

 and David Jason
David Jason
Sir David John White, OBE , better known by his stage name David Jason, is an English BAFTA award-winning actor. He is best known as the main character Derek "Del Boy" Trotter on the BBC sit-com Only Fools and Horses from 1981, the voice of Mr Toad in The Wind In The Willows and as detective Jack...

; Michael Palin
Michael Palin
Michael Edward Palin, CBE FRGS is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries....

, Terry Jones
Terry Jones
Terence Graham Parry Jones is a Welsh comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director, children's author, popular historian, political commentator, and TV documentary host. He is best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy team....

, and Eric Idle
Eric Idle
Eric Idle is an English comedian, actor, author, singer, writer, and comedic composer. He was as a member of the British comedy group Monty Python, a member of the The Rutles on Saturday Night Live and author of the play, Spamalot....

 later became members of the hugely successful Monty Python
Monty Python
Monty Python was a British surreal comedy group who created their influential Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series...

 comedy troupe. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band are a band created by a group of British art-school denizens of the 1960s...

 performed a song in each programme and Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band
Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band
Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band, also billed as Bob Kerr and His Whoopee Band, is a jazz band which started in 1967 and continues to perform today. It was an offshoot of the eclectic Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, and shared many similarities with other outfits of the time such as The New Vaudeville Band and The...

 also appeared. The musicians frequently appeared as extras in sketches.

The programme comprised a series of sketches, often bizarre and surreal, frequently satirical with a disjointed style which was to become more famous in the more daring Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a BBC TV sketch comedy series. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines...

, which followed five months later. At least one DNAYS sketch was re-used in Monty Python. Strange animations between sketches were crafted in the final episodes by the then-unknown Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam
Terrence Vance "Terry" Gilliam is an American-born British screenwriter, film director, animator, actor and member of the Monty Python comedy troupe. Gilliam is also known for directing several films, including Brazil , The Adventures of Baron Munchausen , The Fisher King , and 12 Monkeys...

, who also graduated to Python – part of his "Christmas cards" animation reappeared there in the "Joy to the World" segment.

One long-running feature of the show was "Captain Fantastic
Captain Fantastic
Captain Fantastic was a regular feature of Do Not Adjust Your Set from 1967 to 1968 which appeared as a filmed insert between the videotaped sketches....

", featuring a parody superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

 (Jason) in improbable, even macabre adventures against villainess Mrs. Black (Coffey). These segments were shot entirely on film, on location in London.

In 1968 it won an international award, the Prix Jeunesse, in Munich.


  • Series
    • Series one: 14 episodes of 30 minutes broadcast between 26 December 1967 to 28 March 1968, Thursdays at 5.25 pm.
    • Series two: 13 episodes of 30 minutes broadcast between 19 February 1969 to 14 May 1969, Wednesdays at 5.20 pm.
  • Specials
    • Untitled special of 30 minutes broadcast 29 July 1968, Monday at 7 pm.
    • "Do Not Adjust Your Stocking", 50 minutes broadcast 25 December 1968, Wednesday 4:10 pm.

In common with another important Monty Python predecessor, At Last the 1948 Show
At Last the 1948 Show
At Last the 1948 Show is a satirical TV show made by David Frost's company, Paradine Productions , in association with Rediffusion London...

, many episodes were wiped
Wiping or junking is a colloquial term for action taken by radio and television production and broadcasting companies, in which old audiotapes, videotapes, and telerecordings , are erased, reused, or destroyed after several uses...

 as was common practice at the time due to the lack of any apparent market to them prior to the invention of home video.

DVD release

Nine of the 14 episodes from the first (Rediffusion) series (presumably all that survive) were released on DVD in the UK and the US in August 2005. Both releases use the same NTSC
NTSC, named for the National Television System Committee, is the analog television system that is used in most of North America, most of South America , Burma, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, and some Pacific island nations and territories .Most countries using the NTSC standard, as...

 Region 0 discs made from telerecordings of the original videotapes. The packaging implies that Gilliam's animations appear in these episodes, but they do not. Gilliam does appear as one of the additional writers in the credits for episode number three. The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band is seen playing its song "Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab for Cutie (song)
"Death Cab for Cutie" is a song composed by Vivian Stanshall and Neil Innes and performed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. It was included on their 1967 album Gorilla.-Content:...

" (also performed in The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

' film Magical Mystery Tour
Magical Mystery Tour (film)
Magical Mystery Tour is an hour-long British television film starring The Beatles that originally aired on BBC1 on 26 December 1967...

) in the DVD, Episode 7.

iTunes Music Store release

In March 2008, nine episodes of Do Not Adjust Your Set were made available for purchase in the United States via the iTunes Music Store. Episodes are of varying lengths from 25 minutes for Episode 1 to 11 minutes for Episode 7. Average length is around 13 minutes. iTunes labels these episodes as "Season 2" but they appear to be the same as the DVD release

External links

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