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Mark's Guide to Whose Line is it Anyway?

Episode Guide

Clive's Intros - Series One

Radio show <-- --> Next

1.01 / 1.02 / 1.03 / 1.04 / 1.05 / 1.06 / 1.07
1.08 / 1.09 / 1.10 / 1.11C / 1.12C / 1.13P / 1.14S
(C = Compilation, P = Pilot, S = Comic Relief Special)

1.01 - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, which is an improvisation programme, as you'll discover if you don't improvise yourself too quickly with the off knob on your television set. What I'll be doing is I'll be giving the contestants here a variety of things to do, to get them to think on the spot, to perform off the cuff, or otherwise go completely round the bend. And to make sure it's nice and spontaneous, or at least scruffy, I'll be involving the studio audience here, who'll be yelling out suggestions and ideas for the contestants to play. The audience themselves have been specially selected for their good looks, their intelligence... and their susceptibility to flattery. Now, the contestants, now the first contestant comes from America. America has given us some great performers over the years, I'm thinking of Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Champion the Wonder Horse... but tonight it's given us Archie Hahn (applause)... oh yes... you may have seen Archie in Spinal Tap, or even Mork and Mindy, the Sunshine Boys, ... less likely you'd have seen him in Fatal Attraction, because he wasn't in it. Next we have Josie Lawrence, who... (applause) oh... she'll need no introduction to anybody who's met her before, which will include people who have seen her in the Comedy Store Players, the famous troupe of improvisers, who've also lent us our next contestant who is Paul Merton, he's sometimes an improviser, sometimes a stand-up comedian, but always a dead misery. And finally we have John Sessions. What can I say about... (applause) ... what can I say about John? Actor, academic, and all round nice guy. Well those are just a few of his ambitions. Well, ladies and gentlemen, those are the contestants, let's get on with the game..."

1.02 - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, which is a series of improvisional... improvisational... sorry, just improvising a mistake there to make it all seem genuine... improvisational games to be acted out by some of the wittiest and cleverest people in the land. Or, in the case of this show, by the usual collection of deadbeat entertainers, stand-up comics, and friends of the producer. Now our first competitor on tonight is the American actor and comedian Archie Hahn who, I've just been told, is very big on the West Coast. Which should please our Cornish viewers. And then we have Rory Bremner, well known of course for his having the skills of a great impressionist, the looks of a pre-Raphaelite, and the mind of a primitive. And then we have Jimmy Mulville whose sharp comedy skill and creative performing ability... he really ought to make use of in his show "Who Dares Wins". And finally we have our regular John Sessions who only today was described in these words: "A genius with a talent unmatched by any contemporary... in fact I'm absolutely marvellous". Well, those are the competitors, let's get on to our first game..."

1.03 - Guide

"Hello, welcome, this is Whose Line is it Anyway? and if you've seen the programme before, then you're seeing it again now. It's an improvisation programme in which we set a number of games to our contestants to test out their ability to live off their wits, to perform off the cuff, or otherwise to shrug off their embarrassment. Now I don't mind telling you we've got a really top line line-up tonight... but I don't mind telling you that every week, whether it happens to be true or not. But let me first of all introduce our first contestant, who is Stephen Fry, actor and writer, Stephen is an intellectual man of letters who can turn his hand to broad comedy, but does return from time to time to his first love, which is advertising peppermints and building societies. Then we have Peter Cook who, of course, for many years has been described, and rightly, as the funniest man in England, oddly enough even when he's abroad. And then we have Josie Lawrence from the Comedy Store Players, who is beautiful, talented and charming, in fact in many ways a sort of female Derek Jameson. And finally we have as usual John Sessions, who I regard as perhaps the most gifted actor of his generation, but that's not just my opinion... that's his as well. So here they are, the contestants."

1.04 - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, which is an improvisation programme with a number of off the cuff games to be played in a moment by a collection of actors, comedians, and masochists. And the four volunteers to stand on the quick firing line tonight are: Tony Slattery, he's an actor who's played the title role in Me And My Girl... so that means he's played either me, or my girl. And then from the U.S. we're pleased to welcome Betty Thomas. She's perhaps best known over here for her portrayal of Sergeant Lucy Bates in Hill St. Blues, so I reckon she's a sort of American Dixon of Dock Green. Then next we have Paul Merton, now there's been an enoromous public response since Paul last appeared on the programme... but despite that we decided we'd have him back anyway. And finally our resident scallywag John Sessions, who no doubt will be wagging his scally later on in the evening. Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants!"

1.05 - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, the improvisation programme, and once again we bring to the screen the wittiest, the cleverest, the most exciting talent available today. Well that's enough about me, let me introduce the contestants, and our first contestant tonight we welcome back Josie Lawrence of the Comedy Store Players, and as we've seen her before we know her acting is second to none, her singing is second to none... in fact if she got a part in The Sound of Music she could be playing a nun. Next, well I must say it's not often that we have a film and theatre actor of truly international distinction and ability... in fact we never do, but we do have this week the very proper actor Jonathan Pryce. Then we also have the comedian Paul Merton whose distinctive performing style is not so much dead-pan as dead miserable. And last but not first, our resident maestro, or is it Mini Metro, John Sessions, without whom let's face it, this programme would have somebody else in it. Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants!"

1.06 - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, the improvisation programme, where the participants think up brilliant and entertaining lines just on the spur of the moment... or sometimes just after the moment has passed, when it's just too late. But pitting their witticisms against the games tonight, we have first of all, doctor, comedian and Goodie-Goodie Graeme Garden, here in the flesh to prove that his Body Matters. Then Jan Ravens, who provides some of the voices for the rubbery satire of Spitting Image, and all of the voices in her own acting roles. Then from Los Angeles we have George McGrath, currently regarded as one of the funniest performers in America, at least by people who haven't seen senator Dan Quayle in action yet. And finally, actor, writer, comedian, impressionist, scholar, academic, wit, raconteur, and president of the John Sessions fan club, John Sessions. Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants!"

1.07 - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, if you haven't seen the show before, then you're seeing it for the first time now. Now in this programme the performers have to make up things as they go along, without preparation or rehearsal, which, let's face it, hasn't been seen on television since... what, Crossroads went off the air. Now in the show tonight we have Tony Slattery, who was apparently a great success with the viewers the last time he was with us... you can stop writing the letters now, Mrs. Slattery. Also returning for a second visit is top-line actor Jonathan Pryce, tonight taking time-off from Check-ov. And next, well, it's always a pleasure to welcome a close personal friend to the programme... but until one comes along here's Rory McGrath, of Who Dares Wins, Chelmsford 123, and maybe one or two other shows that used to be on the television. And finally, the incomparable John Sessions who, let's face it, has more talent in his little finger... than the rest of his body put together. Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants!"

1.08 - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, 30 minutes of extemporised wit, impromptu wisdom, and when things go wrong, totally unfeigned embarrassment. But trying tonight we have Richard Kaplan, American comedian, bringing us the excitement of Chicago improvisation all the way from his home in Los Angeles. Griff Rhys Jones, who for my money remains the funniest man on British TV's Alas Smith & Jones, who isn't called Smith. And then returning to this programme for perhaps his 3rd or 4th visit, Paul Merton, whose radiant smiling face and cheery grin... we have yet to see. And finally, the batter of laughs himself, John Sessions, clearly destined for fame and fortune, once he throws off his natural diffidence and shyness. Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants!"

1.09 - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, and tonight we're looking forward to more than our fair share of fun, interest, excitement and entertainment, but first we must record the programme. And on this week we have from America, Mike McShane, a very talented writer, comedian, actor, and winner of the Southern California All-Comers Cyril Smith lookalike contest. From the Comedy Store Players, Josie Lawrence, who on previous weeks has demonstrated her astounding singing, acting and ad-libbing abilities, tonight I'm sure she'll be moving onto piano playing, juggling and unicycling. Next Tony Slattery, who has also made several appearances on this show which have led to an immediate success for him, in the form of an appearance on this week's show. And finally John Sessions, a man of many parts, most of which he'll be using in the course of the programme tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants!"

1.10 - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, the improvisation programme in which anything can happen, but usually doesn't unless it's off camera or too late. But forming the brigade of guards in the battle of wits tonight, we have first of all Stephen Fry, the writer, actor, comedian and egghead, once described as a Renaissance Man by somebody with a very poor idea of which century we're living in. Then Josie Lawrence, once described as a Renaissance Man by someone with a very poor eye. Next Enn Reitel, who shot to overnight success as TV's Lucky Jim in the 1970s, and has been solidly in and out of work as an actor and impersonator ever since. And finally, John Sessions, who as far as this show is concerned, is absolutely irreplaceable. And goodness only knows, we've tried. Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants!"

1.11 (Compilation) - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, the improvisation programme. Now this edition of the show is not a normal one, it's been compiled from parts of the 10 or so recordings which have not been broadcast. Each week some of the most entertaining bits of the shows have had to be cut in the interests of time, or balance, or for one of any number of reasons that I can only just pretend to understand. Well, Waste Not Want Not is the motto of Channel 4, or do I mean Taste Not Watch Not? So this week and next we feature some of the magic moments from the recordings that have been saved from the cutting room floor. So why don't you just sit back and enjoy them, or start to write a letter of complaint, or whatever you do normally during the programme. Here we go."

1.12 (Compilation) - Guide

"Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, featuring tonight the second and last of our compilations of the ones we wouldn't let get away, parts of the programme they wanted you not to see because there wasn't time, or they were too messy, or because the producer didn't get the joke the first time round. Well, I hope you do. Here we go."

1.13 (Pilot) - Guide

Pre-Credits: "Hello and welcome to this very special edition of Whose Line is it Anyway?, in fact we're showing you the pilot or tryout version which was made some time ago. There tryouts are called pilots because they're always rather nervous affairs, they're often affected by drink, but everyone does hope that they will finally get off the ground. Most of the elements present in the final show are present in this experimental version, though you will notice, I hope, that I'm not introducing it at all. Instead it's introduced by my identical twin brother, who's looking very very uncomfortable..."
After credits: "Hello and welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, the improvisation programme of the air. Now, extemporising their way through the games tonight we have with us Jon Glover, who has a hand in many of the voices heard on Spitting Image. Then we have Jimmy Mulville from the hard-hitting strong-talking late-night Who Dares Wins, and the more cuddly situation comedy That's Love. We also have Josie Lawrence, a regular cabaret improviser with the Comedy Store Players, and you may also have seen her on Friday Night Live. And last but not most, we have the multitalented actor, writer and all-round showoff, John Sessions."

1.14 (Comic Relief Special) - Guide

"Hello, hello welcome to this little bit of Whose Line is it Anyway?, which is a BBC Radio programme, which is very rarely here on BBC Television, where it's normally on Channel Four. We can improvise anything on this programme we hope - including tonight the buzzer, because that's normally an integral part of the game but it hasn't arrived yet, but never mind. Introducing the contestants we have a star of stage, screen and mainly advertisements, Stephen Fry. Then the ever-wonderful Josie Lawrence. The ever-miserable Paul Merton. And John Sessions, who's got more talent in his little finger than the rest of his body put together."