Telly Today Extra: All the Best from Denis Norden

Following the death earlier today of comedy writer and presenter Denis Norden ITV are to air a tribute this evening.

Best known in recent years as the host of ITV’s It’ll Be Alright on the Night, Norden was a pioneer of British comedy writing with a host of solo scripts as well as a partnership with fellow writer Frank Muir (1920-1998). Together they reinvented radio comedy in a post-war UK. Norden went on to write and appear on many TV series over the years, however its his partnership with LWT that made him an ITV household name in the 80s and 90s.

“In the name London Weekend Television, the words ‘London’ and ‘Television’ mean exactly what you’d expect. But the word ‘Weekend’ carries the same meaning as ‘dirty weekend’, in otherwords its two days, but three nights.” – Denis Norden speaking on LWT in 1978

In 1969 former writing partner Frank Muir joined new ITV production company and broadcaster London Weekend Television as Head of Entertainment, it opened doors at LWT for Denis who would become one of their biggest stars and contributors for the following four decades. In 1978 he hosted 10 Years of LWT; a series that not only celebrated but noted the low times of the ITV company – in a style only Norden could get away with – and he revived sitcom The Glums with the company in the same year. It was however as host of clip show It’ll Be Alright on the Night from 1977 through to 2006 (and various spin-offs) that Norden is best remembered by television audiences.

Related Feature: Remembering Denis Norden 1922-2018

He also hosted several other shows for the Independent Television network, including Looks Familiar and With Hilarious Consequences for Thames Television and ITV50 marking fifty years of the broadcaster. Guest spots included on shows such as Channel 4’s Countdown, including being its Dictionary Corner star for the 1500th episode and was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1976.

In a change to ITV’s schedules the broadcaster is airing All the Best from Denis Norden, which originally was broadcast by the network upon Denis’ retirement from the company in 2007. The programme takes a look back through ITV’s archives at some of his best bits from scripts he wrote to programmes he presented and appeared on.

The entertainment farewell special, now transmitted as a tribute, revisits productions such as And the Winner Is, Denis Norden’s Trailer Cinema, Looks Familiar, Laughter File and the best moments from It’ll Be Alright on the Night. Clips featured include star names such as Morecambe and Wise, Jack Dee, Steve Martin, Eric Sykes, Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, The Two Ronnies, Bob Monkhouse, Victoria Wood and Spike Milligan.

All the Best from Denis Norden, ITV and UTV 10.45pm. STV will air Scotland Tonight as usual from 10.30pm with All The Best from Denis Norden airing at 11.05pm.

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