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Series / Do Not Adjust Your Set

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The cast. Left to right: Terry Jones, Denise Coffey, Michael Palin, David Jason, Eric Idle. Not pictured: The Bonzo Dog Band.

Do Not Adjust Your Set is a sketch comedy series produced by ITV affiliate Rediffusion (series 1) and subsequently Thames (series 2) for 29 episodes across two series between December 1967 and May 1969. It starred Denise Coffey, Eric Idle, David Jason, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, with musical performaces by The Bonzo Dog Band; the second series also featured animated inserts by Terry Gilliam. Along with fellow Rediffusion sketch series At Last the 1948 Show and the comedy special How to Irritate People, it is regarded as one of the three spiritual predecessors of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

The most memorable recurring segment involved the adventures of superhero parody Captain Fantastic (Jason) and his nemesis Mrs. Black (Coffey), with the latter using the gadgets in her handbag to achieve world domination and the former trying to stop her with the gadgets in his magic umbrella; it proved so popular that it was incorporated into Thames Television's Magpie after DNAYS went off the air.


This series featured examples of the following tropes:

  • Bad Santa: The Christmas Card animation from the Christmas special "Do Not Adjust Your Stocking" includes a Father Christmas who steals presents and kidnaps children.
  • Blackface: One episode features the members of The Bonzo Dog Band blacked up, with large white mouth makeup even by the usual standards of minstrelsy.
  • Flock of Wolves: One sketch features Michael Palin as an incredibly obvious undercover policeman trying to infiltrate a stereotypical East End gang... whose members all turn out to also be undercover police officers.
  • Hey, That's My Line!: In one sketch, David Jason, playing an actor rehearsing his lines for a play, sits at a table in a restaurant with Eric Idle, who eventually tells him to keep the volume down for his recitations, leading to the following:
    David: [whispering] "You worm! You miserable wretch! You don't care about anyone else do you, hey? Answer me!"
    Eric: Would you pass-
    David: "No no! A thousand times no! I've done enough for the likes of you."
    Eric: Would you pass-
    David: "This may surprise you, but I've had enough."
    Eric: [snaps] Look! I've had enough of your prattling on! I came here for a quiet evening and all I get is an idiot like you! I'm going, leaving, driven out and it's all your fault. Good night!
    David: [surprised, normal volume] I say, that's MY line.
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  • Undercover Cop Reveal: In a sketch about undercover policemen, Michael Palin's incredibly obvious undercover officer finally reveals himself when he has enough evidence to convict the gang he has been sent to infiltrate... only for every one of them to reveal themselves as undercover officers. At a loss for what to do next, they decide to carry out the robbery they were initially pretending to plan.