All Star Comedy Carnival (partially found annual ITV television series; 1969-1973)

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Front cover of All Star Comedy Carnival's DVD release.

Status: Partially Found

All Star Comedy Carnival was an annual television program produced and broadcast by British television network ITV that was shown on December 25th every year from 1969 to 1973. The program was an obvious attempt by ITV to recreate the success of the BBC's own annual variety show Christmas Night with the Stars, and was consequently very similar in format to the latter program, containing interludes from various British musicians and entertainers of the day alongside newly produced, Christmas themed short episodes of popular ITV comedy and light entertainment programs such as Coronation Street, On the Buses, and Jokers Wild among others. These sketches would typically be produced to the same standard as a typical episode of their respective shows, featuring the same writers and much of the same cast and crew members as the original programs.

Notable British entertainers would also be acquired to host the program as well, presumably in an attempt to further bolster ratings, with examples of hosts including Max Bygraves, Des O'Connor, and Jimmy Tarbuck.[1] But despite All Star Comedy Carnival's attempts to ape the format of Christmas Night with the Stars, it did not match the latter programs success, only lasting for five episodes over the course of five years, and falling largely into obscurity following its discontinuation.


Another way in which Christmas Night with the Stars and All Star Comedy Carnival are similar is that both programs are currently impossible to view in their entirety, with All Star Comedy Carnival being yet another program that was subject to the tape wiping procedures carried out by many British television networks at this time, in which videotapes of broadcast programs would have their contents erased so that the tapes could be reused, a measure often carried out both to save money on purchasing new tapes and to save space within a network's archive.[2] As a result of these practices, only the 1972 and 1973 editions of All Star Comedy Carnival survive in full, with the only material from the program to have surfaced beyond this being a single sketch based on the ITV sitcom The Dustbinmen from the 1969 edition.

The 1972 and 1973 programs would later be released on DVD in 2016, with the 1969 Dustbinmen sketch being included as a bonus feature.[3] To date, the 1970 and 1971 programs remain completely lost, with both they and the remaining sketches from the 1969 program likely not surviving in any form due to the aforementioned tape wiping procedures and the unavailability of home recording devices in the UK at the time of their original broadcast.

List of Episodes

# Air Date Status
1 December 25th, 1969 Partially Found
2 December 25th, 1970 Lost
3 December 25th, 1971 Lost
4 December 25th, 1972 Found
5 December 25th, 1973 Found

External Links