It was late. Somewhere, an owl hooted....
Funny how groups of words stick in your head, isn't it? Those couple of sentences are (I think) taken from an episode of 'I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again', of which I had some BBC Audio tapes when I was little-ish. They appeared somewhere within a sketch as the deliberately cringesome opening lines of a not-very-scary (but supposed to be scary) story. Even now they make me smile. You had to be there, I guess.
'I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again' (ISIRTA) was a BBC radio comedy which ran from the mid-60's through to the early 70's, featuring Tim Brooke-Taylor, John Cleese, David Hatch, Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Jo Kendall. This all took place a fair chunk of time before I came along, but I had a Monty Python phase around the age of 10-12, and the presence of Cleese in the cast probably caught my attention when looking to offload my pocket money one weekend in a local independent music and record store. (Would you believe it's still there?! Established 1848 and still going strong. Visit if you ever come to Bath: www.ducksonandpinker.co.uk)
As such, the show was one of several fore-runners to Flying Circus. As well as Cleese, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle were regular script contributors. But of course the most obvious product of 'ISIRTA' was The Goodies, the TV sketch show starring Brooke-Taylor, Oddie and Garden. The Goodies never caught my imagination in the same way as Monty Python, but anyone who only knows Bill Oddie as an annoying and slightly unhinged twitcher should listen to his early radio efforts. Some of the topical and/or absurd songs he wrote and performed more than 40 years ago actually stand the test of time rather well.
The spin-off of 'ISIRTA', 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue', began in 1972 and remains a popular favourite on Radio 4. I haven't paid it much attention for years. But I still remember every word of 'The Angus Prune Tune' - the theme tune of it's parent, which ended three years before I was born.