Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Retroactive timey-wimey influence thingy...

Rather desperately, a number of newspapers have been trying to suggest that the crackpot Workers' Institute of Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought (WIMLMZT) were the "insipration" for John Sullivan's BBC1 sitcom Citizen Smith.

The Guardian, for example, claims:
"The group's beliefs were regularly mocked in the diary column of the Times newspaper, bringing speculation that it became the part-model for the Tooting Popular Front, the ludicrous political movement set up by Robert Lindsay in Citizen Smith, a BBC sitcom that began broadcasting in 1977." Source
The problem here is that the first diary column in The Times to mention the WIMLMZT was the one of 19 April 1977, under the heading "Now the good news from Brixton" - exactly a week after the transmission of the Citizen Smith pilot in the Comedy Sprecial strand on BBC1 on 12 April! It was also the case that Sullivan first showed the script to producer Dennis Main Wilson in a BBC bar eight weeks before that transmission,[1] but obviously it certainly hadn't been written overnight. The unfortunate reality is that there were plenty of inspirations for Wolfie Smith's hapless and hopeless would-be revolutionary, but the WIMLMZT is highly unlikely to be among them.

[1] Television sitcom production at the BBC 1973-1984: an integrated approach

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