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The retrospective show Before the Fringe, broadcast during the early years of BBC 2, took its title from this production. Subsequently, opening on October 8, 1964, the National Touring Company took it on a nationwide tour for six months as Beyond the Fringe '65 under the auspices of Alexander H.
The show continued in New York, with most of the original cast, until 1964, when Paxton Whitehead replaced Miller, while the London version continued with a different cast until 1966.
' at a sketch he found distasteful, before apparently sitting down again and enjoying the remainder of the show, while another, at the first performance in Edinburgh allegedly stood up and declared that the 'young bounders don't know the first thing about it! In response to these negative audience reactions, the Beyond the Fringe team insisted that they were not ridiculing the efforts of those involved in the war, but were challenging the subsequent media portrayal of them.
Many see Beyond the Fringe as the forerunner to British television programmes That Was the Week That Was, At Last the 1948 Show and Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Hugely successful, it is widely regarded as seminal to the “satire boom”, the rise of satirical comedy in 1960s Britain.
The show was conceived in 1960 by an Oxford graduate, Robert Ponsonby, artistic director for the Edinburgh International Festival, with the idea of bringing together the best of revues by the Cambridge Footlights and The Oxford Revue, which had both transferred to Edinburgh for short runs in previous years.
The revue was widely considered to be ahead of its time, both in its unapologetic willingness to debunk figures of authority, and by virtue of its inherently surrealistic comedic vein.
Humiliation of authority was something only previously delved into in The Goon Show and, arguably, Hancock's Half Hour, with such parliamentarians as Sir Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan coming under special scrutiny — although the BBC were predisposed to frown upon it.
Shakespearean drama was another target of their comedy.
There were also a number of musical items in the show, using Dudley Moore's music, most famously an arrangement of the Colonel Bogey March which resists Moore's repeated attempts to bring it to an end. Without it, there might not have been either That Was the Week That Was or Private Eye, the satirical magazine which originated at the same time, that partially survived due to financial support from Peter Cook, and that served as the model for the later American Spy Magazine.
As with the established comedy revue, it was a series of satirical sketches and musical pieces using a minimal set, looking at events of the day.
It effectively represented the views and disappointments of the first generation of British people to grow up after World War II, and gave voice to a sense of the loss of national purpose with the end of the British Empire.
The majority of the sketches were by Cook and were largely based on material written for other revues.