The Twelve Animated Days of Christmas, #4 The Twelve Animated Days of Christmas, #4

The Twelve Animated Days of Christmas, #4

An irreverent take on the holidays by Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam. This piece originally aired in 1968 on the TV series Do Not Adjust Your Set.

  • This version, tinted yellow and free of the laughtrack that accompanied its transmission as part of Do Not Adjust Your Stocking (an extended edition of Do Not Adjust Your Set, aired on Christmas Day afternoon on ITV), is actually taken from the end of Gilliam’s mid-seventies theatrical short Storytime, which also incorporated two animations from The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine. Storytime can be seen here: . I blogged about it and Gilliam’s other short of this period, The Miracle Of Flight, here:

    If you listen careful enough to Christmas Cards you can identify which of the Do Not Adjust Your Set cast are providing the voices. It’s easiest to identify David Jason, who amongst others plays the announcer, the gloomy man at the start, the postman at the end and the cackling Father Christmas, and Denise Coffey as the females and children, but Michael Palin can just about be heard in amongst crowd scenes, and as one of the Three Wise Men he is doing a voice very similiar to that of one of his major inspirations, Spike Milligan’s Eccles character from The Goon Show. I also think he provides the humming of the ice-skater and the squawk of the girl hit in the face with a snowball.

  • Gerard de Souza

    I’m watching this with the sound off and having a chuckle. He really does have good timing with his animation. Flash graphic symbol animators take note.
    So what brought Gilliam to England in the first place?

  • Eddie Mort

    I was actually going to comment that the Xmas version of the show was called ‘Do not Adjust Your Stocking’. I guess I just did.

    And yes, I am old enough to have watched this series as a kid in England

  • Neil Williams

    I spoke to the producer Of Do Not Adjust Your Set about 14 years ago he said even though it was in a time slot for Children’s TV ,they were putting things in that made themselves laugh. As for what brought Gilliam to the UK, i’d say Vietnam among other things

  • The very first Gilliam animation I saw blew my little nine-year-old mind. It came from Marty Feldman’s show which aired on ABC in the early 70s (years before Monty Python came to American airwaves). A man was set up horizontally as a cannon, someone lights an attached fuse, and his head blows off. I talked about it for months!

  • Gerard:

    I’ve got a number of Monty Python books and they helped me to write this article on the TZ Animation Wiki:

    Hope this answers your question.