How Do You View? was British television’s first comedy series, broadcast by the BBC between 1949 and 1952. It was based on the on-screen persona of the comedian and character-actor Terry-Thomas (1911–1990) as “a glamorous, mischievous and discreetly cash-strapped man-about-town”, who introduced a series of sketches in which he also appeared. The programmes were broadcast live, and often included Terry-Thomas walking through the control rooms and corridors of the BBC’s Lime Grove and Alexandra Palace studios, “the first show to acknowledge the context in which it existed”.
By the time of the fourth series, for which Terry-Thomas was paid 140 guineas for each appearance, equivalent to about £5,000 as at 2021,[a]Calculated using the retail price index. he was having serious doubts about the show’s future. But the introduction of the young English blonde bombshell Diana Dors, as an atomic scientist named Cuddles, increased the show’s sex appeal and assured its continued success for another series.
The series has been described by the author and historian Mark Lewisohn as being “inventive … truly televisual and not just a radio programme in costume”.
- Series one: 26 October – 21 December 1949
- Series two: 5 April – 17 May 1950
- Series three: 8 November 1950 – 28 February 1951
- Series four: 19 September – 28 November 1951
- Series five: 2 April – 11 June 1952