The Utterly Utterly Merry Comic Relief Christmas Book

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The Utterly Utterly Merry Comic Relief Christmas Book was a fundraising book issued on behalf of Comic Relief in 1986. It was edited by Douglas Adams and Peter Fincham and contained contributions from Adams and many of the leading comedy writers and performers of the day.

Douglas Adams British author and humorist

Douglas Noel Adams was an English author, scriptwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist.

Peter Fincham British television executive

Peter Arthur Fincham is a British television producer and executive. From 2008 until 2016, he was the Director of Television for the ITV network. He was also formerly the Controller of BBC One, the primary television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation, until his resignation on 5 October 2007, following criticism over the handling of the A Year with the Queen debacle.

Contents

Contents

The book is of particular interest to fans of Douglas Adams' work as it contains several items written by him which are hard to find or exclusive to the collection. Besides the novella Young Zaphod Plays it Safe and the short story "The Private Life of Genghis Khan", which have since appeared in The Salmon of Doubt , the book also contains Adams' short story "A Christmas Fairly Story" (written in collaboration with Terry Jones) and three supplements to The Meaning of Liff .

"The Private Life of Genghis Khan" is a short story written by Douglas Adams and Graham Chapman. It is based in part on a sketch devised by Graham Chapman, and written by Chapman and Adams for the 1975 TV show pilot Out of the Trees. It appears in The Utterly Utterly Merry Comic Relief Christmas Book and some versions of The Salmon of Doubt. It is also available on Douglas Adams' website.

<i>The Salmon of Doubt</i> 2002 book by Douglas Adams

The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time is a posthumous collection of previously published and unpublished material by Douglas Adams. It consists largely of essays about technology and life experiences, but its major selling point is the inclusion of the incomplete novel on which Adams was working at the time of his death, The Salmon of Doubt.

Terry Jones Welsh comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director and author

Terence Graham Parry Jones is a Welsh actor, writer, comedian, screenwriter, film director and historian, best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy troupe.

Items by other authors include:

Sue Townsend English writer and humorist

Susan Lillian Townsend, FRSL, was an English writer and humorist whose work encompasses novels, plays and works of journalism. She was best known for creating the character Adrian Mole.

Adrian Albert Mole is the fictional protagonist in a series of books by English author Sue Townsend. The character first appeared in a BBC Radio 4 play in 1982. The books are written in the form of a diary, with some additional content such as correspondence. The first two books appealed to many readers as a realistic and humorous treatment of the inner life of an adolescent boy. They also captured something of the zeitgeist of the UK during the Thatcher period.

<i>The True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole</i> 1989 Book by Sue Townsend

The True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lilian Townsend is the third book in the Adrian Mole series, written by Sue Townsend. It focuses on the worries and regrets of a teenage (supposed) intellectual. The title is long and often shortened to the more convenient The True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole but the three names are part of the full title and represent fictional actual content of the book.

Fundraising

The book promised that profits would be distributed "80% to SAVE THE CHILDREN FUND and OXFAM for famine relief and 20% to Charity Projects to support young people faced with the problems of drug abuse, homelessness and disability here in Britain."

Oxfam humanitarian organization

Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. It is a major nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations. Winnie Byanyima has been the executive director of Oxfam International since 2013.

Censorship

The book has never been reprinted following its initial print run, as a result of religious censorship.

In line with its Christmas theme the book contained several pieces based on the Christian nativity story, including:

Christianity is a Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, Eucharist [Holy Communion], prayer, confession, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations have ordained clergy and hold regular group worship services.

Nativity of Jesus accounts of the birth of Jesus

The nativity of Jesus or birth of Jesus is the basis for the Christian holiday of Christmas and is described in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts differ, but agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of King Herod the Great, his mother Mary was married to a man named Joseph, who was descended from King David and was not his biological father, and that his birth was caused by divine intervention. Luke's version says the birth took place during a Roman census, mentions an announcement to shepherds by angels, presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and gives the name of the angel who announces the coming birth to Mary. Matthew's version mentions the arrival of the Magi, the flight into Egypt by the family, and the Massacre of the Innocents by King Herod. The consensus of scholars is that both gospels were written about AD 75-85, and while it is possible that one account might be based on the other, or that the two share common source material, the majority conclusion is that the two nativity narratives are independent of each other.

Nicholas Winterton MP led a campaign to ask W.H. Smith not to stock the book. [1] Christian groups took offence, and attempted to get the book withdrawn. They picketed bookshops and threatened to sue for blasphemy. Eventually they prevented the book from being reprinted by applying pressure on the publisher, Collins. Collins held the rights to print certain versions of the Bible and it was threatened that these would be withdrawn. Douglas Adams complained that, as a result, considerably less money was raised for famine relief.

Contributors

Douglas Adams, Rowan Atkinson, Glen Baxter, Michael Bywater, Graham Chapman, Nobby Clarke, Ron Cobb, Richard Curtis, Angus Deayton, Adrian Edmonson, Michael Fishwick, Michael Foreman, Stephen Fry, Kim Fuller, George Harrison, Michael Heath, Lenny Henry, Ian Hislop, Caroline Holden, Richard Ingrams, Antony Jay, Guy Jenkin, Gray Jolliffe, Terry Jones, Trevor Leighton, John Lloyd, Jonathan Lynn, Thomas Mann, Rik Mayall, Lise Mayer, Michael Palin, Geoffrey Perkins, Stephen Pile, Nigel Planer, Christopher Ryan, Griff Rhys Jones, Posy Simmonds, Mel Smith, The Spitting Image Workshop, Sue Townsend, Bill Tidy, John Wells.

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References

  1. "Times Diary - Not so comic". The Times. December 3, 1986.