I turned 16 the year the programme started in 1979. I loved the show's irreverent attitude to the newly elected Thatcher government. I laughed at the sketch about a police investigation into a supposed plot against Maggie: "Forty-seven million people are helping police with their enquiries," - a reference to the deeply unpopular new government, and its deliberate use of mass unemployment to reduce inflation. I had a couple of audio tapes of the show's greatest hits - including the mischievously-named Memory Kinda Lingers....
Watching the BBC's 30 year anniversary tribute to Not the Nine O'Clock News this week, I was amazed how many of the sketches I remembered by heart after all those years. One of the most brilliant was Constable Savage, an indictment of the racism of many police officers in the 1980s. Savage conducted a campaign against a black man, arresting him on trumped up charges, including loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing. Eventually, the sergeant, played by Rowan Atkinson, told Savage he would not be tolerated, but was being transferred to the Special Patrol Group - the Metropolitan Police's notorious mobile response unit, which was disbanded a few years later.
I may have remembered the sketches, but I had no idea that Griff Rhys-Jones only joined the show in its second series, replacing Chris Langham. I could have sworn that I watched the first series - and was disappointed to find the scheduled first show had been replaced at the last minute because of a strike (well, this was 1979). Or was that the first Newsnight edition?
Satire has a naturally short shelf life. All those Not the Nine O'Clock News sketches taking the mickey out of contemporary newsreaders Jan Leaming and Angela Rippon would mean nothing to anyone born after 1970. And those 30 somethings would wonder who on earth Clive Jenkins was - see this parody of an early Question Time. (Answer: he was a particularly self-loving union baron from the days when the unions and weak management brought Britain to its knees.) Which explains why this classic series has rarely been repeated, unlike Dad's Army, which features in so many modern television schedules.
And finally... the music. The show brilliantly exposed the emptiness of the current pop scene in Nice Video, Shame about the Song. But for me the highlight was a parody of Ayatollah Khomeini, called There's a Man in Iran. It would never win the Mercury prize, but it made fun of this evil man in a brilliant way. The idea that an intelligent country could overthrow a brutal dictator only to surrender to a religious fanatic was almost beyond parody - but Pamela Stephenson managed it.