Son of Rasputin
YSTV and Aaardvark
YSTV first worked with the Aaardvark Society in 1993, filming four extremely silly sketches on 20th November for the Children In Need 1993 telethon broadcast on 26th November. Founded in 1991, Aaardvark was a somewhat unconventional comedy society which produced magazines, held video nights and enacted bizarre stunts around the campus (most famously erecting a notice in a field near campus saying "Please do not throw stones at this notice"). The success (or at least lack of failure) of these sketches led Aaardvark to propose an entire half-hour sketch show the following year, to be titled Son of Rasputin. Matthew Jarron (aka Jazz) began to assemble the scripts in February 1994 and filming began on 5th March and concluded after the Easter break on 7th May.
John Thompson assisted Aaardvark in creating the show. During this period YSTV were "sans-studio" (this was known as the Interregnum), though a temporary studio (a classroom in Goodricke) was used for the Quoter and South Bank Show sketches. The rest of the show was filmed on locations from Heslington (Thin Man on a Bicycle) to Goodricke (Pomegranate sketch, Record Shop), by way of Langwith (Toilet sketch), Vanbrugh (Tipperary and Hand Signals for Cyclists) the lake at Wentworth (Fishing sketch) and Aaardvark's regular meeting place at Langwith snackbar (Gift Shop, Pet Shop and Restaurant sketches among others).
Editing was carried out by John and Jazz on 18th and 19th June. The lack of proper studio facilities also meant poor editing quality, as S-VHS had to be transferred onto Betamax for editing and splicing together. At least the new Sony S-VHS camera had automatic white-balancing and a built-in mic, and the tapes sat in the camera for recording, unlike that red JVC, the only other option!
Although the Aaardvark society no longer survives at York, several of the members still hold regular get-togethers and have continued to film sketches, for their own amusement if nothing else! Some of Son of Rasputin sketches can be seen on the multimedia section of Aaardvark's website  .
Useless Fact (as if any of the above was actually useful!): JT appears as an extra in a few of the sketches - for example as "Soundman" in the Pomegranate sketch, the pole with the mic over his shoulder was only a prop and wasn't actually used for recording sound - the Sony's built-in mic did the job well enough (such modern technology!).
- Aaardvark's Parsnip Page — The website of the Aaardvark sociery.
- Video and sound clips from the Aaardvark multimedia archives — contains some videoclips of sketches Aaardvark did for Son of Rasputin and a few other sketches.
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