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Video Chronology of The History of British TV Comedy
January 24, 2008 1:38 AM   Subscribe

For the past 50 years, The British have made some of the funniest Comedy TV Shows. Come inside for A Video Chronology of The History of British TV Comedy.

[Hover over the Wikipedia links for show descriptions. Noteworthy shows highlighted with star (*). All links are double-checked but BBC seems to be on the war path, resulting in removed clips.]


1950s

Hancock's Half Hour (1954-1961): Crown Vs Sid James | Assorted sketches



1960s

* Steptoe and Son (1962-1974): Upstairs, Downstairs, Upstairs, Downstairs | And So To Bed

That Was The Week That Was (1962-1963): Intro | Desmond Leslie Punches Bernard Levin

* Not Only But Also (1965-1971): John Lennon | Best of compilation | Father and Roger (better version) | North Circular | Superthunderstingcar

Till Death Us Do Part (1965-1975): 1972 Christmas special | Else & Rita are very drunk | Christmas Dinner | Alf gets in a pub fight

The Likely Lads (1964-1966): [no clips found]

Dad's Army (1968-1977): If The Cap Fits | Menace From The Deep | Don't tell him Pike (and other sketches)

Morecambe and Wise (1968-1983): The Original Morecambe and Wise | The Breakfast Sketch | In bed | Several sketches | Eric and the Bee

On the Buses (1969-1973): An episode from 1969 | Christmas Duty episode

* Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974): Season Two Intro | Dead Parrot Sketch | Spam | Frontiers in Medicine | Argument Clinic | Silly walk | Self-Defense Against Fresh Fruit | How Not To Be Seen | The Funniest Joke In The World

* (Spike Milligan's) Q (1969-1982): The Lord's Prayer Epilogue | The Fresh Fruit Song | Kilt Chimes | Sandwich

* The Benny Hill Show (1969-1989): Hospital | The Life of Maurice Dribble | 1978 episode | The Lover | Casanova



1970s

The Two Ronnies (1971-1987): Fork handles | Squash match | Crossed Lines | Opticians | Swedish Made Simple/FUNEX

Are You Being Served? (1972-1985): No Sale episode | A Change is as Good as a Rest | By Appointment episode

* Love Thy Neighbour (1972-1976): Getting the bedroom suite

Last of the Summer Wine (1973-): First Contact | 30 years of Last of the summer wine

Porridge (1973-1977): Illegal Game Night | What's a Rilk? | Gentleman Prisoner | Stealing Pineapple Chunks

Rising Damp (1974-1978): Things that Go Bump in the Night | A Body Like Mine | Come On in the Water's Lovely

* It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974-1981): The Curse of The Sadhu | The Road To Bannu | Lofty's Little Friend | My Lovely Boy

* Fawlty Towers (1975-1979): The Germans | Basil Snaps | Too Much Butter | I Speak English | How to manage your staff

The Good Life (1975-1978): from The Green Door episode | Margo V Jerry | Margo loses it!

* The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-1979): Title Sequence | Grot | Weekend Safari Trip | Ravioli | Forces of anarchy

Open All Hours (1976 and 1985): [no clips found]

George and Mildred (1976-1979): All Work and No Pay | House for Sale | You Must Have Showers

To the Manor Born (1979-1981): Raising Money | After The Funeral | Watch The 2007 Christmas Special Episode

* Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979-1982): Gerald the Gorilla | Darts | Barry Manilow | The Judge | General Synod's Life of Christ | Songs Of Praise | Bathroom Plan



1980s

* Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister (1980-1988): How's the Environment? | The Empty Hospital | Complete Confidence | Planes, Trains and Boats | A Clear Conscience | Former PM's Memoirs | Who Reads the Papers

Hi-de-Hi! (1980-1988): Bad Acting?

Only Fools and Horses (1981-2003): Time On Our Hands episode | May the Force Be With You

* 'Allo 'Allo! (1982-1992): The Season One Pilot | Dance Of Hitler Youth | The Nicked Knockwurst episode

The Young Ones (1982-1984): Neil's Letter | Exploding Kettle | Entrance | Teetering Crockery

* Blackadder (1983-1989): Lord Flashheart | Amy and Amiability | MacBeth | Flashheart Redux | The Cavalier Years Special | General Hospital | Private Baldrick singing

Spitting Image (1984-1996): Never Met a Nice South African | Madness sing Our House spoof | Every Bomb You Drop | Princess Di sings Morrissey

Chance in a Million (1984-1986): [no clips found]
posted by Foci for Analysis (96 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
* The Office (2001-2003): The Dance | Gareth Strikes | David Begs For His Job Back | Jelly Stapler | David's Second Date | My Mother's Breasts

Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights (2001): Late night phone calls | Lord Love Rocket | Season 1 episode 4 Clip

* The Armando Iannucci Shows (2001): The First episode | Twats | Excess | Except for viewers in Scotland

Dead Ringers (2002-): George Bush | Deal or no Deal | Russel Crowe Skit | Lord of The Rings | Star Wars spoof | Top Gear

Little Britain (2003-2006): Meeting the Parents | Carol in Spain | Lou & Andy at the Swimming Pool | Lou and Andy on the athletics track | Fat Fighters | Vicky Pollard & her gang

Peep Show (2003-): Season 4 episode 6 | Season 4 episode 5 | Season 4 episode 4 | Season 4 episode 3 | Gog is Refusing to Like the Track

* QI (2003-): Watch Season 1 Episode 1 | Christmas special | Christmas, Christianity and Mithras | Spiders | Horror stars

* Green Wing (2004-2007): Episode one | Classic Guy Moment | Comic Relief | Well you can *%#! off then!

The Thick of It (2005): Watch episode 1 | Watch episode 2 | Watch episode 3 | iPod rant | Watch the Xmas Special episode right here

Extras (2005-2007): Wizard! You shall not pass! | Timezone Argument | David Bowie | Daniel Radcliffe | Patrick Stewart | Christmas Special

* The IT Crowd (2006-): Smoke and Mirrors | Soccer | The work outing | Calamity Jen episode | The Red Door

Gavin & Stacey (2007-): Watch The History Boys episode right here

Outnumbered (2007-): Names, kicks and frisbees | Daddy, I'm scared | I want this toy! | I'm leaving home | Reach Dad's lofty heights

* The Armstrong and Miller Show (2007-): Streetwise RAF pilots | The origins of Smalltalk | Story with a twist! | Babysitter | From the skies
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:42 AM on January 24, 2008 [117 favorites]


Fantastic ! thanks a lot.
posted by nicolin at 1:55 AM on January 24, 2008


My goodness.
posted by RokkitNite at 1:55 AM on January 24, 2008


Wow, but ... On. The. Buses ?
posted by badrolemodel at 1:58 AM on January 24, 2008


Plus the obligatory "Spaced isn't noteworthy but Smack The Pony is???" ;)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:09 AM on January 24, 2008


Holy hell.
posted by Phire at 2:15 AM on January 24, 2008


Great post, an amazing collection. I just moved to the UK a few months ago and have been amazed by British comedy. Here's another favorite: the satirical dateline-style "Brass Eye," which was taken off the air for an amazing special called "Paedogeddon," linked here in three parts.
posted by farishta at 2:18 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Best FPP ever! You're a God. End of story!

(Also, if anyone's interested, you can easily watch all six episodes of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace on YouTube, and here's the BBC's playlist of Mighty Boosh clips.. just in case anyone wanted to check them out!)
posted by Mael Oui at 2:22 AM on January 24, 2008


Chris Morris is a genius.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:23 AM on January 24, 2008


What about Coupling? Man Stroke Woman?
Great set of links, though - a good way to get an introduction to stuff that I wouldn't necessarily sit down to watch an episode of on TV, and therefore don't know what I'm missing out on...
posted by Chunder at 2:24 AM on January 24, 2008


I always enjoyed Goodness Gracious Me. See here: Going out for an English, Arranged Shag, Rehabilitation, World War II.
posted by Xere at 2:28 AM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, and French and Saunders doing Björk — classic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:30 AM on January 24, 2008


You missed The Goodies!

(Goodies at 6; Doctor Who at 6:30. Best hour of TV EVER. My childhood was the richer for it.)
posted by andraste at 2:31 AM on January 24, 2008


Wow. That's the most YouTube links in a FPP ever! Still just YouTube links though.
posted by crossoverman at 2:32 AM on January 24, 2008


And after all, The Goodies is a show at which someone quite literally died laughing.
posted by andraste at 2:34 AM on January 24, 2008


Wow. That's the most YouTube links in a FPP ever! Still just YouTube links though.

That's like standing on the mezzanine inside Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin, casting a couple of bored glances around then sniffing: 'Still just dollars though.'
posted by RokkitNite at 2:35 AM on January 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Good golly, that is a lot of work and good show(s) (though it pre-empts a good few more in depth FPPs and will be the source of a few cries of 'Double' in the future I suspect).
posted by Gratishades at 2:38 AM on January 24, 2008


The 1980's is missing Alas Smith and Jones, The Lenny Henry Show, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and Jeeves and Wooster.
posted by roofus at 2:50 AM on January 24, 2008


The Drop the Dead Donkey clips have been well selected - the stuff on that show was so topical that they were making fun of current events that had happened that week; I bet that time hasn't been very kind to some of the sketches now that they're out of context.
The phrase "a nice cup of coffee and a lobotomy, and everything will be fine" is still appropriate, though :)
posted by Chunder at 2:53 AM on January 24, 2008


I grew up listening to Dad's tapes of Hancock radio shows. Obviously contemporaries of the show didn't have the same trouble I have in watching it when translated to TV, cos at the time it was the biggest show on TV just as it was on the radio. Painful to watch for me though. Even with later series where they aired on TV first and then radio versions were done later (like The Blood Doner, The Radio Ham, etc), the TV versions seem stilted and unfunny compared to the radio version.
posted by vbfg at 3:10 AM on January 24, 2008


btw, no Likely Lads clips but there are a few Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? clips knocking about.
posted by vbfg at 3:13 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Great list! I've lived in the States almost half my life, and, especially since moving away, I've always felt that British TV comedies were just so much more inventive, daring and clever than anything you'd see on US TV - especially when you consider that these were all "network" shows and not cable. It just makes me laugh when people here in the US trot out the old stereotype of the British being reserved or prudish. "Wardrobe malfunction" LOL.

I'd like to nominate "Three of a Kind" ('81-'83) - fast-paced sketch-based comedy with a regular cast and recurring characters that presaged "The Fast Show" (aka "Brilliant" as it is titled on BBC America) launched Tracy Ullman's career (and to a lesser extent, Lenny Henry's), so in a sense you could say ... no Three of a Kind, no Tracy Ullman Show, and therefore .... no Simpsons!
posted by kcds at 3:21 AM on January 24, 2008


I thank you for reminding me of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

No The Mighty Boosh ?

Serious omission.

Here is some of their early radio work
posted by mattoxic at 3:32 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man about the house?
posted by mattoxic at 3:40 AM on January 24, 2008


Who was the comedian missing half a finger again? Why can I never remember his name?

Problem with this FPP: I have work to do. Today I learned in May I will be spending $2000 on a crown. Given that, I suspect my clients won't be able to pay to have me watch more than 50% of the links.
posted by maxwelton at 3:50 AM on January 24, 2008


Who was the comedian missing half a finger again?

Dave Allen?
posted by Phanx at 3:55 AM on January 24, 2008


I'm saddened by the lack of Mighty Boosh but heartened by the inclusion of Vic Reeves.

Any comedy show that initially makes you go "what? The? Fuck?", and then slowly grows on you until you're a raving fan who won't talk about anything else is not properly British.

Here's Old Greg.
posted by seanyboy at 4:02 AM on January 24, 2008


Good night, thank you, and may your god go with you.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:11 AM on January 24, 2008


Thank you! A couple cold nights on the road will be a little better after checking out these links. Here is a bit more Peep Show. One of the funniest shows out there.

mathowie--this deserves a gold star for posting.
posted by zerobyproxy at 4:36 AM on January 24, 2008


Am I at the end of the list yet? (Theme to Benny Hill is playing in my head.)
posted by not_on_display at 4:37 AM on January 24, 2008


Great Googly Moogly. Between this, the Atlantic archives, and the Avante Garde site, I will never get anything done for the rest of my life.

And since I've been having myself a Black Books marathon and would like to share: Bill Bailey does Kraftwerk in his particular way.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:38 AM on January 24, 2008


Llll arrr ruh duh
posted by monkeyJuice at 4:49 AM on January 24, 2008


No Naked Video... from which came the immortal Rab C Nesbitt
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:05 AM on January 24, 2008


My two pence: Early doors, once of the finest character comedies this country has ever produced.

You Tube search

Sorry, I'm at work so don't have time to select individual clips, but try going in episode order.

Background:

BBC
Early doors site
Wikipedia
posted by fatfrank at 5:06 AM on January 24, 2008


And another Scottish sketch show that spawned a great sitcom was Chewin' The Fat which spawned Still Game.
There's loads of both on You Tube
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:13 AM on January 24, 2008


This is too much
posted by FidelDonson at 5:14 AM on January 24, 2008


I remember as a kid watching Dave Allen late on friday nights with my dad andy ounger brother. My mum was a faily committed catholic refused to sit and watch- she ddn't make a big deal of it, but would busy herself doing things. She'd always be in the room when Dave delivered a punchline, and always laughed along with us- but importantly, like a good catholic, she wan't watching.
posted by mattoxic at 5:15 AM on January 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I was just recently stumbled across Bad New. A precursor to The Young Ones i think.
posted by FidelDonson at 5:16 AM on January 24, 2008


* thats 'Bad News'
posted by FidelDonson at 5:17 AM on January 24, 2008


I think 'Bad News' is post-Young Ones. I remember watching it and thinking it wasn't as good as the Young Ones anyway.
posted by Summer at 5:48 AM on January 24, 2008


Also, check out the comedy on Radio 4 & Radio 7. The Listen Again section is on demand.

A lot of the comedy that ends up on TV starts on Radio 4 & Radio 7 repeats classics from the archives.

(Bleak Expectations is a current personal favourite.)

Other things to add:
Keeping Up Appearances?!?!? Bloody hell...but the on locations are filmed in my birth town.
The Goodies were crap when they went to ITV.

In reverse, I'd recommend the UKians to check out 30 Rock (Ch5), My Name is Earl (Ch4), The Sarah Silverman Show (Paramount), Robot Chicken & Boondocks (Bravo/Adult Swim slot). I certainly wouldn't recommend getting them via bittorrent if you can't find them via your TV.
posted by i_cola at 5:48 AM on January 24, 2008


Great post, but whenever I see Americans discussing British comedy I am always amazed that utter shite like Keeping Up Appearances crops up. I mean, it has one joke and only one joke. And that joke is not funny.

Out of the latest stuff, I'd recommend Gavin & Stacey. Funniest sitcom I've seen for years.
posted by afx237vi at 6:17 AM on January 24, 2008


Bad News was part of Comic Strip Presents..., which was very early Channel 4. In fact the Famous Five one might even have been opening night Channel 4, unless my memory is letting me down.

Ever so slightly post Young Ones, but only just.

I remember them doing a catchy little piano number about a girl called Imogen and "all the people". I'm sure I'd heard it before.
posted by vbfg at 6:18 AM on January 24, 2008


"Bad News" was the low-budget, British "Spinal Tap".

Thanks for reminding me of "The Comic Strip Presents ..." - yes, "Five Go Mad In Dorset" which was, if I recall correctly, followed by "Five Go Mad On Mescaline". Favo(u)rite memory from one of the two - exterior shot of a tent at night, figure of Dawn French silhouetted on the fabric, clearly she is seated, I think with her knees drawn up, whereupon Timmy the dog enters the shot, snuffles around Dawn French's nethers which elicits from Ms. French the response "Oh, Timmy, you're so licky ..."
posted by kcds at 6:30 AM on January 24, 2008


Curse, bless you now! I had WORK to do and a crappy meeting to attend but now...it will be spent watching all these clips and whatever anyone else is vetting for as great shows. I think I will send this FPP to as many people as possible to bring the workplace productivity to a standstill. In these times of "we are doomed!" how could you bring down the productivity of the world economy like this? Oh the manatee.
posted by jadepearl at 6:34 AM on January 24, 2008


Also missing from the list is Rab C Nesbitt (88-99), about an unemployed, alcoholic Glaswegian and his bizarre, dysfunctional family. Probably one of the bleakest, most depressing sitcoms ever shown on British TV.

Good luck with the accents -- Lottery Numbers, City of Culture, Fitba
posted by afx237vi at 6:46 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did I miss it? The Kumars at # 42 appeared on BBC America, so I assume it was also on BBC
posted by Gungho at 6:54 AM on January 24, 2008


No When The Whistle Blows? Why, that show introduced Americans to catchphrase comedy!
posted by the sobsister at 7:04 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's the post-Python Palin Ripping Yarns... Here's the first part of Golden Gorden. Eight One! Eight Bloody One!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:17 AM on January 24, 2008


Yeah yeah British TV is so great. But do you guys have According to Jim? (men are so stupid! lol!) Did you guys have Home Improvement? (clumsy oaf! men are so stupid! lol) What about Growing Pains? (cute puppy! men are so stupid! LOL) Or Who's the Boss? (men are so stupid, but successful women are cold and asexual! lol!)

Yeah, that's what I thought. Call me when your shows get a network-approved moral message ten minutes before the closing credits.

Dude, no Coupling? "You have the eyes of ten women...not in a jar or anything, I'm not accusing you!"
posted by Pastabagel at 7:22 AM on January 24, 2008


A cursory examination of the first part of this list reveals that most sketch comedy in late twentieth century America - particularly Saturday Night Live, Laugh In, and the like - is an embarrassing regurgitation of British comedic structure. Anyone who thinks "Coupling" was a British ripoff of "Friends" completely fail to see the dynamic between the expression of comedic talent in these two countries (Besides, we tried to turn Coupling into Friends and failed miserably-God that was embarrassing).

Thanks UK! The world would be a hell of a lot less funny without ya!
posted by ZachsMind at 7:25 AM on January 24, 2008


Great! Super!
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:25 AM on January 24, 2008


Oh. Right. No Coupling YouTube linkage. We'll fix that.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:29 AM on January 24, 2008


"Bad News" was the low-budget, British "Spinal Tap".

If Spinal Tap were doing a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody they'd never "skip the bollocks and go straight for the rocking bit".
posted by vbfg at 7:35 AM on January 24, 2008


One of my personal hobbyhorse topics - I'd say you missed a select few, but otherwise excellent job.

The Harry Enfield Show: Miles Cholmondely Warner

Alexei Sayle's Stuff - very much a precursor to the Armanado Iannuci shows in style.

The Mary Whitehouse Experience: History Today

Newman And Baddiel: In pieces.

Fist Of Fun : Simon Quinlank, King of Hobbies, some early appearances from the actor Kevin Eldon.

This Morning With Richard Not Judy : And Then I Got Off The Bus

The surreal, twisted ambient sketch show Jam. Chris Morris' least accessible show, probably. Often filmed to give a deliberately disjointed, dreamlike feel, like in Doc Cock (both clips feature Kevin Eldon )

The more or less execrable 11'O Clock Show, notable mainly for showing early appearances from Ricky Gervais (Essentially playing the role now occupied by Karl Pilkington on his podcasts ) and Ali G.

Look Around You: Music 2000 - Machadaynu. Kevin Eldon again.

Nathan Barley, Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker's brutal skewering of vacuous new media Idiots in London.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:42 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is beautiful. Thank you!
posted by jtron at 7:42 AM on January 24, 2008


I just got Season One of Father Ted from Netflix, and was amused but not blown away. Are the later seasons better, or is this one that just isn't working for me? (If this helps you triangulate my tastes: Fawlty Towers: best show ever; Knowing Me, Knowing You: painfully hilarious; Are You Being Served: painfully unfunny; Mr. Bean: crime against humanity)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:42 AM on January 24, 2008


By 9 o'clock I am well thumbed.
posted by asok at 8:04 AM on January 24, 2008


jaysus h keerist on a pogo stick!

In my defense, it should be noted that at the time I was very, very drunk.
posted by mwhybark at 8:14 AM on January 24, 2008


This post needs its own wiki. STAT!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:30 AM on January 24, 2008


I knew that I would forget something. I'd really want to reedit the post and add your suggestions, just to make it a bit more complete. Anyways, glad you liked it.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:31 AM on January 24, 2008


I just got Season One of Father Ted from Netflix, and was amused but not blown away. Are the later seasons better, or is this one that just isn't working for me? (If this helps you triangulate my tastes: Fawlty Towers: best show ever; Knowing Me, Knowing You: painfully hilarious; Are You Being Served: painfully unfunny; Mr. Bean: crime against humanity)

If you don't like episode 1, let alone the first series, you're never going to like it. Having said that, I reacted badly against the IT Crowd when I first saw it (written by Graham Linehan who co-wrote Father Ted) but came to love it.
posted by Summer at 8:35 AM on January 24, 2008


Holy crap - what a post. Nice job.
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 9:05 AM on January 24, 2008


I dunno, Summer, I went back and watched the first season of Father Ted not too long ago and found the first few episodes sort of off. I love the series, but I think it took while for the humour and sensibility to really jell.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:07 AM on January 24, 2008


What, no Mind Your Language?
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:10 AM on January 24, 2008


This Morning With Richard Not Judy : And Then I Got Off The Bus

I heard that they were hated by the 'comedy establishment' for that and similar stuff... I still quote 'It's like X on acid' or even lazier 'It's like X on drugs' when they did Lazy Journalist Slags.

A great show that was... all the better for being on Sunday mornings and watched through the haze of a hangover.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:22 AM on January 24, 2008


Seconding Jam, if feeling creeped out and ill at ease makes you laugh.

Thanks for the list! There's a bunch of things on here I used to watch on a local's "Britcom" night, but couldn't remember the names of the shows to google.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:37 AM on January 24, 2008


I'll toss in As Time Goes By. I don't know if it qualifies as a comedy, but I'm way outside the demographic and me and my sweetie like it nonetheless.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:46 AM on January 24, 2008


Sorry, but no Boosh? It should be in the top ten, along with The Office. This is an old man's list.
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:27 AM on January 24, 2008


I hate you! I really do! You know why? Coz you're going to get me fired today! I know it!
but damn!!!! Thanks!
posted by ramix at 11:17 AM on January 24, 2008


a bit of frye and laurie?
jeeves and wooster?


but otherwise.......totally awesome. thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you!!!
posted by CitizenD at 12:09 PM on January 24, 2008


Don't forget the Two Ronnies' Mastermind sketch.
posted by infidelpants at 12:29 PM on January 24, 2008


Tommy Cooper.
posted by Abiezer at 12:37 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I heard that they were hated by the 'comedy establishment' for that and similar stuff... I still quote 'It's like X on acid' or even lazier 'It's like X on drugs' when they did Lazy Journalist Slags.

A great show that was... all the better for being on Sunday mornings and watched through the haze of a hangover.


Try getting through 'The Kurious Orange' on a pill - sorry X for American readers - comedown and try to remain sane....don't start me on Rod Hull.....
posted by Mintyblonde at 12:46 PM on January 24, 2008


Stella Street: The truly bizarre world of Hollywood A-listers living in a side street in Surbition.

Joe Pesci to Michael Caine: “What the fuck’s mulch? You’re going on like a fuckin’ garden gnome. I’m trying to bury a stiff here and you’re giving me all this rosebed shit, you mulch fuck.”

Jack Nicholson tries to buy Shreddies at Mick and Keef's corner shop: "Keith, you are so fucking out of it anything looks like a fuckin' pack of Shreddies at this time of day, huh"

Joe Pesci blows up over some groceries: "You fish-stick selling fuck"
posted by ClanvidHorse at 1:24 PM on January 24, 2008


If you like Coupling you may also like Joking Apart(episode one part 1,2,3,) also written by Steven Moffat I saw it once on PBS years ago and recently rediscovered it.
posted by Tenuki at 2:24 PM on January 24, 2008


WTF, man, I had things to do today!

This is a very timely post for me as I was just looking for something like this on Netflix yesterday.

I remember seeing a documentary about the history of British comedy on Bravo (the American cable TV channel) in 1997 or so. Does anyone remember this?

I've been looking for a skit that was on it for years. It had two gentlemen in suits sitting at the bar in a pub. One is talking to the other one like he's making a real serious point but his speech is complete jibberish. When he's done speaking, the other man responds with "Now that's a lot of nonsense and you know it."

Has anyone ever seen this?

This documentary is also where I found out about the first episode of the second season of The Young Ones, which is the funniest thing I have ever seen. You know, the one where they go on University Challenge.
posted by redteam at 4:49 PM on January 24, 2008


Many thanks for this - a keeper for sure. I was just talking about The Thin Blue Line yesterday.
posted by enjoytroy at 6:12 PM on January 24, 2008


All Hens on D'egg!

Fabulous post Foci.

I'm still amazed at how TMWRNJ managed to get on TV on a Sunday morning. I wish the Beeb would release it on DVD.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 7:58 PM on January 24, 2008


This documentary is also where I found out about the first episode of the second season of The Young Ones, which is the funniest thing I have ever seen. You know, the one where they go on University Challenge.

Bambi! That actually was the best episode of the Young Ones!

For these mammoth YouTube posts that some of you have made (though, I think this is the most extensive, impressive one I've ever seen).. is this something that you meticulously work on for weeks or do you actually knock it off in just a day or two?
posted by Mael Oui at 8:31 PM on January 24, 2008


Huh. I guess I never seen Spaced.

I mean I thought I did. I'd be like in my head, "Spaced? That's that thing with that guy Simon Pegg who did Shaun of the Dead yeah that was cool. I think I remember seeing that years ago." And I thought it was like Shaun of the Dead only.. about space aliens. You know. Like, Sci-fi. But I just saw the first episode of the first season, thanks to this thread. It's not like that at all.

Huh. I should go hunt down the DVDs now...
posted by ZachsMind at 11:14 PM on January 24, 2008


Oh yes you should see Spaced.

I'm having a go at a wiki page.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:52 AM on January 25, 2008


Sorry, all you Booshers, but a handful of brilliant moments aside, you can't be serious that it's on a par with Brass Eye, Harry Enfield or Not the Nine O'Clock News!

Really shocked Enfield & Brass Eye not on that original list.

Am cringing as I say this, but what about Shameless and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps?
posted by Grrlscout at 3:28 AM on January 25, 2008


So you think Boosh isn't good enough, but then nominate... Two Pints and a Packet of Crisps...??
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:48 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Mighty Boosh is definitely on a par with Spaced and the IT Crowd, disappointing though the third series totally was.

Howard: Women would swoon when Tommy shuffled into a room. It was a different aesthetic then. None of your fashionable androgeny in Tommy's day. He was a man's man. I mean, look at you, the feather cut, the pointy features, the jeans.

Vince: I'm contemporary.

Howard: Exactly. Put you in the '50s, you'd be immediately imprisoned for being a witch.


The thing about the Boosh is that it's habit forming.
posted by Summer at 4:38 AM on January 25, 2008


OH, and the other thing about the Mighty Boosh is it looks and sounds brilliant.
posted by Summer at 5:02 AM on January 25, 2008


Bad News came before Spinal Tap. It's just something worth remembering...
posted by jackiemcghee at 8:08 AM on January 25, 2008


My favourite show is actually Sensitive Skin.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:19 AM on January 25, 2008


Boosh, especially the first series, has some of the best double-act banter I've ever seen. It is also to be heavily commended for striking away from the dry, cringe-comedy Office and Peep Show mode, by being deliriously, unashamedly surreal and colourful.

Of course, Flight Of The Conchords, which I regard as an honourary British Comedy (it's completely NZ/US, but it deserves its place in the canon ) has done a brilliant job of synthesizing what makes both types of comedy so enjoyable.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:15 AM on January 25, 2008


Oh, and EndsOfInvention - yes. Two Pints does nothing for me, other than getting me into a frothing state of mouth-foaming annoyance at its continued existence.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:17 AM on January 25, 2008


PastaBagel: "I'll toss in As Time Goes By..."

I'd definitely second the motion of including As Time Goes By in this list. Not not that one. The other one. Tho far from surreal or hip or any of those other things, it's delightful, and Dame Judi Dench is hot! Tho perhaps not 'timeless' It certainly deals with themes and concepts that most everyone can understand. Generation gaps. Estrangement. Long lost love. The simple pleasures of life far outweighing the melodrama that most people embrace and wallow. The story of a man and woman who met during a war, fall in love, and then due to circumstance are separated for decades only to happen into one another's lives why its simply beautiful - like roses and waterfalls and rainbows are beautiful. The laughs aren't as mile-a-minute as The Two Ronnies but the meat on the bone is far juicier. The writing of As Time Goes By is impeccable. The characters are heartwarming. It's great fun.

If this series didn't invent the phrase romantic comedy, they reinvented it, or perhaps made the phrase obsolete. Admittedly, the older one gets, the more they're going to appreciate As Time Goes By, so if you're a big fan of British comedy, and too young to understand and appreciate why it sucks to have a friendly kiss with a lady friend and then suddenly realize you have to go pee... Well, let's just say with this television series you have something to look forward to.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:55 AM on January 25, 2008


The Young Ones at 31? Spaced at 66!? I demand a recount! And no Hyperdrive?

Actually, I agree with a lot of the inclusions here, just not necessarily the order.
posted by quin at 2:21 PM on January 25, 2008


EndsOfInvention: Plus the obligatory "Spaced isn't noteworthy but Smack The Pony is???" ;)
It's in there. Surprisingly, right above Smack the Pony.

blue_beetle: This post needs its own wiki. STAT!
Done. Er, wait, you meant wiki page, right?

quin: Actually, I agree with a lot of the inclusions here, just not necessarily the order.
It's in chronological order!

Yeah, it's kind of hard to work on editing that page without getting horribly sidetracked.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:42 PM on January 25, 2008


Oh, wait, you meant Spaced didn't get a star. Yeah, that's just wrong.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:38 PM on January 25, 2008


I knew there was something missing here, and it's the Mary Whitehouse Experience, especially the History Today sketches by Newman and Baddiel, which for some completely unfathomable reason I find hilarious. That's You, that is. 1; 2, 3; 4.

Thanks for the great post.
posted by Rumple at 11:51 PM on January 28, 2008


The order for those History today links should be 2,3,4 then link 1 is the three episodes from the 2nd season.
posted by Rumple at 12:08 AM on January 29, 2008


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