Big Train is a surreal British television comedy sketch show created by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, writers of the successful sitcom Father Ted. The first series was broadcast on BBC Two in 1998, while the second, in which Linehan was not involved, aired in 2002.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British sketch comedy series created by the comedy group Monty Python and broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines. It also featured animations by Terry Gilliam, often sequenced or merged with live action. The first episode was recorded on 7 September and broadcast on 5 October 1969 on BBC One, with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, plus two episodes for German TV.
The show often targets the idiosyncrasies of British life, especially that of professionals, and is at times politically charged. The members of Monty Python were highly educated. Terry Jones and Michael Palin are Oxford University graduates; Eric Idle, John Cleese, and Graham Chapman attended Cambridge University; and American-born member Terry Gilliam is an Occidental College graduate. Their comedy is often pointedly intellectual, with numerous erudite references to philosophers and literary figures. The series followed and elaborated upon the style used by Spike Milligan in his ground breaking series Q5, rather than the traditional sketch show format. The team intended their humour to be impossible to categorise, and succeeded so completely that the adjective "Pythonesque" was invented to define it and, later, similar material.
TV Show Star Rating : 8.2 Read More
The League of Gentlemen is a British comedy television series that premiered on BBC Two in 1999. The show is set in Royston Vasey, a fictional town in Northern England based on Bacup, Lancashire. It follows the lives of dozens of bizarre townspeople, most of whom are played by three of the show's four writers—Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, and Reece Shearsmith—who, along with Jeremy Dyson, formed the League of Gentlemen comedy troupe in 1995. The series originally aired for three series from 1999 until 2002 followed by a film in 2005. A three-part revival mini-series was broadcast in December 2017 to celebrate the group's 20th anniversary.
TV Show Star Rating : 7.4 Read More
The Armando Iannucci Shows is a series of eight programmes directed by Armando Iannucci and written by Iannucci with Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil. It was shown on UK's Channel 4 from September to October 2001. Each episode focused on specific themes relating to human nature and existentialism, around which Iannucci would weave a series of surreal sketches and monologues.
Recurring themes in the episodes are the superficiality of modern culture, our problems communicating with each other, the mundane nature of working life and feelings of personal inadequacy and social awkwardness. Several characters also make repeat appearances in the shows, including the East End thug, who solves every problem with threats of violence; Hugh, an old man who delivers surreal monologues about what things were like in the old days; and Iannucci's barber, who is full of nonsensical anecdotes.
Iannucci has been quoted as saying it is the comedy series he is most proud of making. He told The Metro in April 2007 "The Armando Iannucci Show [sic] on Channel 4 came out around 9/11, so it was overlooked for good reasons. People had other things on their minds. But that was the closest to me expressing my comic outlook on life."
TV Show Star Rating : 7.8 Read More
Vic Reeves Big Night Out is a British cult comedy stage show and later TV series which ran on Channel 4 for two series in 1990 and 1991, as well as a New Year special. It marked the beginnings of the collaboration between Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer and started their Vic and Bob comedy double act.
The show was later acknowledged as a seminal force in British comedy throughout the 1990s and which continues to the present day.
Arguably the most surreal of the pair's work, Vic Reeves Big Night Out was effectively a parody of the variety shows which dominated the early years of television, but which were, by the early 1990s, falling from grace. Vic, introduced by Patrick Allen as "Britain's Top Light Entertainer and Singer", would sit behind a cluttered desk talking nonsense and introducing the various segments and surreal guests on the show. Vic Reeves Big Night Out is notable as the only time in their career where Vic solely took the role of host, while Bob was consigned to the back stage, appearing every few minutes as either himself or as a strange character. The two received equal billing in the series credits.
On 3 October 2007, the first episode was re-broadcast on More4 as part of Channel 4 at 25, a season of classic Channel 4 programmes shown to celebrate the channel's 25th birthday.
TV Show Star Rating : 9 Read More
Jam is a postmodern British dark comedy series created, written and directed by Chris Morris, and was broadcast on Channel 4 during March and April 2000. It was based on the earlier BBC Radio 1 show, Blue Jam, and consisted of a series of unsettling sketches unfolding over an ambient soundtrack.
Many of the sketches re-used the original radio soundtracks with the actors lip-synching their lines, an unusual technique which added to the programme's unsettling atmosphere.
The cast, which comprised people who Morris had worked with on his earlier TV work such as The Day Today and Brass Eye, included Amelia Bullmore, David Cann, Julia Davis, Kevin Eldon and Mark Heap, as well as occasional appearances from Morris himself. It was written by Chris Morris and Peter Baynham, with additional material contributed by Jane Bussmann, David Quantick, Graham Linehan, Arthur Mathews and the cast.
TV Show Star Rating : 6 Read More
The Mighty Boosh is a British comedy television show created by Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding and others. The Mighty Boosh is a comic fantasy containing humour and pop-culture references. Episodes often featured elaborate musical numbers in different genres, such as electro, heavy metal, funk, and rap. The show has been known for popularising a style called "crimping"; short a cappella songs which are present throughout all three series. Julian Barratt wrote the music within the show, and performs it with Noel Fielding. Fielding also designed many of the show's graphics and artwork.
The TV series has many animated sequences, puppets and special effects. Barratt has said that he approached Fielding with the idea of doing a show like The Goodies, as if it were a complete "world" rather than simply a sketch show. Barratt and Fielding play many of the recurring and one-off characters themselves, with other characters being played by other Boosh members Rich Fulcher, Dave Brown, and Michael Fielding.
TV Show Star Rating : 7.5 Read More
Little Britain is a British character-based comedy sketch show which was first broadcast on BBC radio and then turned into a television show. It was written by comic duo David Walliams and Matt Lucas. The show's title is an amalgamation of the terms 'Little England' and 'Great Britain', and is also the name of a Victorian neighbourhood and modern street in London. The show comprises sketches involving exaggerated parodies of British people from all walks of life in various situations familiar to the British. These sketches are presented to the viewer together with narration in a manner which suggests that the programme is a guide—aimed at non-British people—to the ways of life of various classes of British society. Despite the narrator's description of great British institutions, the comedy is derived from the British audience's self-deprecating understanding of either themselves or people known to them.
TV Show Star Rating : 7 Read More
Spaced: the anti-Friends, in that it examines the lives of common 20 somethings, but in a way that is more down to earth and realistic. Here we have Daisy and Tim; two 'young' adults with big dreams just trying to get by in this crazy world. They are thrown together in a common pursuit of tenancy, which they find by posing as a couple. The house has a landlady and an oddball artist living there. The series explores the ins and outs of London living.
TV Show Star Rating : 8.1 Read More
The Goodies is a British television comedy series of the 1970s and early 1980s. The series, which combines surreal sketches and situation comedy, was broadcast by BBC 2 from 1970 until 1980 — and was then broadcast by the ITV company LWT for a year, between 1981 to 1982.
The show was co-written by and starred Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. Bill Oddie also wrote the music and songs for the series — while "The Goodies Theme" was co-written by Bill Oddie and Michael Gibbs. The directors/producers of the series were John Howard Davies, Jim Franklin and Bob Spiers.
An early title which was considered for the series was Narrow Your Mind and prior to that the working title was Super Chaps Three.
TV Show Star Rating : 7.3 Read More
Bottom is a British anarchic sitcom that originally aired on BBC2 between 1991 and 1995. It was written by and starring comic duo Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall as Richie and Eddie, two flatmates who live on the dole in Hammersmith, London. The programme ran for three series, and was followed by five stage show tours across the United Kingdom between 1993 and 2003, and a feature film Guest House Paradiso. The show is noted for its chaotic, nihilistic humour and violent comedy slapstick.
In 2008, Bottom came in at number 45 in a poll to determine "Britain's Best Sitcom" by the BBC. The show continues to be shown in the UK on Gold and Dave, and has been dubbed in other languages. In Spain the show is known as La pareja basura which aired on Canal+. The theme music was provided by The Bum Notes, a band that once featured Edmondson, and is a cover of "Last Night" by The Mar-Keys.
Plans were made in 2012 for a BBC spin-off series, Hooligan's Island, featuring the Richie and Eddie characters from Bottom. However, that project was cancelled that October prior to production as Edmondson explained that he wished to pursue other interests.
TV Show Star Rating : 8.2 Read More
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