Something for the Weakened

Archive for February, 2007

Getcher Lugs Rahnd Vis!

February 28th, 2007 by

I’ve run out of time to even begin attempting vole stories, so shall instead try to diect you here, a Radio 4 show that is going out tonight at 23:15. It’s only a quarter of an hour long and is being broadcast as a tribute to the magnificent Ian Richardson, who it stars. Ordinarily something like this wouldn’t be of huge interest to me – perhaps I’d listen to it, but wouldn’t think enough of it to merit a whole post. This changed when I saw the cast list. PETER FUCKING WYNGARDE! The man’s barely been seen in the past three decades, and now his plummy tones shall grace the nation’s airwaves once again! Listen! Listen, you fools!


February 27th, 2007 by

Okay, there should have been one link in the post under this one. When you got there it would have been funny to only one of you, but still amusing. this is the link. Please don’t click it until you get to where it says “ONE LINK” in capitals. Then collapse in mirth about my genius. Oh yes.

Post Butting

February 27th, 2007 by

I’m about a fortnight late in my replying to regular correspondent Fforbes Munchell’s rebuttal of my rebuttal to his rebuttal to my original rant, so in the interests of fair play I shall do it now. I shall only quote selected areas, as he wrote as much as I did in the initial rebuttal and frankly you and I only have so much time on our hands. I’ll do my best to get the general feel accross.

The first point you make about your no longer visiting CookdandBombd (I can’t be bothered doing links either) is fair enough – I didn’t mean to tar you with their bitter brush. I do still spend far too much time reading the wretched thing though. Your request to have your name changed has been refused. All names bar my own are changed in these writings to exonerate the guilty and persecute the innocent. I am like Kerouac in that way, as well as so many others. I shall quote your next bit, directly addressing what I wrote as it was:

1. You weren’t saying that there are no funny things no, just saying TV comedy was better in the 90s. Obviously. Yes, I know. I didn’t mean to imply anything other (and I don’t really believe you thought I did), despite what I wrote, I just wasn’t writing closely enough I suppose. Anyone who has seen you squirm around with glee as Winkler doesn’t comb his hair in Arrested Development knows you think there are funny things now (although if we start widening the debate to US comedy too it’ll get too messy…)

Ha ha! Vindication! And Master Munchell has indeed seen me nearly losing the ability to breath after seeing that two second visual gag in Arrested Development. Do seek it out if you’ve not seen it. Your second point was essentially agreeing with my Green Wing sentiment (yay – go me again!), with the proviso that Heap and Colman are both fine comic actors – something I concur with, allowing us to continue. Your third point was in general agreement with my splitting the 90s in half, though pointing it out as being mainly in regard to sitcom, which I believe I failed to do, so kudos to you. I will quote your next point as it gets into the nitty gritty rather well:

4. The Smug. Is smug a good thing in the right hands? Well, in a way, all observational comedy is smug in that it notices something and finds it risable; it is therefore often implied that the comedian is above said funny thing, whatever it is. Thus, ‘look at Thatcher, isn’t she a bitch with horrid views’ sort of comedy immediatly implies that the comedian has better views. I’m not saying they don’t, merely that it is easy for this to become smug and sneering (political comedy not necessarily the best eg of this process). Stand-up falls into this trap most easily, obviously. Lee and Herring (especially Lee) were clearly the targets of the smug comment as you rightly saw. Their output (and especially Lee’s stand-up) is often so annoyingly smug it is unwatchable. Histor and goddamn Plinny spring unhappily to mind. To me, their smugness was bad not good. I won’t carry on agreeing with the others, but I do. In a way the smugness doesn’t matter with some of them, and sometimes it just flows over you because it is so normal and regular. But, but, but, once you notice it, once you get into the rhythm of wondering whether they are actually personally sneering at the stuff they are taking the piss out of, rather than just laughing at and with them, then it is everywhere and gets under your skin in a nsaty crawly way. Like a bad insect. I’d also like to say the name Ben Elton. oooh and Alexi Sayle. oooh and Mark fucking Thomas.

First thing I thought having read that was “Pliny! God, I’d completely forgotten that was his name. “Egg, I said egg!”" but that’s just how my brain works. I agree with the comment about all observational comedy having a certain ammount of smugness about, but can’t say that I have ever found it to be an issue. I’m glad that I’d detected your meaning Lee, and yes I have noticed his stand up persona coming across as being a man very happily rammed up their own posterior. But I still think that works as a method of delivering the material, which I find to be of a generally high standard. I still can’t think of any way that Sayle really falls ito the smug camp – his early stand up was quite heavily politicised, but was simultaneously brimming with surreal tangents and occasional outpourings of filth which led to my never taking him that seriously. Elton, fair enough. Thomas . . . oh alright, I’ll do ONE LINK Let’s go onto paraphrasing your next bits.

Next we found another point on which we both think alike – that there was still quite a bit of non-smuggery around last decade. Yes, Shooting Stars occasionally got up itself a bit (a point I had thought when citing Vic and Bob as examples), but generally the silliness again outweighed the smug. You then site A BIt of Fry & Laurie as one of the best shows of the decade (with which I agree,wholeheartedly) and as an example of something that never sneered at anything. Hmmm. Well, no. Let’s have a look at point six shall we:

6. Alt comedy definition. I didn’t really mean alt comedy as in not mainstream, I meant it as in a different structure of comedy. ie. not the punchline-tasticness of Bernard Manning, Frank Carson, Bob Monkhouse etc, but comedy based on something a little more surreal, intellectual or political, or being based around the rhythms of a narrative rather than individual one-liners. Perhaps Morecambe and Wise are on a limb slightly, I just added them cos they are so very funny.

Well that’s that cleared up. Let’s move onto the conclusions then – I fancy a kip:

7. Comedy now and some conclusions. I’m not saying (and I don’t think I did) that modern comedy is better than 90s comedy, and certainly would agree with you that there’s a lot of shit about. But, what I’m talking about is attitude. Most of the comedy that’s around on tv now (with the exception, of course, of the uber-realism of Gervais et al), and especially the sketch shows, have a certain light playful frivolity to them that suggests the people had fun making, are trying to get other people to have fun and a bit of a giggle at some silly things rather than driving home a personal message, a political point, a world-view, whatever. Now, often this doesn’t work. Tittybangbang or whatever it was being a case in point, and Blunder and Little Britain of course are all cases in point. They don’t make me laugh, but they go about trying to with the right attitude; they recognise that comedy is about making people laugh, and laugh at themselves and the world around them sure, but not to sneer at it. Equally, there’s nothing wrong per se in expressing political point, world view, whatever, in a comedic form, just that it often when people do do it in that form they end up looking smug because their no.1 method is ridiculing the other side – it’s why politician’s look like smug tits too when they criticise the other parties. I’m not saying comedy shouldn’t make you think too, but that comedy should be laughing along with the world and not poking an accusing finger at it from some mythical moral-highground comedians sometimes think they have when a camera is pointing at them or a mic is in their hand. Shows can do this in an intelligent way: A Bit Of…, as I say, and People Like Us, and Father Ted, and, oh I don’t know, Yes Minister. Actually, that’s a great example of how political comedy can laugh along with its target. Comedy doesn’t have to be pointedly subversive (Lalla Ward would disagree here I know) all it has to be is FUNNY.

Right, have you all digested that? I don’t particularly agree with a lot of it. I can’t see any evidence of a greater spirit of ‘fun’ going into the majority of programmes being transmitted at the moment – certainly not in the weaker ones you mentioned. If they were attempting to convey a ’sense of frivolity’, it entirely passed me by. And I would say that all of them have as large a tendency to sneer at things as many shows in the 90s did, only doing it really badly and missing the target, if not the point altogether. I would be far happier listening to someone with a worldview onto which they attempt to attach jokes. It speaks of a more fully formed character and, whether one agrees or disagrees with the views of the author, I think makes for a more well devised package for the gags to be sent out in (certainly better thought out than that sentence). No, comedy doesn’t have to be subversive, but in Britain today there is next to nothing left to subvert. Hence we’re left with extreme light entertainment (Balls of Steel, Dirty Sanchez), conventional sketch shows going for the gross out market (take your pick, really) or the hyperrealistic/fly on the wall sitcom (you know who they are). Some good stuff’s been done within these trappings (well, except the first lot), don’t get me wrong and the return to more grass root programming over the last year and a half has certainly helped inject some much needed funny back into that particular bone. Which as we both agree on is all that really matters.

Here endeth the debate. Any further correspondance on the subject will be held privately and in far less detail, because this is taking far too much time out of my evening. Tomorrow; a short story about voles and an anecdote about my winky. Sleep well, vultures.

Too Much Time On One’s Hands

February 23rd, 2007 by

I often worry that I spend too much of my own time on pointless endeavours, frittering the precious minutes away on utterly needless fripperies. The reason for this is that much of my time is spent on pointless fripperies, but to day I discovered something that makes me feel a little better about my own lost hours. This person here has managed to find crossover characters in just over two hundred and eighty television programmes, thereby suggesting that they all inhabit the same universe. All contained within the mind of Tommy Westphall (look at the site – they explain it better than I would) and then have a look at the diagram! It’s left me feeling an awful lot better about myself, I must admit. Though I’m slightly impressed by any American with knowledge of Chelmsford 123. . .


February 22nd, 2007 by

Amazon’s reccomendation system has made my brain bleed. I shouldn’t have been so honest about what I own. Why can’t they understand that I don’t want any Avengers or X-Men stuff. I must have stated my lack of interest for hundreds of titles, but still they keep trying. Cunts.


February 17th, 2007 by

I’ve spent another fruitless day in the company of free On Demand titles and in lieu of the rebuttal to the rebuttal of the rebuttal, I thought I would share my experiences. Firstly, I finally got round to watching This is David Lander from Channel 4 and first shown way back in 1988. Starring, though not written by, Stephen Fry – for this first series. Oddly I do remember seeing trailers for the second run, where Fry’s role was taken over by fellow Footlight alumni Tony Slattery. I believe he was dressed as a gendarme and standing in front of a P&O ferry. Nevertheless, I never saw a single episode from that series either so came into this version cold, save for a vague idea of the format and that it is highly praised in some circles.

This praise now seems a little baffling. As a spoof of programmes like The Cook Report and it’s ilk, it was reasonably successful. The performances, camerawork and editing of the show were almost carbon copies of that type of programming. Sadly, what jokes there were there, were few and far between. On the occasions that the did emerge they generally weren’t particularly funny to these ears. There were a couple of chucklesome moments, I can’t deny it; the sight of Alun Armstrong hiding in a shrub and refusing to answer Lander’s questions made me laugh, as did some elements of him being interviewed in a barber’s chair. The rest mainly fell a bit flat for me though. I didn’t recognize the writer’s name (and I’m not going to start looking it up now), but I can’t think that he would have got an awful lot of work following this. Presumably every episode covers a different topic, so this one, being about dodgy builders as it was may just have been a weak episode, but I shan’t be forking out the money it takes to watch the subsequent episodes. It did have a distressingly young and thin Caroline Quentin in it, if that floats das boot.

I then had a go at the first (and presumably the pilot) episode of The Big One, that rarest of things – a Sandi Toksvig vehicle. This I did watch every episode of back in 1992 and, as was my way at the time, every episode again in 1993 when it was repeated. I did not get out an awful lot while my funny bone was forming. This I recalled being average at best at the time and mainly saved by Mke McShane in his first post Whose Line role. This I found to be the wrong outlook on the whole thing – in fact my brain had been doing down Toksvig’s acting ability for a good fifteen years (or thereabouts). This might be down to her having co-written the whole enterprise (with another name that escapes me and I don’t know of having worked in Light Entertainment since), but the part she inhabits of a slovenly copy writer is one she falls into with apparent ease. This inevitably contrasts with McShane’s fastidiousness and the sitcom’s template is pretty much in place by the end of this first episode – though not entirely. McShane’s character is planning to leave at the end and I believe even attempts to before being won over by Toksvig’s charms by the end of the second – my memory is hazy but I think that’s what happens. This implies to me that there might have actually been quite a bit more character development over the course of the series than you would get in most situation comedy.

Moreover, it was actually very funny. Lots of gags, alternative enough that while it wasn’t The Comic Strip, it was still a long way from Fools and Horses. I think the sole reason for my not thinking of it more highly in the intervening years is a joke in the first live Bottom show (“Mm, mm, mm, it doesn’t bear thinking about!”), which I have watched more times than is probably healthy. I am easily sussestible. I doubt that I’ll blow the cash it would take to watch the rest of these either, but if they turned up on a cable channel at the same time as Lander, I think I know which of the two I would watch.

Radioactive Arachno Lover

February 15th, 2007 by

Now I know that the majority of you have considerably less of an interest in the world of comics than I do, but I nevertheless feel that I should direct you here. There you will find scans of a ‘Spider-Man of the future’ comic that was published last week. Please pay close attention to the second panel of the fourth page to find out the true fate of Mary Jane. Then laugh. Loudly.

ReButtered (but not in a Marlon Brando way)

February 14th, 2007 by

The final dose of antibiotics coarsing through my veins, my head clearing slightly, my face being considerably less bulbous than it was before and the prospect of booze being a skant twenty hours away, gives me the motivation to attempt my own rebuttal to the rebuttal I received from irregular correspondent Mr. Fforbes Munchell over mywitterings of Sunday just past (who needs punctuation?!). Fforbes writes:

Lalla Ward!!!!!

This I should point out, is a reference to a regular poster on this message board, on which I spend far more time than is healthy lurking and on which Mr. Munchell periodically posts. Anyway, sorry, what were you saying?

Stop that immediately and recognise that there ARE funny things today.

I don’t believe that I specifically claimed that there are no funny things today. I did postulate that ‘television comedy was far better at the turn of nineties’, but then state that that is only ‘probably’ true. I am nothing if non-commitall. My only other attack on recent comedy in that particular piece is my admittedly cheap dig at Green Wing. Cheap, but I think true nonetheless. Of course, I’m merely expressing my own opinion, which you are welcome to disagree with but do remember that I am right. In which case I shall have to justify myself. Ahem.

Green Wing isn’t particularly funny for a number of reasons. It’s a triumph of style over substance. It all looks very pretty (if, like me, you can get over the speed up slow down bits), but you can’t help but notice the surfeit of jokes. This as far as I can see is mainly the fault of how it was made; 1 – large committees of writers never seem to work on British sitcom(for that is what I assume it intended to be)s. With the possible exception of My Family, not a show I have any particular dislike of but one I don’t consider myself to be paret of the demographic of, I can think of no good British situation comedies written by more than two people. A case of ‘too many cooks’ perhaps. The show’s direction was very much led by it’s producer (whose name escapes me) who I do believe capable of decent work – she was one of the writers of long forgotten comedy cop series Lazarus & Dingwall way back in (you guessed it!) the late eighties/early nineties. This is something else I’ve not seen in well over a decade so might be another case of rose tinted, Jim Sweeney loving spectacles, but it strikes me that she could have achieved something more amusing working alone than with a flotilla of writers. 2 – Another factor in the making of Green Wing was that the cast were given a lot of room to improvise. In theory I have nothing against actors improvising in any way – it can lead to marvellous things. I also have no problem with comedians improvising in something that is ostensibly a comedy. But the vast majority of the cast here have next to no comedic track records, if any at all. Mark Heap, obviously has, Tamisn Greig had Black Books behind her, Olivia Coleman had done quite a bit before, err, Julian Rhind Tutt was in Hippies (remember that?), um, Sally Phillips turned up for a bit in the second series, err, no wait, um, there was her out of The Brittas Empire . . . Not exactly stellar is it and I haven’t even got on to the void that is Steven Mangan. Had they cast it with talented upcoming comics, or established faces from the stand up scene the improvisational bit could have led to some big laughs rather than another cheap euphemism for wanking. 3 – The soap opera aspect seemed to take over and become more impotant than the comedy. This is more of a personal bug bear (rarr) than any levelled criticism, but is something I spotted in the few episodes of the second series I caught. Besides which, I’ve rambled on about a series I don’t particularly hate for too long now. Let’s see what else Fforbes had to say.

I am increasingly of the opinion that 90s comedy was far too smug for its own good. Even though lots of 00s comedy lacks the ‘joke structure’ of 90s comedy, it is, at least, much more in the spirit of the pioneers of alt comedy: Hoffnung, Sellers, Milligan (although he was sometimes a bit much), Cook, the original M&W, etc. That’s Morecambe and Wise, not Mitchell and Webb, fact spotters! Sorry, carry on. Nothing had any fun, it just had a bit of a sneer. Even TDT (The Day Today – I’m not sure I agree with all this abbreviating) was a bit self-satisfied. I reckon that the only 90s comedy with the right attitude really was Bottom. Discuss.

Hmm, some interesting points so let’s have a look at them shall we. Was 90s comedy ‘too smug for its own good’? Nineties comedy is a bit too much of a broad generalization for my liking. Including The Day Today and referencing my commentaries on Absolutely and Chelmsford 123 (which if you recall, I didn’t even really enjoy), I’m going to assume that you’re referring to early nineties comedy, which I think is noticably different to that of the late nineties. If we think of pre Day Today (95 if memory serves) as being predominantly three wall sets, studio audience and filmed on video (except for prefilmed external footage), while post Day Today the bulk of material shown has taken the naturalistic acting styles of said show (for better or worse – that’s a whole argument in itself), filmed on location, sans audience and shown through a filmised filter (which does give a different feeling to a show, but again that’s another argument for another day – I’m getting tired and this is taking a lot longer than I’d expected). So, erm, what was the question?

Okay, accusations of smugness. Yes, I think that is in some ways valid. A lot of the works of Lee and Herring were explicitly smug, though I think that that is in great part down to the stage persona of Stuart Lee. I have been listening to their first radio output, Lionel Nimrod’s Inexplicable World (available for free download here if anyone’s interested) recently and it’s interesting to see that the dynamic they had on the TV shows was already perfectly established at this point. Was Lee too smug? No, that was the extension of the double act dynamic they brought to the world. The pair played the stupid – sensible card that double acts down the ages have always done, but to such an exaggerated extent that Herring’s ludicrous stupidity was countermanded by Lee’s smug self righteousness that he is always correct. They thereby created a double act in which both members could get funny lines or go off on their own personal tangents using these personla tics. So, smug yes, but deliberately and to good effect. There are plenty of other people one could level accusations of smuggery at of course. Newman and Baddiel – definitely, and often to their detriment; Angus Deaton – doubtlessly, but to good effect when he was acting (see KYTV, his work with Rowan Atkinson, One Foot in the Grave); Victor Lewis Smith – surely the king of all smugness, but very appy for it; Harry Enfield – though I garner some joy from Enfield’s early nineties work, I do find some of it’s reliance on catchphrase and Enfield’s face rather smug.

But there were collosal swathes of things that I can’t detect the merest hint of smugness in. The collected output of Vic and Bob. The Fast Show (again catchphrases, which are currently a personal bug bear (rarr), but I fear one to be explored another day). The other works of Steve Coogan (don’t forget Paul Calf or Coogan’s Run). Absolutely and Mr. Don & Mr. George. I don’t think that smug could be levelled at any of them to be honest and if my brain was properly functioning I could probably think of more. I don’t think any of them had a sneering tone to them either and I don’t really think that that was the case with The Day Today either. Nor do I think that the malaise of contemporary comedy programming is due to the abandonment of /’joke structue/’ (incidentally, what does that punctuation mean?), not that it has been abandoned altogether. I certainly don’t think that there was a marked structure in evidence a decade ago either – I think all of the programmes I’ve mentioned favourably have very different and individual styles. I’d like to think I could tell the difference between a joke written on paper by John Sparkes from one written by John Thomson.

Interesting use of alt comedy – artists who peaked creatively before the end of the seventies and were all in resolutely mainstream vehicles with huge viewing figures. Not very ‘alt’ is it (this may not be the case with Hoffnung, I must disclose my ignorance to his career at this point, but it is certainly true of the rest). Anyhoo, is comedy this century more in the spirit of those pioneers you mentioned? I’m ot sure quite how you are defining spirit here, but if it is a spirit of innovation (which all of those on that list certainly were) then no. This isn’t entirely the fault of the comics themselves – the perils of the mutichannel world, with it’s five second attention spans, shrinking budgets/timescales and avaricious producers put up a few dozen more concrete hurdles in front of anyone with a decent idea getting their programmes made. But the number that have won the two hundred metre commissioning dash (I’m loving this analogy) have on average been inferior to those that managed it ten years back. There has been some great stuff within the last five years – I don’t think I ever stated that there hasn’t been. It’s just that the quantity of the bad has out weighed the good for the first time in my living memory. And that’s combined with the fact that there are fewer shows actually being produced since the dawn of telly. Maybe it’s those pink view glasses again, perhaps it’s my having higher standards than before, but there just isn’t as much out there that excites me as there was back in the day. Because it was all so much fun.

Bottom as the only nineties show with the ‘right attitude’? Not quite sure what you mean by that and I must confess to more than a bit of a soft spot for Rik and Ade’s work. But doesn’t it fall into most of the traps you’ve set up to dislike? HaS there been a character more smug, sneering or self satisfied than Richard Richard? Wasn’t the point of every episode that the pair had no fun (though obviously the audience did – I’m stretching a point close to breaking here). Were the allusions to Beckett or Pinter too much, or, as was probably the case, does their going over most viewers heads make them unsmug and merely a highbrow moment between the slapstick? I don’t know really. It’s all just a bit of a laugh, innit.

um, well, this one’s not really about anything, is it?

February 12th, 2007 by

Medication has halted my drinking activities over the past few days. Overall this is probably a good thing, as my candle has been burning at both ends for the past couple of months and I think met in the middle at some point in mid-January. I had hoped to try and use the time away to further some of the various creative endeavours I have in the pot of my mind (or is that pit?). Instead I’ve found myself spending more time on the internet than is healthy – hence yesterday’s overlengthy post, to which I’ve already received one more than expected rebuttal. This I shall try and address another day as I’m tired, grumpy and sober at the moment, plus it would lead to my breaking a cardinal rule of mine and reading some of this kack again. I was only planning to put up a couple of links before I went to a gig – little was I to know that I’d end up spending over half an hour bemoaning the state of modern comedy. Once I pop, I can’t stop. Particularly when I’m not allowed near the booze. That’s not strictly true – there’s actually an open bottle of Bombay Sapphire sitting next to me as I type this. Next to it sits a bottle of Tesco own shower gel that is very nearly the same colour. I hope that it doesn’t lead to hilarious consequences.

Because I demanded it!

February 11th, 2007 by

While I’d planned to spend today trying to get a bit of writing and/or drawing done, it has instead fallen away into the usual blend of sloth and self amusement my Sunday’s normally become. The morning saw me utilising the free On Demand services that NTL offer. I think you can also obtain it online here, though I have no idea whether that is the case. The free stuff is generally only the first episodes of TV series, but some of those available are well worth checking out. I’d had a look at the two series of Paul Merton The Series for the first time in over a decade a month or so back. Remarkably I could still remember a number of the sketches shown, more than I could say about half of the recent comedies I’ve seen in the past five years – possibly the inclusion of ‘jokes’ worked as an aide memoire (what is the French?). This morning I spent a very enjoyable 45 minutes in the company of the first episode of the second series of Absolutely. Many of you will have forgotten the days when comedy programmes didn’t always have to be half an hour long, but it did happen (Green Wing isn’t comedy – comedy makes you laugh, do you see). Not sure that I had seen that particular episode (and if I had it would have been on a black and white telly with no buttons and a tuning knob) but the humour still stood up sixteen years down the line. Bizzare to see uncredited appearances by very young looking Nick Hancock’s and Neil Mullarkey’s too (should they be plural?).

Next I had a look at Chelmsford 123, a show I would have last seen when I was about twelve (and that would have been the repeat – I had seen it first time the year before as well at the age of eleven). My memories of this were fond, though on this occasion I discovered rose tinted. Written by and starring Jimmy Mullville (a man who Neill (with two Ls) has always claimed does not exist) and Rory McGrath, the Roman based sitcom had been a fave of my history loving prepubescent mind. Sadly, to a jaded almost thirty year old, addled by antibiotics it came across as lacking. There were jokes there, many of them provoking a smile, but it was all played a little too safe for my liking. I seem to recall it being shown quite late at night (about tenish? How I was watching it at that age confuses me, but I might be wrong) but the content seemed tame enough to me to not be out of place in a half eight slot on BBC 1. Admittedly, the opening five minutes being entirely in latin, a visual gag about sheep loving and one use of profanity would have had to be cut, but I think the rest would have sat quite happily with a My Family audience. There were things that amused me, but that was mainly the cast – I’d completely forgotten that ‘him what played Elmo Putney off of Brush Strokes’ was in it and I’d no idea that the other main recurring character grew up to be Neil Pearson. Also after seeing Philip Pope I found myself willing Geoffrey McGivern to appear and lo and behold, who should the first face in part two be but old Geoff himself.

Conclusions that can be drawn from this then? That you’re funny bone actually grows in between the age of 11 and 13? That I know the names of far too many British television actors? That television comedy was far better at the turn of the nineties? Yes, yes, and probably yes. But all is not lost – there are still more great shows coming soon through the wonders of On Demand. This is David Lander – Stephen Fry doing People Like Us fifteen years earlier; Whose Line is it Anyway – you should know; and The Big One – sort of like the odd couple with Mike McShane and, err, Sandi Toksvig. But all is not lost in the twenty first century – this was only made seven years ago and I think is still a work of sheer genius (unlike the BBC who buried it in the schedules and are still yet to repeat it, let alone release it on DVD – bastards). And look here for the show’s creator on stage a mere week ago doing his incredible Security Guard monologue. It appears to have been filmed on someone’s mobile, so be prepared for wobbly out of focusness, but the sound seems fine. And as I’m doing my YouTube link thing, here’s here’s a short animation I saw late at night on Channel 4 in around 1993. I would have been going on sixteen and it still gave me the willies. The final shot just after the credits still does today. You wouldn’t get that shown on Channel 4 these days, mutter, grumble, exeunt.