STARTED off as an excuse for the old I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again team to keep on getting their I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again money while tied up with TV projects, courtesy of an improvised panel game made up of smut, innuendo and silliness. Original rotating line-up was therefore Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie, Jo Kendall and John Cleese (with fellow ex-ISIRTA-er David Hatch as producer) being given silly things to do by former Joe Meek-produced Trad Jazz Boom hitmaker and irreverent host of BBC jazz shows Humphrey Lyttleton. Oddie, Kendall and Cleese dropped out after a series or two, making way for external witmongers Barry Cryer and Willie Rushton to make up the long-running classic four-man line-up. Key running themes developed during these early days, most of them still in use to today, include ritual humilation of town and townspeople playing host to that evening’s recording, baiting of resident pianist Colin Sell, ridiculing of comedy panel game contemporaries (“I heard a joke the other day, apparently Quote… Unquote has a Listen Again feature… good one, Nigel!”), ever more ambitious double entendres about scorekeeper The Lovely Samantha, and of course the games – some self-explanatory, others not explanatory in any way at all: Late Arrivals, The Uxbridge English Dictionary, Just A Minim, The Bad Tempered Clavier, Pick Up Song, Cow Lake Bomb, Swanee Kazoo, Letter Writing, Name That Barcode, Quote… Misquote, One Song To The Tune Of Another, Sound Charades (invariably introduced with an anecdote about ‘The Undisputed Grand Master Of The Game’ Lionel Blair), Film Club, Book Club, and of course Mornington Crescent, famed for its innumerable, impenetrable and fiercely guarded rules. Survived Rushton’s death in 1997 by bringing in clued-up guest contestants like Jack Dee, Linda Smith, Rob Brydon, Stephen Fry, Andy Hamilton, Sandi Toksvig, Jeremy Hardy, Tony Hawks, Harry Hill, Phill Jupitus and Ross Noble, bringing their own running jokes with them, and similarly countered Lyttleton’s recent passing with installation of HIGNFY-esque ‘guest hosts’, and long may it continue.Read More
Posts Tagged With 'Harry Hill'
RADIO cottoned on to the TV Burper-in-waiting long before TV did, and this sketch show ran for absolutely ages without anyone really noticing. All the early days regular characters – Nana Hill, Alan Hill, Little Alan Hill, Finsbury Park etc – were all present and correct, as were pre-retronostalgia boom special guests like Rolf Harris and Jon Pertwee. Slightly less authentic celebrity voices were often provided by Alistair McGowan, who also joined forces with Hill for brilliantly named forgotten one-off special, When Harry Met Ally.Read More
ONCE-UNSTOPPABLE weekly topical revue that started off as a genteel sideways look at the week’s news in front of a studio audience, but with time, and diminishing budget, and virtual invention of the Revolving Door personnel model, mutated into the Associates-heralded pre-recorded Thatcher-baiting sketch format behemoth that launched the careers of a thousand people who probably never liked being reminded of the fact: step forth Douglas Adams, John Lloyd, Armando Iannucci, Tracey Ullman, Harry Hill, David Baddiel, Stewart Lee, David Jason, Steve Punt, Richard Herring, Rob Newman, Alistair McGowan, Al Murray, and innumerably more besides. Heavy on sketches transplanting ‘The Tories’ into the plot of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, invariably concluding with ‘Tomorrow’s Satire’ one-liner-heavy spoof bulletin Next Week’s News, and that never-ending list of writing credits that ensured Alan Rankine retained a healthy bank balance.Read More
MASTER of musically trainspotting drollery who first showed up as host and occasional presenter of Saturday Live, spent some years becoming Head Of Everything in commercial radio before filtering back, first as ‘Madchester’ correspondent, then helming reverentially-remembered proto 6Music Monday night slot Out On Blue Six, linking ‘alternative’ music from the sixties to the present with awful puns and anecdotes about student days landlords. Bannister reshuffle saw he and sidekick Marc ‘Lard’ Riley installed in weeknight slot, promptly rechristened The Graveyard Shift, promising two hours of “comedy, poetry, live music and A Boy Called Lard”. Hence three glorious years of all of the above plus endless parade of rotating regular contributors – Andrew Collins, Stuart Maconie, Mark Kermode, Katie Puckrick, Greg Proops, Mark Lamarr, Simon Armitage, Harry Hill, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Clint Boon, Steven Daly, ‘Joolz’, and far too many more to mention here – combined with eclectic playist and mammoth quantity of in-jokes. Unhappy spell as Evans-replacing Breakfast hosts with attendant ‘Pixie Dancing’ craze followed by renewedly successful move to afternoons, where he stayed until deemed ‘too Radio 2’ for new look Radio 1. Where he went, and promptly trounced the competition by more or less reviving The Graveyard Shift.Read More