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Some British TV comedies of last 20 years

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Logan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2017 at 12:51
I watched a clip off youtube from Outnumbered, which was a painfully awkward and uncomfortable talk between father and son, which definitely resonated with me as a father, so I will look into it more. The Brits are great at doing the comedy of embarrassment (Extras being a very good example). I've come across the name, but on the surface of it it didn't seem like one that I would have been particularly into at the time.

Since I live in Canada, not many of these have I noticed on TV, and our Netflix has a limited Britcom selection. I used to have BBC iPlayer, which helped, and I've had to look to other means to see most of these shows. Commonly the way I discover music, TV, film, novels, podcasts, documentaries and other items of interest is I find one thing I like which leads me to discover other related media. Currently comedy is not so much my thing, although I am looking forward to the upcoming dramedy "Inside No. 9" episodes. So this bloggy topic sort of represents that.

I discovered Extras and The Office on TV, as well as Black Books, and watched some Little Britain there (wish I'd put Big Babies in its place which I watched on BBC Kids). After getting turned on to AD/BC: A Rock Opera, I looked for more Matt Berry stuff (so Darkplace followed by Man to Man with Dean Learner, followed by Snuff Box and Toast of London because of Matt Berry, followed by my big interest in Matt Berry's music -- listened to The Pheasant ten times yesterday). The Thick of It I watched because of Peter Capaldi joining Doctor Who largely. Brass Eye was thanks to discovering The Day Today, which I loved, on youtube, which I discovered because I was looking for an episode of the Onion series Today Now. I discovered Psychoville since googling found it when doing a search for dark shows such as the mind-blowing for me Utopia and Black Mirror, plus black dramedies such as Misfits. That led me to League of Gentlemen and Inside No. 9. The terrific Nathan Barley was mentioned in another comedy thread here and I could see that it would appeal to my dark tastes.

When it comes to comedy, like most series, I prefer to binge watch. If I love something I tend to want to watch as much as possible in a short time. One things I often like about Brit series is that the runs are more limited than successful American ones. Although too limited in various cases, where I really wanted another series/ season. I hate it when shows seem to finish prematurely -- more episodes are not ordered or when they are cancelled, and maybe cause my tastes are generally not that mainstream, it seems to happen quite a lot (Utopia and In the Flesh being prime examples). Rant, I hate Coronation Street and it seem like our public national broadcaster has been consistently showing it longer than I've been alive (hated that show as a child, and I hate it just as much now), and I wish they showed better British fare.

Already since I made the topic, my list would be rather different (and yes, again, Black Mirror is not a comedy, but is listed as a dramedy in a British comedy guide, so I thought it would be mildly humorous to add it to the list). I wish we had better services for British TV here. I used to get BBC Canada, but it's not as good as BBC in the UK and has Canadian content requirements. Plus many Channel 4 shows have been so good (ITV was superb), but we don't get lots of them (at least we got dramas such as Utopia on Space)....

Anyway, love to have the recommendations keeping on coming in -- be good to have little descriptions to come with them or links to youtube clips etc. I should have done that for all of these shows to make it easier for people to discover stuff that might be of interest to them, but know that as a pessimist my tastes tend to run to the darker side, and I often have an appreciation for the surreal and absurd.

Edited by Logan - February 20 2017 at 12:58
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2017 at 01:09
I like a nice binge myself though I tend to stretch it out over a few days (staying up 'till 5am to finish a series won't do).   I too often wish my favorite Brit shows would last longer but I remind myself it may be why the quality is so high, and the ones that last forever I don't really like (Poirot, etc.)

For non-comedies I was enjoying Scott & Bailey and right now I watch Shetland and occasionally Foyle's War.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2017 at 02:59
Originally posted by Logan Logan wrote:

I watched a clip off youtube from Outnumbered, which was a painfully awkward and uncomfortable talk between father and son, which definitely resonated with me as a father, so I will look into it more. The Brits are great at doing the comedy of embarrassment (Extras being a very good example). I've come across the name, but on the surface of it it didn't seem like one that I would have been particularly into at the time.
That's the advantage of not scripting the children's lines so they are more naturalist and as you say, painfully awkward and uncomfortable - an adult writing words around an uncomfortable topic for a kid to say would sound false and contrived. That's what irritates me about standard family sit-coms when a kid says something cute/smart/witty/profound that you know they'd never have said in real life even though kids come out with cute, smart, witty and profound things all the time.

The writing team for Outnumbered first came to prominence with a sitcom called Drop The Dead Donkey that ran for most of the 1990s, ending in 1998 so just squeezes into your 20 year time-span. Their innovation for that programme was its topicality as it was set in a TV News room so scripts were rewritten at the last minute to include current news stories. The humour from that tended to fairly dark as a consequence and, since it was based on real events, more relevant than The Day Today (IMO). 

It's available on Netflix, in the UK at least, but a few episodes are on YouBoob:


(watching that now it seem fairly topical some 27 years later...)



Edited by Dean - February 21 2017 at 03:00
"You know what uranium is, right?
Itís this thing called nuclear weapons.
And other things.
Like lots of things are done with uranium.
Including some bad things.
But nobody talks about that."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2017 at 11:26
GEGS! A scrambled eggs cryptic crossword clue from that show that stuck with me (I used to love to do cryptic crosswords), and I still exclaim GEGS regularly to this day (it's become my personal swear word). As a child I could not pronounce Gregory so called myself Geggy, then was nicknamed Gegs, and later neurotically self-nicknamed "EggiweggsGegs and Lomticks of Toast" cause I was quite the Droog, I suppose.

I used to love Drop the Dead Donkey -- watched it regularly until I left for Japan in the mid 90s, and then had my parents mail me recorded tapes of it.     It was a terrific show, and is definitely one of my favourite comedies of the 90s. I'm sure I still have lots it on VHS in the house. It would be fun to-watch and I must have missed quite a few episodes.
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pixel Pirate Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 23 2017 at 04:54
Amazing! Ever since I saw that episode of Drop The Dead Donkey I have also used GEGS! as a personal swearword. Henry walking around saying GEGS! throughout that episode just stuck in my mind and since then whenever I'm annoyed I find myself saying GEGS!! I thought I was the only oneBig smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 23 2017 at 05:24
Off topic because what I'm about to post is Old Harry's Game, a radio sitcom by Andy Hamilton of Outnumbered and Drop The Dead Donkey Fame, but it's worth a listen if you enjoy his humour:


"You know what uranium is, right?
Itís this thing called nuclear weapons.
And other things.
Like lots of things are done with uranium.
Including some bad things.
But nobody talks about that."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2017 at 17:16
^ That will be something to listen to as I lay in bed that will make a nice change from my usual nocturnal podcast rituals.

^^ That is a coincidence with GEGS!

And, segue, speaking of cryptic crossword clues (used to love to do cryptics), the last Inside No. 9 episode had a cryptic crossword theme. And the episode the week before that was really brilliant (although the ending seemed rather implausible, but then Inside No. 9 often is, and it's part of the charm).



The crossword puzzle created by Pemberton for the episode was used by the Guardian (though changed somewhat from the episode): https://www.theguardian.com/crosswords/cryptic/27132
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2017 at 19:14
Originally posted by Man With Hat Man With Hat wrote:


Peep Show is my favorite TV show, bar none.

I'd love to get a chance to watch The IT Crowd though.

I like the IT Crowd, but not nearly as much as Peep Show on the whole. Can be hilarious though, and features some of my favourite comedians in it (Morris, Berry, Ayoade).

When I made this list I had not seen many episodes of the Peep Show (not even he whole first season). Recently while continuing with it I really got big into the show. Mitchell and Webb are terrific.   I like Mitchell in so many things: That Mitchell and Webb Look, Big Train, Bruiser, his appearances on comedy talk, variety, game show things. Very witty person. And I used to know someone like SuperHans.



If you're like me, then you really wish that there was a good streaming service for watching a wide variety of British shows. Well, now there is! Try bangersandmashandsteakandkidneypie4u.ru.org to stream hundreds of thousands of hours of British TV right from your very own home, or even on the buses! We have everything from British comedy, to British drama, to British dog racing, to Yorkshire pudding toss sporting events, to the newest hit reality show, At Home With the Royals. Our tech experts have hacked into Buckingham Palace's security system, and you will be sure to enjoy Britain's Royalty at their most magisterial and at their naughtiest. For an extra fee, you get access to exclusive upskirt and under the crown coverage from our hidden cams. Now that's royally awesome!

Been drinking a bit too much perhaps, which is never a good excuse for piss poor posting.

Edited by Logan - July 31 2017 at 19:17
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2017 at 19:45
Originally posted by Logan Logan wrote:

Been drinking a bit too much perhaps, which is never a good excuse for piss poor posting.


See, if life were more like a comedy, somebody would have responded by now with, "So what's your excuse the rest of the time?"

Edited by Logan - July 31 2017 at 19:46
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cosmiclawnmower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 02 2017 at 16:46
Its easier to name the shows i'm not a fan of- Not big on Alan Partridge but I liked Saxondale (I know too many ex roadies and its all true..), Not a fan of 'Little Britain' or 'The Office' (though Extras was ok), and didn't really enjoy 'The thick of it'  that much. There are a few of these listed programmes that I didn't get to see and I don't watch much tv generally but I do love comedy, the IT Crowd, Spaced, League of Gentlemen, Brass Eye, Black Mirror, The Mighty Boosh, Black Books, Peepshow and Greenwings in particular. Whether complex and dark or daft and absurd, all quality stuff!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 02 2017 at 18:08
I'm lukewarm on Alan Partridge, Little Britain (sometimes very funny, I thought) or the Office either. A number of people here have mentioned that they don't like those ones (and The Thick of It, though I really like that). In particular I found the Alan partridge film pretty dismal, but then I wasn't a fan of the League of Gentlemen film. My list would be quite different now, and I wish I'd noted some of other good ones that I discovered.

If you or anyone else hears about any good, new ones, please let me know.

They wrote three new episodes of The League of Gentlemen. Filming begins this month. And for those who care, Alan Partridge seems to be in the works.
And Shearsmith and Pemberton (who are part of the League, and made Psychoville in my list) will also be coming back for series 4 of Inside No. 9 this year (love that anthology show -- it's not always funny to be sure; it does dramedy and some serious drama). I haven't read, but I'm thinking they will start with a Christmas special again. The following is from 2016's Christmas special:

"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TGM: Orb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 02 2017 at 19:23
The complete unfairness of Nathan Barley somewhat appeals to me. Great show.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 03 2017 at 10:34
Nathan Barley, written by Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris (two favourites of mine) is a very unique on the list.

It can be very uncomfortable viewing, and it's brilliant.

Potentially interesting factoid for those that may not know: Nathan Barley was based on a character created by Charlie Brooker (Nathan Barley, Dead Set, A Touch of Cloth, Weekly Wipe, Black Mirror) for the website TV Go Home http://www.tvgohome.com/ which parodied the Radio Times publication, and was produced fortnightly from 1999 to 2001. in 201, a TVGoHome comedy sketch show was made with six half-hour episodes.

Here is a taste of the tasteless sketch show. NOTE, those offended by hat defecation look away.





Originally posted by wikipedia wikipedia wrote:

c**t, a fly-on-the wall series featuring Nathan Barley, a "new media" type kept housed and up to date with the latest pointless technological gadgets through constant parental financial support. Barley is depicted as being of absolutely no value to society, with no morals and even less intelligence, and having many friends (all of whom are exactly like him). On one occasion he attempts to let his girlfriend down over a 6-month period, ultimately ending in his confident, happy girlfriend being sectioned.[3] He is subject to almost pathological levels of hatred from the writer of the billing of the show.


I also enjoyed Brooker's A Touch of Cloth, although the humour can be groan worthy, and the absurdity can be a bit much (watched both seasons, I think, on youtube).



There is quite a bit of none-too-subtle innuendo/ double entendres. Note: those offended by court testimonies look away.

"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2017 at 13:43
I've already seen all of the episodes, but today I noticed that Netflix Canada is showing Toast of London (the show with Matt Berry). I'm very happy that it will get more exposure. They haven't had a lot of British comedy shows.
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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