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Richard E Grant on Ealing Comedies

Series 1-Episode 1

Series 1-Episode 1

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Review

Not a bad job: in this genial three-parter, twinkly thesp Richard E Grant chats to celebrity fans of Ealing and snoops around the studio archives. Michael Palin, Al Murray and Paul Whitehouse share their affection for the likes of The Titfield Thunderbolt, Whisky Galore! and The Lavender Hill Mob, films that producer Michael Balcon described as “odd people against realistic backgrounds”.

The 40s and 50s hits of Ealing may conjure up a cobwebby sense of whimsy but the fact is that Passport to Pimlico and co set a benchmark that British comedy struggled to match for years. Even John Cleese was keen to apply the studio’s cachet to A Fish Called Wanda in 1988, coaxing Ealing director Charles Crichton out of retirement to work his magic once again.

It’s a darting, unstuffy history full of fun, surprises and the occasional wicked spoof.

Summary

The actor traces the history of Ealing Studios, from the silent films made at the turn of the 20th century to the music hall comedies of the 1930s and a film from the 1940s that brought the phrase `an Ealing comedy' into the national lexicon - Passport to Pimlico. His guests include Jonathan Ross, Al Murray, Michael Palin, Reece Shearsmith and Charlie Higson.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Richard E Grant
Guest Jonathan Ross
Guest Al Murray
Guest Michael Palin
Guest Reece Shearsmith
Guest Charlie Higson
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Documentary

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