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The Comedy Years

  • 2021
  • Season 1
  • 4 episodes
  • Documentary and factual
  • Lifestyle

Summary

A look back at comedy gems from 1979, 1984, 1998 and 2003, featuring clips of Not the Nine O'Clock News, The Comedians, The Royle Family and Father Ted. Narrated by Hugh Bonneville.

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Episode 1: 1979

Summary

A look back at TV comedy from 1979. It was a pivotal year for Britain, with a new prime minister in Margaret Thatcher and mass strikes leading to the so-called `Winter of Discontent'. Television saw a return to political satire, with the BBC series Not the Nine O'Clock News, though the northern club scene was dominating comedic output at the time with the likes of The Cannon & Ball Show and the stand-up series The Comedians. Narrated by Hugh Bonneville.

Review

It may not be the most original idea to chart societal changes through comedy, but when the material is as good as it is here, then who am I to argue? The year under scrutiny is 1979 and it doesn’t come much more polarising than this: in politics, it was trade unions v Margaret Thatcher, while on TV, the satirical Not the Nine o’Clock News took on the bow-tied traditional stand-ups found in The Comedians.

Some of those who were there at the time (Janet Street-Porter, Clive Anderson, James Bolam) offer entertaining recollections, but it’s the clips that are the most surprising. Who else remembers Canned Laughter, an early ITV vehicle for Rowan Atkinson in which he played a kind of proto Mr Bean?

Details

Languages
Formats
Colour

Credits

Crew

rolename
NarratorHugh Bonneville
UnknownJames Bolam
UnknownOmid Djalili
UnknownClive Anderson
UnknownCannon & Ball
UnknownBernie Clifton
UnknownMick Miller
UnknownShappi Khorsandi
UnknownDom Joly
ProducerKerry Allison
DirectorKerry Allison
ProducerGavin Barclay
DirectorGavin Barclay
UnknownStuart Ramsay
UnknownMark Scantlebury
UnknownMark Robinson

All episodes

  • Summary

    A look back at TV comedy from 1979. It was a pivotal year for Britain, with a new prime minister in Margaret Thatcher and mass strikes leading to the so-called `Winter of Discontent'. Television saw a return to political satire, with the BBC series Not the Nine O'Clock News, though the northern club scene was dominating comedic output at the time with the likes of The Cannon & Ball Show and the stand-up series The Comedians. Narrated by Hugh Bonneville.

    Review

    It may not be the most original idea to chart societal changes through comedy, but when the material is as good as it is here, then who am I to argue? The year under scrutiny is 1979 and it doesn’t come much more polarising than this: in politics, it was trade unions v Margaret Thatcher, while on TV, the satirical Not the Nine o’Clock News took on the bow-tied traditional stand-ups found in The Comedians.

    Some of those who were there at the time (Janet Street-Porter, Clive Anderson, James Bolam) offer entertaining recollections, but it’s the clips that are the most surprising. Who else remembers Canned Laughter, an early ITV vehicle for Rowan Atkinson in which he played a kind of proto Mr Bean?

    Details

    Languages
    Formats
    Colour

    Credits

    Crew

    rolename
    NarratorHugh Bonneville
    UnknownJames Bolam
    UnknownOmid Djalili
    UnknownClive Anderson
    UnknownCannon & Ball
    UnknownBernie Clifton
    UnknownMick Miller
    UnknownShappi Khorsandi
    UnknownDom Joly
    ProducerKerry Allison
    DirectorKerry Allison
    ProducerGavin Barclay
    DirectorGavin Barclay
    UnknownStuart Ramsay
    UnknownMark Scantlebury
    UnknownMark Robinson
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