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The Comedy Years

  • Season 1
  • 4 episodes
  • Education
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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?

How to watch

Next showing

There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show.

Details

Formats
Colour

Credits

Cast

rolename
NarratorHugh Bonneville
ContributorJames Bolam
ContributorOmid Djalili
ContributorClive Anderson
ContributorCannon & Ball
ContributorBernie Clifton
ContributorMick Miller
ContributorShappi Khorsandi
ContributorDom Joly

Crew

rolename
DirectorKerry Allison
DirectorGavin Barclay
Executive producerMark Scantlebury
Executive producerMark Robinson
ProducerKerry Allison
ProducerGavin Barclay
Series producerStuart Ramsay

All episodes

  • 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?

    How to watch

    Next showing

    There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show.

    Details

    Formats
    Colour

    Credits

    Cast

    rolename
    NarratorHugh Bonneville
    ContributorJames Bolam
    ContributorOmid Djalili
    ContributorClive Anderson
    ContributorCannon & Ball
    ContributorBernie Clifton
    ContributorMick Miller
    ContributorShappi Khorsandi
    ContributorDom Joly

    Crew

    rolename
    DirectorKerry Allison
    DirectorGavin Barclay
    Executive producerMark Scantlebury
    Executive producerMark Robinson
    ProducerKerry Allison
    ProducerGavin Barclay
    Series producerStuart Ramsay

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