BBC2 celebrates its 50th birthday this year and it seems none of its stars will be safe from what insiders say is a devastatingly funny mickey take of its leading luminaries from comedians Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse.
Harry & Paul’s Story of the Twos will air later this spring and promises to be a merciless hour-long “tribute” to the channel’s most iconic programmes and personalities, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
From Men Behaving Likely Ladly to Dennis From Heaven, The Old Grey Wrinkled Testicle to Ask The Ugly Family, Grumpy Old Hasbeens to Panel Show, the targets are obvious to any fan of the channel, which began transmitting on April 20 1964.
Also featuring in Harry & Paul’s Story of the Twos are Joan Bakewell Tart, Gerald Manley Paxman, John Cleese-Shop-Sketch, Mark Egghead, Germaine Dreary and Russell Somebody.
The title takes its cue from the venerated BBC2 history Simon Schama’s History of the Jews. It is understood Enfield will narrate the history as Schama.
Also starring in the comedy are Kevin Eldon, Simon Day, Rosie Cavaliero and Catherine Shepherd.
The project was driven by Shane Allen, the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning, who was impressed by Enfield and Whitehouse’s Question Time sketch on their BBC2 show Harry & Paul and has long admired the brilliance of their mimicry.
Allen told RadioTimes.com: “When I noticed the 50th anniversary looming, and having seen their amazing Question Time sketch, I thought it’d be great to get their take on all the iconic shows and people from BBC2’s history. Harry wasn’t sure it’d sustain but when he got in to the swing of it the ideas flowed really well. I think it’s a real masterpiece and shows what superb impressionists they are as well as marvelous character comics.
“It sees these masters of social and cultural satire at the top of their game. They distil these heavyweight TV institutions in to a ridiculous essence and you’ll never quite take the original that seriously ever again without these springing to mind.”
Produced by Balloon Pictures, the programme was commissioned by Chris Sussman and is being produced by Bradley Adams.
BBC2 is officially 50 on April 20 1964 – exactly half a century after it first came on air – and the BBC is promising a feast of celebratory programming to mark the occasion across April and May.
Another of these is the return of Goodness Gracious Me, with Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nina Wadia and Kulvinder Ghir reuniting for a one-off episode of the Asian comedy sketch show which aired between 1998 and 2001.