Micky Flanagan: “Period dramas are like Carry On films without the jokes”

Meanwhile, Harry Hill, Kirsty Wark and Noel Edmonds equal laughter, lust and guilt for the comedian and Mad Bad Ad Show host

What’s your must-see TV show?


Harry Hill’s TV Burp. It’s one of the few programmes where I’m guaranteed to get one or two really good laughs. A good laugh every 12 minutes is a fantastic ratio in TV.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Deal or No Deal. I see that as a little treat to myself: if I get a couple of hours’ writing done, I make a cup of tea and watch Noel tell people about “life-changing” money. Now, Noel, £16,000 is barely going to get you a new bathroom in London.

What makes you blush?

I get very uncomfortable whenever I see politicians trying to be hip or funny. They wheeled out Vince Cable at the British Comedy Awards; it’s like wheeling me out at the UN. 

What makes you blub?

Any soppy 80s film where it’s laid on with a trowel. My little boy was watching Splash with me and I had to send him on a pretend errand because I knew I’d break down at the point where Tom Hanks leads the mermaid back into the sea.

What would you delete from your wife’s watchlist?

Any period drama. I just hate everything about them: the self-importance, the ridiculous stories, the low-level luridness – like a bad Carry On film without the jokes.

Who makes you tune in?

I’ve got a terrible crush on Kirsty Wark and have had for a number of years. I’ve always had a thing for intellectual women slightly older than me: Joan Bakewell, Anna Raeburn and now Kirsty. 

Who’s left you star-struck?

I met David Essex on Loose Women. Blimey, I thought, you were God when I was growing up. 

What is your perfect TV dinner?

Anything that my wife’s not cooked. Put it this way: she’s a career girl. 

What would you bring back?

I tell you what would be nice: a quiz that you could play at home like Ask the Family. Except nowadays there’d have to be at least three celebrity guests; the son would be dunked if you got a question wrong; and they’d unearth a video of the mum misbehaving in a car park when she was a teenager to show just before the interval…

I also think there’s room for a good old-fashioned sitcom with great big characters and great big jokes like a modern-day Dad’s Army.

Are you tempted to do a sitcom?

Definitely – if a character came along. If it doesn’t, I’ll probably write one myself. It’s the ultimate challenge and where almost every stand-up ends up failing.

When did you know you’d made it?

If you’re a working-class kid who’s done a day’s work on a building site for £50, then you’re on stage doing 20 minutes of something you really enjoy and someone pays you double that – that’s when I cracked it, as far I was concerned. Before that I worked in a fish market, furniture factory, cleaning dishes…

How much would it take to get you into the Celebrity jungle?

I was asked to do it and jokingly said to my agent, “I’d rather eat my own s**t.” “You’re perfect!” he replied. The other side of once being a kid who worked on a building site and has still got his paintbrushes and window cleaning bucket downstairs is that I can go back to that. I don’t need to be famous or ultra-wealthy; I don’t have to eat donkey’s testicles in the jungle.

Catch Micky Flanagan on The Mad Bad Ad Show on Fridays at 10pm on Channel 4/C4 HD


This is an edited version of an article from the issue of Radio Times magazine that went on sale 7 February 2012.