Back in 1980, TV comedy consisted of clean sensible fun. Morecombe and Wise would take the TV ratings war on Christmas Day, The Two Ronnies would cheer up our Sunday evenings, and we'd all still be guffawing at Mrs. Slocombe's pussy. Now contrary to my father's beliefs, these weren't the greatest comedies ever. Admittedly, they are 10 times better then The Orifice or Little Shit-on, but still the comedy was only on one level. Teams of comedians had strangely not been that forthcoming, but there were of course exceptions to the rules. The Monty Python Team had been around for over a decade by 1980, but still, a lifetime later, I still don't get their sense of humour completely. I have to admit they had some gems ("If it weren't nailed to the perch, it'd be pushing up the daisies"), but I could count the really funny lines on both hands in one half hour episode. The Goodies were just that, good. The team were clean, daft fun, without the need for swearing meaning they were pre-watershed. I recently got my hands on a box set of their episodes, and Johnaitch enjoyed them almost as much as me.
Then, in 1980, along came a new team. To compete with BBC1's Nine o'clock News, they came up with "Not the Nine o'clock news." The first series was a flop, but filtering out and rehiring the team members you ended up with 4 people still famous today. Pamela Stephenson is now most famous for being a celebrity shrink, and for being Billy Connelly's wife. Mel Smith is famous for being a Hollywood Luvvie, and directs films on the wrong side of the pond. He can often be seen in a sun lounger with a big fat cigar and a crap baseball cap on, like he has to be a stereotype. Griff Rhys Jones has just shown us his serious acting side with "Mine, all mine." A comedy drama about someone who turns out owns Swansea, the poor bugger. And probably most famous of all four, is Rowan Atkinson. The rubber faced master of visual comedy has (unfortunately in my eyes) become most well known for Mr. Bean, but who can forget him in Johnny English and the Barclaycard Ads.
One of the funniest scenes I remember as a child of Not the Nine o'clock News was probably one of the only scenes I was allowed to see. Nothing more then pure comedy value, I present a man walking into a tree...
And let's not forget the sequel. Enjoy.
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