troperville

tools

toys

Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Series: Dead Ringers
Starting off on radio in 2000, this impression series became a TV series in 2002. Jon Culshaw is its main star.

After a long abscence it returned to Radio in July 2014.

Common parodies:
  • George W. Bush — "My fellow Animaniacs." Bush mangles the English language like no-one's business.
  • Tony Blair — Prone to over-pausing and (especially on the radio) describing his mannerisms. There was an interesting scene in one Children in Need where Jon Culshaw was doing his impression. Then the real Tony Blair arrived...
  • Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark — Announcing popular song lyrics as if they were headlines, and usually ending with "More on that story later.".
  • Fiona Bruce — Sex-obsessed. For a clean quote: "I'm Fiona Bruce. Breaking news, breaking hearts." On the radio this role was taken by the popular Radio 4 newsreader and continuity announcer Charlotte Green.
  • The Fourth Doctor — One of Culshaw's best known impressions. He's also done a few of the other Doctors as well.
  • David Cameron — as a vote-grabbing popularist who prefers to avoid controversy.
  • Sir Menzies Campbell (At the time, leader of the Liberal Democrats) — a doddering old man who liked to sleep a lot. Needless to say, this one was a bit on the controversial side. This impression was retired after he stepped down.
  • The BBC Radio 4 continuity announcers (back when the show was on the radio), particularly Brian Perkins, portrayed as a gangland boss fond of torturing and dispatching those who upset him. In the TV series, Michael Buerk took over this role.

The show has also parodied other British TV and radio series such as Torchwood, Robin Hood, Hustle, You Are What You Eat, Bleak House, The Apprentice (the British version), The Weakest Link, The Archers, and more. American shows popular in Britain also featured, such as House.

The show was quietly cancelled in 2007, but in 2009 a new sketch show, The Impressions Show, was released along the same premise, primarily featuring Culshaw alongside Debra Stephenson.


This series has examples of:
  • Anachronism Stew: The radio version had a sketch supposedly celebrating the 700th anniversary of The Today Programme, with a look back at the first, which was set in the Hundred Years' War but nonetheless had expies of modern presenters and politicians talking in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe. This proved popular enough to get a TV adaptation (which used Newsnight instead).
  • Catch Phrase: Many, e.g.:
    Tony Blair: PEO-PLE...... of Britain... (begins running commentary describing his hand movements)
    Linda Barker: Which we think works really really well!
    Matt Smith of Go 4 It (not that one): Ace!
    George W. Bush: My fellow... ("Invertebrates", "Umbrellastands", anything but "Americans".)
    John Humphries: And the time is coming up to... (some bizarre number or concept like 'eleventy-umpteen past banana' - referring to how Humphries famously would read the time out incorrectly and convince millions of drivers they were late for work)
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The Doctor, at least in how he is perceived by all the people he rings up.
  • Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: Unlike the well-researched Star Trek/Star Wars/Doctor Who sketches, the TV takes on the films of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter tended to fall into this - for example, Frodo's said to be on a quest to find the One Ring, and the Harry Potter and Voldemort impressions sound nothing like those in the films. (The radio edition's voices for the Harry Potter characters predated the first film, and they stuck with those even after it was released.)
  • Dreadful Musician: The Sing Something Simple Singers were regularly featured on the show's version of Crimewatch for "murdering hundreds of innocent songs".
    • Musical Assassin: After being dropped by The BBC, they were turfed out onto the streets and got tough to survive, as illustrated by some Lyrical Dissonance-
      Fill this holdall with money
      Or we'll blow you and the customers away!
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: When Matt Smith (not that one) left Go 4 It, the radio version interpreted this by having him told by his producer to "investigate what it's like inside a sack", after which he was bundled into a van and thrown into a river.
    I'm drowning! Only joking. No, I'm not. (Glub, glub, glub.) ... ... ...Ace.
  • Fetch Quest: Gandalf keeps sending Frodo on epic quests... to fetch thinks like milk and cigarrattes ("But don't tell Bilbo! He thinks I've given up.")
  • Film At Eleven: "I've got something to put in you, I've got something to put in you, at the gay bar, gay bar. More on that story later."
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: A recurring sketch has Ian Mackellan and Alan Rickman fighting over who gets to be the resident Evil Brit, ultimately resulting in them shooting each other to death. Literal ham-to-ham combat.
  • Hidden Depths: David Beckham was depicted as being fairly dim off the football pitch, but displays occasional moments of cutting insight or cultural depth.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The Fourth Doctor suspected there was something alien about the London Eye. When Doctor Who returned, the first episode involved the Nestene Consciousness using the Eye as a transmitter.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The team really, really loved these. The most common ones involved science fiction series crossing over with mundane ones, for example the Changing Rooms teams making over the TARDIS, the bridge of the Enterprise and the Death Star.
  • Malaproper: George Bush and John Prescott.
  • One of Us: The makers of the show are incredibly nerdy, often making reference to Doctor Who, Blake's 7, Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.
  • Prank Call: The radio version did a few of these: the Fourth Doctor phoning (real) Directory Enquiries in search of the Master is particularly memorable, especially the one where the operator suggested that he might need the international directory.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Tony Blair describing his mannerisms after every sentence ("Angry forehead, pointy finger!")
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Their version of art critic Brian Sewell was a walking example of this who occasionally lapsed into Sophisticated as Hell. When faced with the Roving Reporters, who only ever asked these two questions of anyone:
    Roving Reporters: D'you like Eastenders?
    Brian Sewell: No. Eastenders is a cavalcade of parsimonious bleating, bereft of cultural significance on every conceivable level.
    Roving Reporters: D'you like chips?
    Brian Sewell: Bugger off!
  • Shown Their Work: The science fiction references were pretty much all well-researched, especially the Doctor Who ones. All of the Fourth Doctor's jargon refers to actual planets, technologies and so forth not only from the show, but from the period of his tenure.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Impressions Show, which features Jon Culshaw very prominently.
  • The Nth Blair: During an interview, Tony Blair collapses, and regenerates into David Tennant.
  • Too Dumb to Live: George Bush.
  • Totally Radical: Matt Smith (not that one) was infamous for this in real life, and his Dead Ringers version naturally took it Up to Eleven.
  • The Unintelligible: Robin Cook, and also John Prescott in a different way. One crossover sketch involved Captain Kirk attempting to understand Robin Cook by having Scotty "divert all warp power to the Universal Translator!" It failed.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: During a birthday party, the 2nd Doctor is terrified by tinfoil. As the 4th Doctor states, the 10th should've known full well most of his enemies were made of tinfoil.


The Day TodayBritish SeriesDead Set

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
24461
28