Series / Dead Ringers
Starting off on radio in 2000, this impression-based sketch show became a TV series in 2002. Jon Culshaw is its main star. After a long absence it returned to radio in July 2014.

Not related to the David Cronenberg film Dead Ringers.

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.
    • In one sketch, he rang various actors who had played the Doctor over the years. This lead to some very amusing quotes, including:
      Culshaw: Hello, this is The Doctor.
      Tom Baker: That's odd... Oh no, no, there must be a mistake, I am the Doctor.

      Culshaw: I'm in a situation of extreme peril! I have had to leave my timestream, go forward to the future, join you in your time stream — and have you help me.
      Sylvester McCoy: Have you been at the pub?
      Culshaw: For several millennia!
    • In fact, he's impersonated almost every Doctor, as seen when he appeared on one of the BBC's Doctor Who retrospectives. He's not done John Hurt and Peter Capaldi yet, but give him time.
    • He has also impersonated Tom Baker in an official capacity in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, voicing the Fourth Doctor in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio play "The Kingmaker" and Fake Shemping Tom's voice in the 50th anniversary parody Reunion Show The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (both of these starred Tom's successor Peter Davison).
  • David Cameron — as a vote-grabbing populist 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 TV 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).
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A Running Gag on the radio version has Andrew Neil introducing his three guests, which run something like "A jellyfish with an arts degree; Davros, creator of the Daleks... and DIANE ABBOTT!". Abbott is introduced with a greater degree of incredulity each time.
  • Bald of Awesome: Ross Kemp's is noted, with him defining each of his roles as "Angry Bald X". It gets very strange when he decides "Angry Bald Queen Mother" and "Angry Bald Australian Feminist" are the next logical steps in his career.
  • 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)
    Nigel Farage: No no no, let me speak!
    Donald Trump: 'Losers!' or 'Bigly big!' or 'Fake news!'
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The Doctor, at least in how he is perceived by all the people he rings up.
  • Completely Missing the Point:
    • When BBC Radio 4 burns down, a fireman tries to save some of the workers, only for them to miss the point of his trying to do his job, and try and psychoanalyse him instead.
    • One of Tony Blair's schemes is to replace fire engines with clown cars, despite Kirsty Wark pointing out that clown cars can only go a few feet before exploding in a hilarious bang. Blair confidently states that this will make them better than the Green Goddesses note .
  • 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.
  • Faux Horrific: One sketch has a show revolving around Directory Inquiries, and their desperate quest to prevent people being mildly inconvenienced.
  • Fetch Quest: Gandalf keeps sending Frodo on epic quests... to fetch things like milk and cigarettes ("But don't tell Bilbo! He thinks I've given up.")
  • Film at 11: "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."
  • Follow the Leader: An in-universe version has a bored Gil Grissom decide to imitate Sam Tyler and get hit by a car in the hopes it takes him to a simpler time. Which it does. But it also takes him into the world of Miss Marple instead.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: A recurring sketch has Ian Mackellen 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.
  • Hypocritical Humour: The original radio series has Alan Bennett condemning some aspect of modern media, followed by him and Thora Hird doing the exact same thing (e.g. speaking out against violence, then throwing the radio out the window).
  • Improbable Weapon User: One sketch has Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi fighting with baguettes.
    Your baking products are weak, old man.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Invoked and weaponized by Alan Bennett, who declares no-one can out-whimsy him saying "macaroons".
  • Insane Troll Logic: Jeremy Clarkson's argument against driving trains to work. After all, if everyone drove trains, where would they park them?
  • Intercontinuity Crossover:
  • It's All About Me: Theresa May, depicted hiding from angry Brits, or whining about how austerity hasn't worked for her, and as a result she's lost her job and wound up in an abusive relationship with the leader of the D.U.P.
  • Knife Nut: Brian Perkins, gangland boss of BBC Radio 4, has one, and has a fondness for using it people who incur his displeasure.
  • Look Ma, I Am on TV!: It once had a sketch where John Prescott does this.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Parodied when Darth Vader turns out to be... Prince Philip ("Elizabeth, I am your husband.").
  • Malaproper: George Bush and John Prescott.
  • Manchild:
    • George W. Bush, who declares war not on Iraq, but Tie-Rack, as well as the cast of Sesame Street, much to his aide's despair.
    • Donald Trump, who as president repeatedly phones his underling at four in the morning with frivolous demands or concerns, usually ending by asking for a bedtime story.
  • No-Sell:
    • Darth Vader's attempt to force choke a Geordie worker fails, because as another builder points out, no Geordie has a neck.
    • A nuke does absolutely nothing to David Dickinson, or his tan.
  • Nuke 'em:
    • In the very first sketch on the first episode, Iraq is nuked by the weapons inspector, David Dickinson, setting off an antique nuke.
    • As a result of an insulting tweet, Kim Jong-un launches several nukes at Britain. The One Show hosts remain cheerily blasé about the total annihilation facing them, and the nuclear winter to follow.
  • 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!")
  • Recycled In Space: The Ninth Doctor complains that while he was intense, the Tenth is just "Jarvis Cocker in space!"
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Gordon Brown in later series, though on one occasion he starts juddering and yelling "EXTERMINATE" a lot...
  • 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.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: In one sketch, Tony Blair turns out to be a conman, who's duped the people of Great Britain and stolen all their money, and plans to go for an easier target next time, by spinning a globe around. His choice? America.
  • Sophisticated as Hell:
    • Queen Elizabeth, taking Helen Mirren's place on Crimewatch after her role in The Queen.
    One's nicked, you slag.
    • Ross Kemp imitating an Australian feminist results in Ross acting like a feminist.
    Ross Kemp: An' I'll tell you somethin' else: Violence against wimmen is the perpetuation of the modern state of the male hegemony! Now get down 'em stairs, you slag!
  • Spiritual Successor: The Impressions Show, which features Jon Culshaw very prominently.
  • Take a Third Option: In the Evil Brit sketches, when Ian Mackellen and Alan Rickman have inevitably killed one another, the character laments they now have no Evil Brit at all. Cue BRIAN BLESSED appeared, and being rejected.
  • Take That!: ... Yes?
  • The Nth Blair: During an interview, Tony Blair collapses, and regenerates into David Tennant.
  • Too Dumb to Live: George Bush.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: As the real life Tony Blair's popularity went down, the show's version became more confrontational and aggressive towards the public in his addresses.
  • 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.
    • John Prescott is so unintelligible that when a scheme is introduced to fill him so full of pies and chips that he can't speak, Kirsty Wark declares it the most popular decision he'd ever make, something Prescott agrees on.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: After a posh MP names his child "Sixtus" (among other things), he shrugs off the possibility his son might one day be upset at sounding like a Roman legionary. Cue angry phonecall.
    Sixtus: (a la Russell Crowe) I am Sixtus [...], owner of a ridiculous name, and I will have my revenge!
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: During a Christmas party, the 2nd Doctor is terrified by tinfoil. As the 4th Doctor states, the 10th should've known full well that most of his enemies were made of tinfoil.

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