A series of 39 short British TV comedy films, mostly produced in the 1980s and early 1990s but running intermittently until 2011. A retrospective was produced in 2005. The programmes were originally shown on Channel 4 (the first aired on the channel's opening night), though one season aired on The BBC
and the most recent episode appeared on Gold.
Most episodes are standalone shorts, although some are connected, such as the two Famous Five parodies, and "Bad News Tour" / "More Bad News". Many episodes are pastiches of one or more standard genres, for example British sex comedies
("Dirty Movie"), spaghetti westerns ("A Fistful Of Travellers' Cheques", about British holidaymakers in Spain) or post-apocalyptic dramas ("The Slags"). As such, a lot of the humour is of the "clever" variety rather than the laugh-out-loud funny variety. Other episodes, such as "Five Go Mad In Dorset" and "Five Go Mad On Mescalin" are more direct parodies. Yet others, such as "Bad News Tour" and "Eddie Monsoon, A Life" are mockumentaries. The episodes are usually well shot in a cinematic, artistic style that echoes that of the genre in question.
The core cast was a group of alternative comedians including Rik Mayall
, Adrian Edmonson, Nigel Planer, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Peter Richardson, Robbie Coltrane, and Keith Allen. As a result, a lot of the episodes were heavily satirical in nature.
Led to the feature film Eat The Rich
about, well, eating the rich
Many of the tropes used in pastiche episodes are exaggerated and parodied.
By the way, not related to the 1987 The Comic Strip
Includes examples of: