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Series / Filthy Rich & Catflap

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Clockwise, from top left: Ralph Filthy, Richie Rich, and Eddie Catflap

"Please末call me Sexy."
Richie Rich

Filthy Rich & Catflap is a Brit Com, originally transmitted on BBC2 in early 1987. Historically regarded as the spiritual successor to The Young Ones, with much overlap between the two series in terms of main cast, writing staff, and humour.

Rik Mayall plays Richie Rich, a talentless, unheard-of Large Ham actor on a manic crusade for fame, fortune, and a bit of sex. To help make his dreams come true, Richie relies on his decrepit cockney agent Ralph Filthy (Nigel Planer), and his violent, alcoholic minder Edward Catflap (Adrian Edmondson).

Like its spiritual predecessor, the show has absolutely No Fourth Wall. Compared to The Young Ones, however, the plots are tighter, and the satire is sharper. At its core, the series is a vicious deconstruction of postwar light entertainment, and serves as a thesis on its irrelevance in Thatcher's Britain. Accordingly, it featured several cameos from the UK's alternative comedy scene, like Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and Mel Smith.

It ended after six episodes when Mayall complained to co-writer Ben Elton about his writing privileges. Elton didn't listen and Mayall left.

This show provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: At least four dead milkmen in the first episode. Five, if you include the one in the hospital.
  • The Alcoholic: Catflap, Filthy and Rich, in that order.
  • Alien Geometries: Parodied when the guys walk through a door in their flat that's normally a closet and end up in a corner shop while commenting how close the corner shop is when you move to a smaller set.
  • Alliterative Name: Richie Rich.
  • Amazon Brigade: In Episode Two, Richie gets punched out by the Nolan Sisters after they catch him snooping around their dressing room.
  • Attention Whore: Richie.
  • Ass Shove: Implied threat.
    Eddie: Richie, it's your choice. I can either stuff the meat into the oven, you into the oven, or the oven into you. Which is it to be?
  • Bedmate Reveal: In the first scene of the series, Richie wakes up in the morning, assumes he is alone and addresses a lengthy monologue to the camera. Then a huge fart is heard and his bedmate is revealed to be his drunken minder, Eddie.
  • Berserk Button: Richie's incredible success at the end of the series drives Eddie to smashing up the set.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: The show delights in hanging lampshades.
  • British Brevity: Only six episodes were made, thanks to an argument between Rik Mayall and writer Ben Elton.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: At one point in Episode Three, Richie inexplicably starts loudly boasting about his vast comic ability while standing in a supermarket checkout queue. A little old lady politely末but firmly末asks to hear a joke. Richie, aghast that his bluff was called, panics and stammers out a scatological onomatopoeia.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Filthy's "Yes, I can hold," every time he makes a telephone call.
    • Richie: "God bless Gran, and don't forget the kids!" (or some variation thereof)
  • Cloudcuckoolander: All three leads, as well as nearly every supporting character in the entire series, are one of these葉o the point where the show doesn't bother to draw clear distinctions between who and who isn't one, but instead deals in degrees of affliction.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Subverted. As Filthy points out in Episode Four, Eddie rarely does a good job as Richie's minder, and often participates when Richie gets beaten up.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: Though the series has been issued on DVD twice末first in 2004 and then as a 25th Anniversary Edition in 2012末Episode Six was the victim of this trope on both occasions. The original 2004 DVD cuts out Eddie's confused medley of "Roxanne" and "Message in a Bottle," along with Midge Ure singing a line from "Vienna." Both DVD releases heavily butcher a scene featuring Richie and Eddie acting out bits from Oliver!, cutting out lyrics from the songs "Consider Yourself," "Where is Love?" and "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two."
  • Comically Missing the Point: Countless examples. A fairly typical one from Episode Four:
    Jumbo Whiffy: [regarding his secretary] You've met Jill, I take it? I don't know what I'd do without her. Terrific pair of, uh... [gestures against his chest] ...eyes, eh? [boisterous laugh]
    Richie: Yeah, and fantastic knockers as well, hasn't she?
  • Cop Hater: Eddie.
    Richie: This copper wants a statement.
    Eddie: Right. [Beat] All coppers are bastards!
  • Culture Blind: In Episode One, when Richie considers assuming the identity of the milkman he just killed by accident.
    Richie: Am I expected to train his whippets? Learn to clog dance?
  • Daddy DNA Test: Except the DNA test is part of an elaborate plan to share Richie's money between Eddie, Eddie's cousin, and Filthy. And the blood sample is pure lager.
  • Death Is Cheap: Ralph is hanged in the final episode...only to inexplicably come back because he's needed for the next series. Which we never got.
  • Den of Iniquity: Filthy owns a chain of discount brothels, though he prefers to call them "leisure establishments."
  • Disposing of a Body: The dead milkmen in Episode One.
  • Disproportionate Celebration: In Episode Five, Richie is hysterically jubilant when informed of his newly-booked, upcoming gig: A one-shot appearance on TV-am reading the newspaper gossip columns.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: This exchange:
    Eddie: Let's put the bod in the cub before it begins to whiff.
    Richie: Uh-uh-uh末if that were our criteria for putting things in "the cub," we would have put you in one ages ago, wouldn't we? [Beat] Because you're so whiffy.
    Eddie: Yeah, I got it末I just didn't think it was funny... at all.
  • Double Entendre: Filthy Rich & Catflap practically embodies this old chestnut of a gag formula, and perpetually alternates between celebrating it and skewering it. This trope is even name-checked outright in the first episode.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: As Filthy stands on the gallows in Episode Six awaiting execution by hanging, he is bittersweet at the prospect of his first erection "in fifteen years" without being alive to enjoy it.
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: Parodied.
    "Extra! Extra! I'm an extra!"
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Played straight for most of the series. And then subverted! The series ends on a cheery "Made it!" from Richie.
  • Fanboy: Richie is rather obsessed with real-life 1960s-era scouser comedian Jimmy 'Tarby' Tarbuck. Despite his repeated insistence that Tarby is a close friend, nobody in-universe appears to take this seriously. Richie has a framed poster of Tarby hanging in his living room (starting in Episode Two), and babbles incessantly about him throughout the series.
  • Gag Echo: Lampshaded big time, complete with name-check, in Episode Two.
  • Gay Bar Reveal:
    Richie: Bloody fairies! That's what you are, isn't it?
    Men at bar: Yeah.
    [Richie and Eddie are thrown out]
  • Groin Attack: In Episode Three, Eddie states outright that this is the only thing he hates more than golfing anecdotes.
    Eddie: It's a close-run thing though.
  • Hanging Judge: A literal example passes judgement over the three at the beginning of the sixth episode.
  • Happy Ending: Richie finally seizes fame by becoming the only TV presenter left standing, leading to his round-the-clock hosting of every show on every channel. His flagship programme on BBC1, Richtime, opens with a saccharine musical number about how he's better than everyone else because he's "in showbiz." Eddie registers his disgust, and proceeds to destroy first the living room and then the set itself. Filthy takes off for Rio.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": A running gag is one of the guys making an Innocent Innuendo and Eddie saying some variation of "Ooer sounds a bit rude".
  • It's All About Me: Richie.
  • Jerkass: The three title characters.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: A pillar of the series, along with the regular kind.
  • Large Ham:
    • Richie.
    "I'm stretched on the rack of my own genius!"
    • Eddie.
    "If you don't shut up, I shall ram your head into the microwave!"
  • Luvvies: Richie clearly sees himself as this, even referring to other celebs by nicknames ("Tarby," "Brucey," et al.) Occasionally the name-dropping gets out of hand and Eddie joins in too. ("Annie Diamondy!" "Selina Scotty!")
  • The Mad Hatter: Richie. Over the course of the series, it becomes evident that he is quite aware of his status as a Small Name, Big Ego, yet still carries on living how (he imagines) a major celebrity would, as best he can.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Played for Laughs (and a healthy dose of Breaking the Fourth Wall) with Ralph Filthy.
  • Mathematician's Answer: From the opening scene:
    Richie: What are you doing in my bed?
    Eddie: Well, I was sleeping. But now I'm talking to a git.
  • Moral Guardians: In the first episode, Richie tells Eddie to stop swearing incase children are watching the show. Eddie then turns to the camera and explains that Santa Claus doesn't exist.
  • Mugging the Monster: In a fit of desperation, Richie grabs a pair of scissors and does this to Filthy in Episode Two, after getting himself into a blackmail scenario with the Nolan Sisters of all people. Unsympathetic to Richie's potential public humiliation, Filthy responds by calmly placing a phone call to a professional assassin, thereby setting up the plot for the rest of the episode.
    Richie: Right, Filthy! Hand over the cash, or you'll be pushing up daisies in a concrete overcoat dumped in the canal. With your pockets full of pebbles. Getting carried out of here in a box.
    Filthy: Are you threatening me?
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Filthy manages other entertainers besides Richie. His talent repertoire includes Laurence Olivier, the one-armed turd impressionist.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Among the contestants on Ooer Sounds a Bit Rude are parodies of several Are You Being Served? stars: a Camp Gay actor who talks like John Inman but looks like Trevor Bannister, and a purple-haired old woman who goes on about her "pussy," modeled after Mollie Sugden.
      • There's also a ventriloquist with a bird puppet, who's a parody of Rod Hull and Emu.
    • Dingo Wucker, Australian-born publisher of the Daily Bastard in Episode Six, is a thinly-veiled swipe at Rupert Murdoch.
  • Oh, My Gods!: "What in the name of Satan's portion?!"
  • One-Liner: A staple of this series. All three leads are constantly cracking wise during each episode, apropos of nothing, and it's usually played completely straight. Of course, this is quite subversive for a series that's dedicated to lampooning old-time showbiz.
    Filthy: My medicine has gone up to eight quid a bottle. Eight quid! And then you have to buy the tonic.
  • Only Sane Man: Richie and Eddie, for exactly one moment in the final episode. Dingo Wucker's story pitches are so sleazy and unhinged that during their first meeting with him, he briefly shocks the two into gently rebuffing his absurd ideas when he asks for their input. Richie and Eddie quickly come to their senses and follow up on their assignment: framing Midge Ure for sleeping with Margaret Thatcher.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Richie's knowledge of anything not light entertainment-related is so great that he doesn't know who starred in the Rocky and Rambo films (he naturally answers "Tarby?")
  • Rage Breaking Point: Richie reveals his in Episode Two, after Eddie throws out one barb too many while attacking Richie's feeble talent.
    Richie: I'm storing all this up, you know. All of it! And one day, Edward Catflap, out of the blue, completely by surprise, you're going to die! Everyone will think it's an accident, except me末and the strange, enigmatic figure with the chainsaw.
  • Recognition Failure: Mixed with a dash of Odd Name Out in Episode Six, when Richie and Eddie meet Midge Ure, lead singer of Ultravox. Unfortunately, since the pair have absolutely no idea who Midge Ure is, and since they also have a rather loose grasp on reality in general, they mistake Ure for (in order): Sting, George Michael, and Australian novelty singer Joe Dolce.
  • Repetitive Name: Richie Rich.
  • Running Gag: The doorbell sounds like a fart.
  • Sadist Show: Completes the Mayall-Edmondson trinity, alongside Bottom and The Young Ones.
  • Self-Deprecation: Eddie often criticises the series, much to Richie's dismay.
    Richie: Filthy, if this is some kind of joke...
    Eddie: Then it'll be the first one on the show this week! [thumbs-up the camera]
  • Show Within a Show: Richie goes on a fictionalised version of Blankety Blank called Ooer Sounds a Bit Rude, hosted by Ivor Whopper.
  • The Starscream: Eddie fits this trope at times, particularly in Episode Two.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Richie fits this to a T.
  • Sore Loser: While playing Trivial Pursuit, Richie is so petty that he refuses to let Eddie have a point, despite giving a correct answer because he didn't say everything on the card, even the full stop.
  • Special Guest: A tradition carried over from The Young Ones, which featured a musical guest on every episode. Here, the trope is played with less consistency; only three episodes of Filthy Rich & Catflap feature musical guests, and only one of those guests (The Nolan Sisters in Episode Two) actually performs a song.
    • The other guests are Midge Ure of Ultravox in Episode Six, and a wonderful subversion of this trope by Jools Holland (of all people) in Episode Three, in a nearly-unrecognizable cameo as the pianist at an erotic cabaret.
  • Springtime for Hitler: In Episode Five, Richie lands a chance to read the papers on TV-am. Filthy, wanting to do his own presentation, tries to make sure they're late by urging them to be on time (see You Have Failed Me below), and they actually arrive on time for once, if only by ten minutes, much to Filthy's chagrin.
    Filthy: I lose all my faith in human nature, I really do!
    • Quickly subverted during Episode Five's To Be Continued ending. Once Richie and Eddie show up at the studio completely drunk and incoherent, and decide to moon the TV-am cameras on-air, the situation turns into an Epic Fail for all three.
  • Strawman Political: Richie. Conservatism is second only to British light entertainment as Filthy, Rich & Catflap's primary target of vicious satire.
    Richie: If you don't want to get beaten up, you shouldn't be poor. It's as simple as that!
  • Take That!:
    • Filthy: And then give that comic the world's best gag
      Eddie: Which would have to be Thatcher's '79 election promise to cut unemployment!
    • There are a number of digs at conservatism (par for the course; see also The Young Ones). This is lampshaded at the end of the first episode.
      "Look, I've had just about enough left-wing soapbox rhetoric for one week!"
    • The last episode has more than a few digs at Rupert Murdoch and tabloid journalists.
    • An in-show example occurs when they systematically smear everyone in British showbiz.
    • "This is England, Eddie. England! Not Birmingham."
  • Take That Me: In a meta-sense; after Eddie and Richie indulge in an extended satirical dig at the police force, Richie undercuts the proceedings by pointing out, "Next time you get beaten up, try calling an alternative comedian!"
  • Trouser Space: Eddie can fit three whole chickens in his trousers.
    Richie: Good lord, Eddie末how do you get so much meat in your trousers?
    Eddie: (chuckles) That's what all the girls say.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: The three main characters are a talentless self-absorbed narcissist, a violent and disloyal drunkard, and a conniving sleazebag.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    Richie: I've sustained some quite considerable Belisha beacons in my time, thank you!
    • Jumbo Whiffy, in Episode Four, rattles off a continual stream of these.
  • Video Inside, Film Outside: More specifically, video is used for in-studio shooting, and film is used for location shots, regardless of whether a scene is set indoors or outdoors.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Richie's central character trait - a minuscule actor and comedian now long-forgotten, but with delusions of importance and relevance. He expects everyone to know him and shower him with praise every time he enters a room (even though no one, not even those old enough to remember his meagre heights, are aware of his existence), is vain, egotistical, desperate for any kind of showbiz job, tries to live an upper class lifestyle, and is thoroughly past his prime (even if it is implied this "prime" was purely illusory).
    • Also the case of all the celebrities present on Ooer Sounds a Bit Rude, who rely on their gimmicks and are only slightly less desperate for attention as Richie. The Show Within a Show is presented as a place for people who fit this trope.
    • This trope is mercilessly lampooned throughout the entire series, and in Episode Three, Eddie simply lays out the series' core premise for the audience:
      Eddie: Look. If there's one thing I hate in British entertainment more than [Richie], it's that vast army of ex-stand-up comics, who did one half-funny gag on Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the middle 60s, and have made a fortune doing Game Shows ever since!
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: When Eddie asks Filthy to explain something.
    Filthy: If I told you that I'd ruin the plot, wouldn't I, Eddie?
    Eddie: Well, there's not a lot to ruin, is there, really? I'd hardly call this meaningless stream of bot and knob gags a plot, would you?