Follow TV Tropes


Series / Harry Enfield and Chums

Go To
British comedy sketch show from the 1990s, a collaboration between Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse (who went on to head up The Fast Show). The partnership was later revived with Harry and Paul. (The other "Chum" was Kathy Burke.)

Titled "Harry Enfield's Television Programme" for its first series. Not so prolific as The Fast Show, but it still added several Stock British Phrases to the lexicon. The character of Kevin the teenager would go on to have his own spin-off movie, Kevin & Perry Go Large.

Contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Smashy & Nicey were poking fun at the then-current disc jockeys at BBC Radio One such as Noel Edmonds and Tony Blackburn... which backfired horribly, as pretty much every Radio One presenter over the age of 25 was fired by the mid-90's (Smashie and Nicey even being mentioned by name by the controller when describing the image he wanted Radio One to lose), in order to draw in younger listeners. Enfield and Whitehouse later stated they were horrified and disgusted at this turn of events, and included a sketch where Smashy & Nicey have an on-air rage against their Bad Boss.

  • Advertisement:
  • Ambiguously Gay: Nicey from Smashie and Nicey.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Kevin started out as one of these and remained so throughout ...Television Programme, in sketches titled "Little Brother" (though his actual name was always Kevin). In the first episode of ...And Chums he turned thirteen and abruptly transformed into the better-remembered Kevin the Teenager.
  • Apologises a Lot: Jürgen the German. It's kind of his thing. Especially when it comes to World War II.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: "English for Aliens" was easily the most popular of the one-off sketches (according to Enfield) but it was never revisited because the costumes were too cumbersome and prone to overheating.
  • Awful Wedded Life: The Arguing Couple, a married couple who quite clearly have grown to despise each other, stuck in a seemingly endless argument which consists of them constantly flinging insults at each other (often to others irritation), yet won't separate or get a divorce for the sake of their son David.
  • Advertisement:
  • Black Comedy: The "For the Sake of the Children" sketch and some in the "Old Gits" segments (e.g., where they replicate Damien Hirst's art installations by hacking a puppy in half with a meat cleaver).
  • Breakout Character: Kevin the teenager, who got his own movie.
  • Captain Obvious: One sketch with Mister Dont-Wanna-Do-That has him discussing a football match with a number of real football pundits. All find themselves in complete agreement that the losing team didn't want to let goals be scored against them, but instead should have tried to score more goals than the other team, because that would have allowed them to win.
  • Catchphrase: Some of the most popular include -
    • Aliens (in high pitched squeaky voice): "Tree!"
    • De Dutch Coppersh: "He is my partner and also my lover."
    • Jürgen the German: "I feel I must apologise for the conduct of my nation during the Var."
    • Kevin the Teenager: "Cuh, that is SO UNFAIR!!! I HATE YOU!!!"
    • In Kevin's first incarnation as Little Brother he had another catchphrase which doubled as a shout-out: "bloody hell, Baldrick!"
    • Know-it-all Guy: "You don't wanna do it like thaaaat!" and also "Only me!"
    • Scousers: "Areet areet cam down cam down!" and "Dey do dough don't dey dough?"
    • The Self Righteous Brothers: "Oi! (celebrity's surname) NO!"
    • Smashie and Nicey: "Poptastic!"
    • Stan and Pam Herbert: "We are considerably richer than yow!"
    • Tim Nice But Dim (after just having been punched/ripped off/etc by someone): "What a thoroughly bloody nice bloke!"
    • The Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies: "Young man!"
  • Chocolate Baby: Waynetta dumps Wayne because she hasn't got one. Wayne eventually solves this by fathering one with Naomi Campbell.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: When Little Brother became Kevin the Teenager, his older brother disappeared.
  • Creator Provincialism: Parodied with the Mr Cholmondeley-Warner routines, which begin with a turning globe ident in which the British Isles are the same size as the Americas or Africa.
  • The Comically Serious: Thirties public information film hosts Mr Greyson and Mr Cholmondley-Warner, with impeccable reserve, narrate how to evade muggers via hypnosis; farcically myopic predictions of life in the distant future, and "how to maintain not only a stiff upper lip".
  • Cross-Cast Role: Enfield as one of the Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies, and Kathy Burke as Perry from the Kevin sketches.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The 1930s public information films. "Women! Know Your Limits! Thinking too much makes you ugly!"
  • Double Take: The first series did not feature a pair of characters called "The Double-Take Brothers".
    • AAHHHH! Yes it did!
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Freddie and Jack's housekeeper, Mrs Housekeeper (it's never made clear whether or not that is her actual name).
  • Evil Old Folks: The Old Gits in spades.
  • Freestate Amsterdam: "De Dutch Coppersh" are one of the best known expressions of this stereotype of the Netherlands.
  • Grumpy Old Man: The Old Gits, although "grumpy" is a big understatement.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Parodied. Lance can't sing for shit in English, but can sing excellently in Italian.
  • Hot for Teacher: In one skit, Kevin develops a crush on his attractive teacher. As does his father.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: "English for Aliens" is a comedic version of the trope.
  • Jerkass: Plenty, but The Gits take it Up to Eleven.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Mr. Know-It-All. This character was originally referred to by Enfield simply as Mister Dont-Wanna-Do-That (the name even appeared in a first-series link piece).
  • Like Father, Like Son: In one episode, Kevin is shown to have a crush on an attractive English teacher. At a Parent's Evening, Kevin is so smitten with her he can barely manage to respond when his mother and teacher talk to him. When it's time to leave, it is shown that Kevin's dad is just as captivated by her, staring (and smiling) as if in a trance.
  • Monochrome Apparition: When Alf Git reunites with old flame Ivy, lifelong partner in gitting Fred dies, reputedly of a broken heart. In revenge, Fred returns from the grave to sabotage Alf and Ivy's car. While Ivy survives, the sketch ends with both Gits, bleached entirely in ashen white, happily dancing on each others' graves.
  • Mood Whiplash: One Kevin & Perry sketch had the boys planning to go to a Wild Teen Party... then we learn that Kevin's grandfather just died. Later on in the show we get another scene with Kevin and his parents talking about his grandfather's death in a way that really tugs at your heartstrings. There's another sketch at the end of the episode where Kevin's Nan is thanking him for missing the party and staying with her instead. It's just as, if not more well-written than any other sketches they did... but it's still kinda weird.
  • The Movie: Kevin And Perry Go Large!
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Michael Paine, who is Michael Caine reimagined as a nosey neighbour.
    • Tory Boy was heavily based on William Hague, who was a prominent member of the Young Conservatives group since he was a teenager and famously made a speech at the Conservative Party's annual national conference when he was just sixteen. Enfield also claimed to have mixed other recent Conservative politicians such as Michael Howard and Michael Portillo into the character, alleging that they were "Tory Boys who have never grown up".
    • It is believed that Smashie and Nicey were based primarily on Mike Read, Simon Bates and Tony Blackburn, though other then-current DJs such as Alan Freeman were also believed to have influenced the writers.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: The main joke of the "Modern Dad" sketches.
  • Once an Episode: After a one-off appearance by "Fat Bloke" in series 1 proved an unexpected fan hit, Fat Bloke was randomly inserted into sketches in series 2 and for series 3 appeared at the end of each episode to sing them out with an eccentrically chosen song ("The show's not over till the Fat Bloke sings!"). This seems to be a Shout-Out to Morecambe and Wise's "Lady who comes down at the end".
  • Oop North: As usual in Enfield's comedy, a common theme (the Scousers, Julio Geordio, etc.).
    • A special, "Harry Enfield's Guide to the North of England, collected these sketches and added segments reviving a less popular character, a Yorkshire industrialist stereotype named George Whitebread, who had appeared in two isolated sketches in the first series (and who had his own [[catchphrase]]: "No offence!").
    • Perry goes to an Oasis gig and comes back with a Mancunian accent. Kevin attempts this too, with disastrous results.
    • Loadsamoney's polar opposite was a Geordie called Buggerallmoney. Enfield recalls debuting him in a stage performance in Newcastle and making such a hash of the accent that the audience didn't buy into it until he (in character) snapped and started calling them "Makems" (someone from Sunderland), at which point the audience erupted into laughter.
  • Overnight Age-Up: Parodied at the stroke of midnight on Kevin's thirteenth birthday. He immediately transforms from the annoying, hyperactive little brother into the moody, sullen teenager he became better known as.
  • The Parody:
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: Although the reference didn't survive into the final show, one script mentions that Tim Nice But Dim has a thing for Lara Croft. Then of course there were the The Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies...
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: The character Mr Dead (a parody of Mr. Ed with a corpse instead of a horse) failed to make impact because (Enfield says) he failed to realise that the viewing public didn't share his enthusiasm for old American TV and didn't get the reference.
  • Raging Stiffie: A recurring theme of the Kevin the Teenager sketches.
  • Retraux: The Mr Cholmondely-Warner 1930s public information films, as well as the London Palladium-style opening and closing scenes.
  • Running Gag: The appearance of "Fat Bloke" in a Stealth Hi/Bye cameo role, and later to sing them out ("the show's not over till the Fat Bloke sings!").
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: A comically exaggerated example. In the final regular episode Kevin at last loses his virginity. The next morning he has been transformed from an unspeakably horrible teenager into a charming, polite and helpful young man, to his parents' incredulous delight (and Perry's disappointment). Though the transformation (but not the sex itself) was retconned in a subsequent Christmas special, turning out to have been just a beautiful dream of his mother's.
  • Sketch Comedy
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • The Self-Righteous Brothers are built around this trope.
    • As is the "we are considerably richer than yow" couple.
  • Strawman Political:
    • Tory Boy, a stereotype of the Young Conservatives (the youth wing of the Conservative Party, which at the time was infamously dominated by the party's hard-right faction); also a specific parody of then Conservative leader William Hague, who had addressed the Conservative Party Conference at the age of 16 (an appalled Enfield realised that Hague was the same age as him). To balance matters, Enfield had plans to introduce his friend and political counterpart "Ginger Lefty" (based on his own youth) but this idea never made it to film. One Christmas special did briefly transform him into "Tony Boy".
    • Also Freddie and Jack, two middle-aged housemates who are ardently Tory and Labour respectively and argue about whether everything from public toilets to Doctor Who is better under a Conservative or a Labour government (but once joined forces to bully former Liberal leader David Steel, appearing as himself).
  • Super Zeroes: A short lived sketch in the first season, titled "The Palace of Righteous Justice", revolved around four heroes who had fairly adequate superpowers, but were absolutely useless at their jobs.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Kevin the Teenager.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Tim Nice-but-Dim is an exaggerated version of "posh" yet pleasant and stupid people that Enfield knew. He is a fictional Old Ardinian with an eccentric public school-influenced dress sense involving jeans and a school blazer worn over a striped rugby shirt. He was written by Ian Hisplop and Nick Newman as an antidote to contemporary portrayals of ex-public schoolboys as sharp-minded, high-achieving young men, and instead chose to base the character on former school contemporaries who had plenty of money and good manners but were light of intellect.
  • Witty Banter: Smashie and Nicey.
  • Women Drivers: The subject of one of the spoof public information films.

Alternative Title(s): Harry Enfields Television Programme