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Series / The Steam Video Company

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The Steam Video Company was a 1984 comedy series produced by Thames Television for ITV written by Andrew Marshall and David Renwick.

The six episode series was a low budget spoof of the horror genre, intermingled with spoofs on contemporary television programmes, such as Nationwide. The programmes starred the same repertory cast of comic actors in a variety of roles. The cast included: William Franklyn, Barry Cryer, Anna Dawson, Bob Todd, Madeline Smith, and Jimmy Mulville. The title is thought to be a reference to 'the golden age of steam railways', with the 'steam video' apparently a spoof on the multitude of low-budget horror and exploitation films available during the early days of the British home video boom.

Falling between the plot-driven nuclear insanity of Whoops Apocalypse and the newspaper satire of Hot Metal, it looks as if the writers were letting their hair down and just having fun with this series.

The Steam Video Company contains examples of:

  • British Brevity: The entire series consists of six episodes.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Unless somebody can persuade Network DVD, which released the other two series mentioned above, to issue this one as well.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: A Running Joke as every week an exasperated cast member would express dismay at the shoddiness of Bob Todd's disguise.
  • Throw the Pin: A a variation where a soldier pulls the pin on a grenade then opens a can of Coke, throws the can and puts the grenade to his mouth.
  • Visual Pun: From the third episode, we get this exchange.
    Waiter: There's a queue outside for the alphabet soup.
    Chef: Bring them in!
    (waiter brings gigantic Q over)
    Chef: Oh, jolly good. (puts it in a saucepan — music starts) Ah! It was a Q for a song!