Saturday, May 10, 2008

Absolutely brilliant

I've spent the past hour laughing my capacious pants off at the first couple of shows from the box set of Absolutely - finally released on DVD. If you missed it, or are too young to remember it, Absolutely was a sketch show shown on Channel 4 in the UK between 1989 and 1993, starring John Sparkes, Peter Baikie, Jack Docherty, Moray Hunter, Morwenna Banks and Gordon Kennedy. It featured some brilliant comic creations like Frank Hovis, The Foot Theatre Company, Morwenna Banks' little girl, Calum Gilhooley, Mr Don and Mr George, DIY disaster Denzil, McGlashan, the Nice family and the wonderfully strange Stoneybridge Council. Mr Don and Mr George got their own spin-off series and Jack Docherty hosted his own chat show ... yet the series seems somehow to have been forgotten in the shadow of similar BBC shows like Naked Video, A Kick up the 80s and, of course, Not the Nine O'Clock News. So it's an absolute pleasure to see it finally released and I'm enjoying every delicious minute; great monologues, extraordinary characters and deeply clever sketches.

It seems to have taken forever for it to arrive on DVD. But the fact that it finally has is an encouraging trend. So can it be long before Channel 4's other long-lost but excellent sketch show - Who dares wins? - is slapped onto disc? We can only hope so. The 80s didn't produce much of worth, in my humble opinion, but these shows were gems.

7 comments:

The Factory said...

Oh now you're talking ! Donald and George was my favourite sketch, along with Morwenna Banks' schoolgirl character. And yes it was better than 'Naked Video' and 'A Kick Up The 80's', and by some margin. And as for 'Who Dares Wins', do you remember the photo they showed which they alleged showed Edwina Currie 'entertaining the invisible man...' ? Genius.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Oh yes I do! There were so many great bits. Remember Terry and Wang-Wang the pandas? They even inspired a Kit-Kat commercial. However, the scary image of Tony Robinson wandering completely naked around the set on one show is indelibly etched on my memory ...

The Factory said...

Yes that's right, Tony Robinson spent a lot of time naked if I remember, much like Terry Jones in Python. Anyway, you do realise that I'm going to have to buy the 'Absolutely' box set now, I'm like the Borg, once I know it's out there I need to assimilate it. Still, I see Play have it for £25 and will deliver to Spain for free, not bad...

Stevyn Colgan said...

I'd have paid that just for that mad dance that John Sparkes does - the one wherehe's in the suit and has that strange Hitler moustache ... or the Stonybridge Olympics bid ... or Denzil's wife Gwynedd getting trapped in the Hoover ... so many memories ... Thanks for the comments as always!

Sal said...

oooh I loved Absolutely! Stoneybridge Council - the "vid A Oh, Bon A oh" sketch still pops up regularly in my mind.

Stevyn Colgan said...

I'm slowly working my way through the many discs and haven't hit that sketch yet ... but I'm pretty sure it'll be the Nice Family as Father (Jack Docherty) was always strangely mispronouncing words. Remember the Nice Family? - all dressed in their identical fawn cardigans around the breakfast table and Mother at the sink - we never saw her face and she spoke in strange grunts. Classic stuff.

Sal said...

It may be the Nice family - it's ages since I saw Absolutely. But now I know it exists on DVD, I'll definitely be tracking it down.

Thakns for your comment on my blog, btw. The next interview will be with a festival Artistic Director, if all goes to plan.