The Comic Strip Presents – tape 1526

Here’s a series of episodes of The Comic Strip Presents from their later series on the BBC.

First, one by Keith Allen, Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown.

I have to admit, I don’t particularly like Allen’s entries in the Comic Strip canon. Always too interested in giving Allen ‘acting’ to do, and very few jokes.

There’s a lot of familiar faces here. Here’s Simon Brint, half of Raw Sex.

I’m fairly sure that’s Michael White on the left, the producer of the Comic Strip films.

Jim Carter is a police inspector

Phil Cornwell is Spanker, a Geordie detective who bears a striking relationship to Jimmy Nail’s Spender.

The Gourmet Detective has been murdered by someone wearing platforms and cheesecloth, so Carter has to bring in the 70s detectives, Bonehead and Foyle, The Bullshitters.

Also called in, Shouting George from The Weeney, aka Jim Broadbent.

Peter Richardson also plays Jason Bentley, channeling his inner Peter Wyngarde.

Richard Vernon (the original Slartibartfast) plays a posh man with a mansion – the first port of call for Jason Bentley’s method of solving crimes.

It even has musical numbers.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd April 1993 – 21:00

Next, it’s Space Virgins from Planet Sex. Robbie Coltrane seems to be the only man on a planet of women who are rapidly approaching their breeding cycle, so naturally he’s the one in charge.

They discover an Earth probe, and set forth to find men with whom they can breed.

The show makes liberal use of classic Star Trek sound effects, and some NASA stock footage, perfectly in keeping with the B-movie style. They also used what looks like a ship from the first season of Blake’s 7, although I think this might be a new model shot or possibly an outtake, as that pyro looks a bit over the top.

Isn’t this from Space 1999?

Meanwhile on Earth, Doon Mackichan is fending off the amorous advances of James Blonde.

Blonde is played by Peter Richardson.

His boss is also played by Robbie Coltrane.

Ade Edmondson plays an Air Traffic Controller

Miranda Richardson plays Miss Straugheim, who runs a course designed to eradicate sexism. Blond is sent on the course.

Keith Allen plays Martin Aimless, winner of the Booker Prize for the most clever author of the year.

Jennifer Saunders is one of the Space Virgins.

Dawn French is their leader.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th April 1993 – 21:00

Next is Queen of the Wild Frontier. Julie T Wallace is a very angry farmer, tired of looking after her old father.

Josie Lawrence is her trippy, new age sister.

Two prisoners escape while being transported near the farm, Jack Docherty and Gary Beadle.

Alexei Sayle in the man in charge of the manhunt.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 6th May 1993 – 21:00

The next episode is called Gregory Diary of a Nutcase. Adrian Edmondson is Gregory, and this is his video diary.

Doon Mackichan is the young Louise Bromley, doing a thesis on the serial killer Dr Genghis.

Nigel Planer is Governor Wilkins, in charge of the murderer.

Hugh Quarshie plays Bromley’s superior, Lt Delaney.

Genghis is, of course, played by Keith Allen

If I’m honest, French & Saunders did the whole Silence of the Lambs spoof much, much better on their own show.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 13th May 1993 – 21:00

Next, Demonella, and this one is written and directed by Paul Bartel, who made Death Race 2000 and Eating Raoul.

Robbie Coltrane is a struggling music publisher.

Jennifer Saunders brings a song she wants to play for him. She’s The Devil, and the song is incredibly catchy.

Miriam Margolyes is Coltrane’s mother.

Bartel himself makes an appearance as Oscar Wilde

A nice change of pace for the series, and, typically for Bartel, as black as pitch.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 20th May 1993 – 21:00

The final episode is Jealousy, co-written by Robbie Coltrane and Morag Fullerton.

Peter Capaldi is spying on his wife because he’s jealous.

He’s using a self-help course on how to save your marriage.

He tries to fight his jealousy, but when he finds a note in his wife’s jacket about a meeting in a club, he decides to go undercover.

Kathy Burke works in the club.

Unbeknownst to Capaldi, the club is a trans club.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 27th May 1993 – 21:00

After this, there’s a trailer for The Sweeney (after Jim Broadbent’s John Thaw impression at the start of this tape) showing as part of the Cops on the Box season. Then the tape ends.

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