The Fast Show – Seriously Funny – Stuff The White Rabbit – tape 2135

Here’s a tapes that offered a double-edged sword of surprise. The label (and my database) only listed The Fast Show, but also on the tape is an episode of the BBC2 magic show Stuff the White Rabbit (yay!) and another episode of humbug Howard Jacobson’s Seriously Funny (boo). But any surprise is nice.

First, The Fast Show. I find it really hard to locate these episodes in the schedule, especially when there isn’t really any surrounding material to go on. The Fast Show is the kind of show that has spotty coverage in episode guides, and they rarely catalogue the sketches in each episode.

This episode features;

  • I’m Ed Winchester
  • Fat Sweaty Coppers. They have a title sequence so it might be an early appearance for them.

  • You ain’t seen me

  • Anyone Fancy a pint?

  • Ron Manager
  • Panpipe Band
  • Unlucky Alf and his greenhouse

  • The Unpronounceables

  • Brilliant Kid talking about Terminator 2
  • Ed Winchester
  • Whoever these two are working on a bridge

  • Channel 9 news – featuring an advert for the Garden Gizmo

  • You ain’t seen me again

  • Ted and Ralph – “Are you interesting in French cinema?”

  • Professor Denzil Dexter

  • Suits You Sir

  • Pan Pipes again
  • Our Janine, who really likes Lisa Stansfield

  • Ed Winchester

  • Indecent Exposure

  • Arthur Atkinson, in what sounds like an introductory sketch

  • Ted & Ralph
  • Roy & Renée have been to Stratford upon Avon, but they prefer Jasper Carrott

  • The Off-Roaders

  • I’ll Get Me Coat

  • Back to the Off-Roaders
  • More Pan Pipes
  • More Unlucky Alf
  • The Happy Skinhead
  • The Comedy Vicar
  • Level 42
  • Ed Winchester

Trawling through the internet I’ve found that this is the first episode of the first series, although a repeat. So I reckon its:

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 5th January 1996 – 21:30

The next episode features:

  • Isle of Man couple

  • Football Managers

  • Unlucky Alf buys a parrot

  • Football Managers again
  • The joking doctor

  • Pan Pipes in Trafalgar Square
  • Tommy Cockles talks about Bogart and Bacall

  • Liver and Bacon on the Isle of Man
  • Country Matters to Bob Fleming

  • Ron Manager
  • Anyone Fancy a pint? Bomb disposal

  • Ted & Ralph
  • I’ll get me coat – classical music
  • Brilliant Kid – holidays
  • Chanel 9
  • You ain’t seen me
  • Roy & Renée talk about Turkey
  • Bob Fleming goes fishing

  • Yes I am from the Isle of Man

  • Fat Sweaty Coppers commandeer a vehicle

  • Suits You
  • Dave the Pub Vacillator

  • Ed Winchester
  • The Off Roaders. Day 4 – The Forest
  • Denzil Dexter – Bear’s Urine
  • You ain’t seen me play pan pipes

  • The Isle of Man
  • The Cheery Milkman
  • The Annoying Irishman

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 12th January 1996 – 21:30

After this, recording switches to Channel 4 for an episode of Howard Jacobson’s dredge through what makes comedy comedy. Let’s see how much joy he can quash with this episode, called How the Devil became a Holy Fool.

We’re off an running with the opening, a reflection of his boyhood obsession with ‘On with the Motley’ from Pagliaccia, about the tortured clown, and how he was a tortured twelve year old. “Laugh though your soul is in hell.”

After a long digression on satyrs and their foreshortened penises, during which he fails to invoke even a single dick joke, he then moves on to some of his interviews. Here’s Roseanne saying that nothing is out of bounds for comedy.

Roy Chubby Brown (real name Royston Vasey) explains his homophobic worldview. “The thing that frightens me is with the amount of lesbians now, and the amount of homosexuals we have, we’re going to get lost in our own race. We don’t know who’s who.”

Vile racist Bernard Manning doesn’t do sick gags “about tampaxes” like Ben Elton.

Jim Davidson, who is definitely not a paedophile, condemns Spitting Image because “It’s the easy way” to poke fun at the royal family.

Here’s some clowns brought in to ‘entertain’ old people in a home. Is this to make them wish for a swift death?

Jacobson argues really vociferously with the doctor who does the caring clowning, that it’s impossible to bring joy because we live in a pain universe.

Once again, Jacobson succeeds in sucking the joy out of everything, which isn’t surprising since he appears to deny event the possibility of joy.

After this, recording switches to something that’s definitely joyful. It’s an episode of Stuff The White Rabbit, the BBC2 magic showcase presented by John Lenahan.

Featuring performances from Otiz Cannelloni

Jerry Sadowitz

David Williamson

The amazing Rene Lavand, who does sleight of hand with only one hand.

Here’s (most of) the programme. I’ve removed Jerry Sadowitz’s routines because the last time I put any Jerry Sadowitz up, he issued a copyright strike on YouTube, and I’d prefer to avoid that, so here’s the programme without him.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th March 1997 – 00:00

After this, recording continues for a short time, with a trailer for Match of the Day Live.

Then there’s the start of a Swedish movie, The Pram. Then this recording ends, and underneath there’s a segment of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct. The tape ends during this.


  • trail: Love Life
  • National Lottery
  • Milky Way
  • Batchelors Mushy Peas
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame on video
  • Zanussi
  • Pepsi Max
  • Branston Pickle
  • Crosse & Blackwell
  • trail: Shop ’til you Drop
  • trail: Brass Eye
  • VW
  • Virgin Direct PEPs
  • Safeway
  • Jamaica
  • British Midland
  • Melody FM
  • The Equitable Life
  • Renault Laguna
  • British Midland
  • Fosters
  • Allied Dunbar
  • Renault Megane
  • Olivio
  • Brit Awards 97
  • Time Out
  • Bird’s Eye Fish Grills
  • Bird’s Eye Fish Fingers


  1. Incidentally, RIP stalwart of this blog, Space: 1999’s Martin Landau. George A. Romero died too, but you haven’t mentioned him recently.

  2. Seriously Funny: How the Devil Became the Holy Fool – 25/02/1997. Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct was after this but later on during this night C4 also showed the Sam Fuller doc The Typewriter The Rifle and the Movie Camera, the Fuller film Park Row and, even later, the Henry Jaglom film Someone to Love. On ITV you had the Brit Awards.

  3. Yes, that is the first episode of The Fast Show. I love the Indecent Exposure sketch.

    Stuff The White Rabbit was, you note, a Granada production for the BBC, and indeed Granada showed it first, six months beforehand, which is when I watched it (it was always intended for the BBC, though, the episodes on Granada were 35 minutes long with adverts). I remember on one of them John Lenahan saying “If you ask people who their favourite magician is, you’ll get lots of names, but if you ask people in their twenties and thirties, they’ll always say David Williamson”. And actually at the time Williamson, with his Kermit-esque voice, was my favourite. Quite an introduction, though.

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