The Comic Strip Presents – tape 2831

I’d forgotten this era of UK Gold branding. Not remotely as memorable as the labrador or the molten gold eras.

We’re here for The Comic Strip Presents… Mr Jolly Lives Next Door.

Here’s a confession: I don’t always like Rik and Ade doing their slapstick. I was fine with The Dangerous Brothers, and The Young Ones remains an almost perfect work of art to me. But I lost interest in Bottom, and I think I was just flummoxed by Mr Jolly Lives Next Door. For this, I’d love to put the blame on co-writer Rowland Rivron, whose entire body of work leaves me cold, except when with Simon Brint on French & Saunders.

But I fear it’s just that the urge for slapstick that Rik and Ade revel in, and their love of plumbing the depths of humiliation and degradation, aren’t my favourite things in comedy. It’s definitely my problem, not theirs.

I like the visual gag with the pathologist and the arms as they enter the morgue. And of course the boys get good value out of the arm props.

Another reason to like this, of course, is Peter Cook as the murderous Mr Jolly.

I wonder whose Number 10 this was? Unlikely to be the actual one. Didn’t Granada have one?

Rowland Rivron makes a cameo appearance

The boys find money and a note for Mr Jolly, asking him to ‘take out Nicholas Parsons’. So, because they’re trying to run an escort agency, they decide to take him out themselves.

Peter Richardson is Mr Lovebucket, the man who paid to have Nicholas Parsons taken out.

After this, another vintage Comic Strip production, Summer School in which the cast are placed in a replica stone-age village (in the middle of a modern college campus) and they’re supposed to live as stone-age people for a week. Naturally things don’t go as planned.

Next, over to Channel Four for a programme called First on Four featuring The Comic Strip. Of course, this is after the Comic Strip had moved to the BBC, so I suppose this was a way of Channel 4 to remind people where they started.

So there’s lots of interviews with interested parties, like producer Michael White.

Peter Richardson, of course.

French and Saunders on Keith Allen: “He just liked to be loud, really. Quite a lot of people with small genitals do that, don’t they?”

Lenny Henry was a fan, as well as Dawn French’s husband.

Rik Mayall. Still hard to believe he’s gone.

Nigel Planer

Robbie Coltrane remembers the walk out onto the sea wall from Supergrass, one of the striking images from the film.

A rare glimpse of Pete Richens, Peter Richardson’s writing partner.

Alexei Sayle

Following this, a brand new Comic Strip production, Four Men in a Car. Rik Mayall, Peter Richardson, Nigel Planer and Ade Edmondson are four salesmen travelling to Swindon to see who would be made regional manager of the year, or something.

But things go rather wrong, and they end up in the middle of nowhere, their car trashed, finding a house with no phone, and an angry homeowner, Jennifer Saunders, who then almost dies because she’s diabetic and Nigel Planer smashed her insulin vial looking for a quick hit.

Then, Dawn French arrives to get them all back on their feet, and the attentive viewer might have realised by this time that they’re all dead, and she’s an angel getting them ready for their own particular heaven, which means new phones, new credit cards, and a new car. Notice the wings on the logo on her hat.

After this, recording switches again, back to UK Gold for Dirty Movie. This one is completely surreal. Literally, since at one point Ade Edmondson and Dawn French are walking their pet lobster down the road.

Rik Mayall runs the local cinema, and has obtained a print of ‘Dirty Movie’ which he is going to play at 9am as ‘The Sound of Muzak’ on the assumption that nobody else will want to watch a movie at 9am.

Following this, recording continues, with Paul Merton The Series.

I think that’s Tim Stern, who played Laurence in Abigail’s Party.

Also appearing, Gina McKee

There isn’t a whole episode here, though, and as that recording stops, underneath there’s part of an episode of Consequences, one of those hypotheticals shows where a group of experts talk over their likely responses to an emergency. But there’s only half a minute of this, and that recording stops too.

Underneath, a movie. I think it’s Jon Cryer movie, Hiding Out.

This is followed by the start of 100 Years of Horror presented by Christopher Lee. The title sequence is a marvellous piece of early 90s CG.

Not just clips, this programme does also have some interviews, as with Boris Karloff’s daughter Sara.

Makeup artist Michael F Blake tells us what Karloff’s Mummy makeup might have been made of.

Poor Peggy Moran. The ellipse around the caption graphics make it look like she’s wearing some kind of silver dish as a collar.

Another co-star was Turhan Bey, whom I remember for his role as the Emperor in Babylon 5.

Excuse me, but WTF is Hugh Hefner being interviewed for this? It’s not that what he’s saying (about women in jeopardy) is wrong or stupid, just that I don’t know what his expertise in the area is. Also, he wears a dressing gown, which is ultra creepy.

At least Michael Carreras, of Hammer Films, bothered to get dressed before being interviewed.

Christopher Lee is proud of his work. “I did things in that film that Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t do, and rightfully so.”

The tape ends as he recites the (rather long) list of all the things that he endured on that film, including power burns from gunshot squibs, and crashing throw real glass in a French Window.


  • Peugeot 306
  • Diet Coke
  • Maltesers
  • Pringles
  • Campbell’s Soup
  • Heinz Cuisine
  • National Lottery Instants
  • Domestos
  • Nationwide
  • trail: Red Dwarf
  • Levi 501
  • Dr Pepper
  • Nutella
  • Hellmann’s Deli Sandwich Mayonnaise
  • Arm & Hammer Dental Care
  • Oil of Ulay
  • News of the World
  • Fairytale A True Story in cinemas
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Pepsi – Spice Girls
  • Batchelors Super Noodles
  • Kwik Save
  • Paramount Channel
  • Felix
  • Schwarzkopf Country Colors
  • Contradiction
  • trail: Taggart
  • trail: Highlander/Medicine Man
  • Tango
  • Renault Kangoo
  • Mars Celebrations
  • Golden Churn
  • Macleans
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Alton Towers
  • Tango
  • British Gas
  • Holmes Place
  • trail: Fridays from 9 on Four
  • trail: Jo Whiley
  • Teacher Training Agency
  • Walker’s Crisps
  • Evian
  • Renault Scenic
  • Jus-Rol
  • Bud Ice
  • Advil
  • trail: Now we are 1
  • Diet Coke
  • Time Out
  • Ford Escort
  • Kotex
  • McDonalds
  • trail: Late Lunch
  • trail: Jo Whiley
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • Lilt
  • Bird’s Eye Hungry Joes
  • Labatt Ice
  • Burger King
  • Army
  • McDonalds
  • Gillette Anti-Perspirant
  • Schwarzkopf Country Colors
  • Sunday Times
  • TV Travel Shop
  • Felix
  • trail: Bugs
  • trail: Wodehouse Playhouse
  • Archers
  • Snickers
  • Walker’s Crisps
  • Tango
  • Paramount Channel
  • Ariel
  • Pantene
  • Sunday Mirror
  • Labatt Ice
  • trail: The House of Eliot
  • C&A
  • Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
  • Oasis
  • Scream on video
  • L’Oreal Plenitude Futur.e
  • Pampers
  • Indesit
  • PAL
  • C&A
  • trail: Minder
  • trail: The Comedy Alternative
  • Labatt Ice
  • Fairy Non Bio
  • Adjustamatic Beds
  • B&Q
  • trail: Pride and Prejudice


  1. Glad to see someone is of like mind regarding The Young Ones. I was too young to see any of Mayall and Edmondson’s 80s stuff first time around, though I’ve seen parts of the Dangerous Brothers since, and it seems as though the cream rose to the top in the guise of The Young Ones and Bottom.

    I have always found Bottom to be pretty consistent throughout the three seasons (I don’t feel nearly so charitable towards the live shows, however), though if I had to pick a single episode with which to introduce the show to someone, I’d go with the opener to the third season, the one set atop a ferris wheel. I don’t think it could be improved upon. ‘Digger’ (the opener to season two) is also excellent, and ‘Gas’ is a scream, with Brian Glover on top form and Mark Lambert, who I have never seen in anything since but who does excellently, as the gas man. One moment in particular always has me in stitches: Glover finds his kitchen on fire, and runs for the front door:

    ‘Help! Help! Somebody phone the Gas Board!’

    As he reaches the door, the bell coincidentally rings, and Lambert stands on the step: ‘Hello, I’m form the Gas Board – ‘

    Glover (yanking him through the door): Blimey, that was quick!

    The four events – the doorbell ringing, Glover opening the door, Lambert’s line, and Glover’s response and action – crowd in on each other perfectly, and the audience are rolling about.

    I suppose I can sympathise with losing interest in it. The final season is the weakest of the three, and there is a definite sense of the pair running out of things to do with the characters. There are two misfires – ‘Terror’ suffers from bad plotting, and the final episode, ‘Carnival’, which feels like a succession of set-pieces. Overall, though, even that season is pretty good. I suppose I’m biased.

    Some time ago I came to the conclusion that Bottom is actually a farce. There’s a lot of that sort of ‘the worst possible thing happens at the worst possible moment’ about it, and when you get rid of the toilet humour and the slapstick and strip it down to the plotting, much of it is really clinical.

  2. Hugh Hefner always wears his dressing gown, no matter what the occasion. It’s his “thing”. Hope it’s not the same dressing gown, though.

    When Rik Mayall died, I watched Mr Jolly Lives Next Door as a tribute, and found it hilarious. Rik and Ade were such a great double act. I even like Guest House Paradiso.

  3. I see from the news that Hugh Hefner has died. This was published three weeks ago, and Hefner isn’t someone who pops up very much on the blog, so I guess I can’t dodge some of the responsibility. The blog’s Death Watch continues.

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