Although WHO DARES WINS got off to a slow start and was unanimously panned by the critics from the beginning, the powers that be at Channel Four were wise enough to let the series develop its own style and attract a solid fanbase, with the result that when the programme finally hit its stride in the mid-eighties, it stopped being an uncertain NOT THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS-type ragbag and matured into a lean, mean, brutally funny sketch show, laced with extraordinary (for its time) bad taste, callous satire, memorable musical numbers, parodies and neat tricks at the expense of television presentation. In its own way, it was every bit as irreverent and edgy as Monty Python.
Memorable moments include the opening titles with the rotten curry and the dead tramp (and sometimes a severed head in a fetid fridge), the staggeringly bleak 'pest control' sketch in which an overzealous team eradicate a man's neighbours, pets and family, the outrageously xenophobic foreign affairs minister, the extended Colditz parody, The Day Of The Yuccas (a tight, hysterical parody on The Day Of The Triffids), the couple conducting an increasingly violent fight during the shipping forecast, 'That's What Being British Means', and a very eighties take on the Virgin Birth. And who can forget the two pandas?
For some reason, all the cast members went on to appear in stacks of dreadful sitcoms, cheap TV quiz shows and rubbish children's programmes. They deserved better.
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