Arkwright is a tight-fisted shop owner in Doncaster, who will stop at nothing to keep his profits high and his overheads low, even if this means harassing his nephew Granville. Arkwright's ... See full summary »
Comic goings on in this series set in an English holiday camp called Maplins. The title comes from the camp's greeting, which the staff are meant to say with enthusiasm but all too often ... See full summary »
The Liverpool-based Boswell family are experts at exploiting the system to get by in life. Despite the fact that none of the Boswells are officially employed, they manage to live a fairly ... See full summary »
George and Mildred Roper are forced to leave their home in South Kensington (as the landlords in Man About the House (1973)) when they receive a compulsory purchase order from the council. ... See full summary »
'The Fly' sketch parodies the 1986 film of the same name starring Jeff Goldblum. In the sketch, Norman Pace is seen going into one Telepod and is teleported into the other, and he comes out as a zipper. The word 'zipper' is the common way the British refer to a 'fly' (as in the trousers opening mechanism). See more »
Gareth Hale and Norman Pace rose to prominence through stage, radio and TV appearances in the 80s, mostly via their characterisation of The Two Rons; two east-end bouncers who took their jobs a bit too seriously and often referred to themselves as "the management". The Two Rons were extremely dimwitted, incredibly violent and screamingly funny characters who found great favour with the public. After C4 gave Hale and Pace a Christmas special in 86 and The Rons themselves a low key sitcom in 88, ITV saw fit to give Hale and Pace their own sketch show. The duo rewarded the channel's faith in them handsomely, winning the Golden Rose of Montreaux within a year and earning the channel solid ratings many a Sunday night for a decade.
Along with the Two Rons other characters the duo brought to life in their early years included the risqué children's presenters Billy and Johnny, bitchy fashion experts Jeffrey and Jeffrey, and burnt out hippies Jed and Dave, a cheerful and affectionately observed pair of characters whom Gareth Hale cited as his favourites. In later years Gareth and Norman adapted to a changing comedy climate shaped partly by Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson by adding a greater roster of recurring characters, the most enduring of which were brash but friendly cabbies Frank and Steve ("a large portion, yes!") and Curly and Nige, a pair of deliberately old fashioned comic characters redolent of comedy troupes like The Three Stooges, with a propensity for violence which gave Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson a run for their money.
Yet HALE & PACE is perhaps more notable for being possibly the last in a line of sketch shows modelled most closely after NOT THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS, focusing less on repeated characters and more on one-off sketches and "quickies" based around whatever caught the actors and writers' fancies that week. Hale and Pace proved themselves willing to take on a variety of subjects, both as writers and performers. While they generally took the direct route to the funny-bone, Hale and Pace also occasionally proved themselves quite adept at pathos, with a parody of GOODBYE MR. CHIPS being particularly moving.
As another reviewer noted Hale and Pace also showed considerably musical talent in the series; whereas for many sketch shows the obligatory musical numbers often seemed a chore, on HALE & PACE they were often the highlight. Hale and Pace revealed themselves to be pretty good singers and songwriters, both in their parodies of artists like Chris Rea and R.E.M. and in their original compositions like "The Days of Black and White" (another fine example of their pathos).
Hale and Pace divided opinion from their first episode when they microwaved a cat, and frequently came in for criticism, particularly in their later series. Alexi Sayle and Victor Lewis Smith were among their most prominent critics. After their disastrous 1999 BBC game show, H&P@BBC, some people began to wonder if they had ever deserved their fame in the first place. Hale and Pace were far from perfect; a tendency towards laziness revealed itself fairly early on, and the in the last two series they did seem a little low on ideas. But while the criticism may have had merit, Hale and Pace were still two frequently hilarious, exceptionally talented performers, who had a natural chemistry which is perhaps unrivalled in recent UK comedy history. Indeed it is the sketches in which they played fictionalised versions of themselves sharing a London flat which perhaps stick out as the most enjoyable material.
Ultimately for many of us Hale and Pace often seemed to have a "direct line to our funny bone", and their sketches gave them a dedicated following not only in the UK, but all over the world, particularly in Czechoslovakia, Finland and Australia. Indeed, they proved more popular in the later country than their homeland, continuing to perform sell-out tours there. Best of all Australia released their complete TV series on DVD, well worth importing for all those enthusiastic enough. Overall, for all the bad sketches they may or may not have made, Hale and Pace made a unique contribution to British comedy that deserves to be treasured.
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