2 items from 2013
Thatcher left an indelible impression on the comedy landscape, still felt today – sometimes in the strangest of ways
Say what you like about Margaret Thatcher (and many people have, these last few days), but she gave comedians something to get their teeth into. In 1979, within weeks of the new Pm moving into Downing Street, the Comedy Store opened its doors in Meard Street in nearby Soho. Or maybe it wasn't so coincidental. Change was in the air, particularly when Britain plunged rapidly into a deep economic recession. Tougher times called for tougher punchlines.
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Comedy after 1979 found a new edge, inspired by both anger at the brutality of the Pm's divisive rightwing policies and also the two-fingered irreverence of punk rock. Alexei Sayle symbolised the rage of alternative comedy, bouncing up and down in his too-tight suit: "People say at least you knew where you were with Margaret Thatcher. »
- Bruce Dessau, Alexei Sayle
Frankie Boyle may make BBC comeback
Those who detest BBC1's raucous comedy Mrs Brown's Boys are going to be disappointed: Shane Allen, the new BBC controller of comedy commissioning, loves the show that has puzzled some critics but averaged nearly 10 million viewers for its latest series and won last year's Bafta award for best sitcom.
"Before Mrs Brown's Boys there was this self-appointed cabal saying what was cool and what was great," says Allen, in his first interview since moving to the BBC from Channel 4 (where "anything that got over a million was decent"). "It was a game-changer. I think sometimes people in TV land make TV for people in TV land, and Mrs Brown's Boys is a perfect example of how to serve an audience. »
- Ben Dowell
2 items from 2013
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