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"Drop the Dead Donkey"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Drop the Dead Donkey" More at IMDbPro »

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

I hope they don't really make the news this way

Author: hgallon from Derbyshire, UK
9 December 1999

"Drop the Dead Donkey" ran in six series from 1990 to 1996. The bulk of the humour deals with then-topical British news, so the program doesn't really travel well, or last more than a week (a long time in politics). Best of all the episodes released on video was the award-winning "The Christmas Party", which had hardly any up-to-date content.

The central characters are all exaggerated caricatures of office and media stereotypes. Robert Duncan was good as jargon-spouting executive Gus Hedges, and Jeff Rawle as ineffectual editor George Dent. Haydn Gwynne played the cool, competent editor with a messy private life almost too well, so that the lighter Ingrid Lacey didn't have the same impact when she later filled the same role.

Stephen Tompkinson's acting was probably the best although he was mainly used for the slapstick scenes. (Listen for the inimitable voice of Andy Hamilton playing luckless cameraman Jerry, screaming "Damien!!!" as Tompkinson's suicidally reckless reporter leads them into imminent danger, in almost every episode.)

Susannah Doyle was a good "PA from Hell", but Sara Stewart's portrayal of a vapid blonde in the same slot in series 1 was also a delight.

David Swift's portrayal of a vain newsreader must have been uncomfortably close to some real life newsreaders, with his booming delivery, ruined liver, and his obvious "syrup of figs".

The series may have been killed off, but some of its highlights deserve to be remembered for a long time. Well done everybody, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin in particular.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

An all time classic

Author: moviebuff74 from United States
31 December 2007

As an Irish observer, this comedy has to be one of the high points of 1990's comedy.

While the main talking point of the series initially was it's topicality (being written and filmed in the week before filming so as to include observations and jokes about breaking news stories), later series were far less dependent on the topicality angle and more on funny honest and sharp character development.

It was immeasurably superior both to other office based comedy (viz the overrated IMHO "office") and to the likes of other newsroom comedies viz Murphy Brown. DTDD's humour was sharp acidic and right on the money. No-one was spared it's barbs.

On reruns and DVD releases a brief voice-over identifies the week each particular episode was shown and what the major stories breaking that week were.

More interestingly a lot of what was clearly the target of DTDD's humour (the dumbing down and tabloidisation of news reporting promoted by TV newstations) are even more in evidence today 10-15 years later as witnessed by the likes of FOX News and Sky News I wonder who Sir Royten Merchant was really based on....

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Occasionally dated, but constantly funny. Beautifully written

Author: TheNorthernMonkee from Manchester
1 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS Every day, newsrooms from across the world write and screen stories of the events of our planet. Every person in that room, from the Editor who checks stories and decides on running order, right down to the intern who makes the tea, all are important and crucial for a successful edition. In 1990, this journalistic world of contemporaneous humour and alcoholic drinking binges was brought to life in a comedy by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkins. Telling the story of the fictional Globelink News, "Drop the Dead Donkey" became a long running sitcom of astronomical standards. With a large cast of faces who have since mostly become incredibly famous, the series never lost it's cutting edge and was loved and hated by politicians and celebrities alike. It was a beautifully written comedy diamond, and the fact it's DVD release has only occurred eight years after the final episode is a disgrace.

When Globelink News is taken over by the overwhelming force of Sir Royston Merchant, editor and chief George Dent (Jeff Rawle) and his staff find their lives changing. Now being observed by the irritating Gus Hedges (Robert Duncan) they find themselves constantly at odds with their owner who's news morality is flexible and often easily bought. Life for the staff of Globelink News has taken a change for the worse.

Led from the front by magnificent performances by Stephen Tompkinson, Neil Pearson, Jeff Rawle, Susannah Doyle (2nd season through to conclusion) and others, "Drop the Dead Donkey" was a pleasure to watch throughout. Constantly witty and sharp tongued, it never lost it's edge and would help to bury many a politicians career. MPs throughout the country either loved it or hated it. The more they hated it, the more writers Hamilton and Jenkins were happy.

Perhaps the biggest irony about "Drop the Dead Donkey" is the claim that it is dated. Whilst it is true in regards to key issues it has not aged that well, the world today is not really that different to the year the series was debuted. Debuting in 1990, the series was shown at a time when America and Britain were fighting in Iraq, when a Bush was in the White House, a fool ran the British Cabinet and the English football team dreamt of glory (ok, that's a piece of news that is always true). Not the shows fault as much as a coincidental part of life, this striking similarities between times is as much frighting as it is amusing.

Brilliantly written, with an excellent cast, "Drop the Dead Donkey" gave us some magical moments and some equally magical characters. The series might have aged over the years, but it is still as funny today as it was back then. It is a joy to watch, and the delay on it's DVD release is a travesty. A must watch.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

WKRP meets Murphy Brown with a British twist.

Author: Pammit ( from Wichita Falls, Tx
27 August 1999

During my 2 year stay in the UK, I grew addicted to this show. To a newcomer, the satirical bite to this show gave me the "real" feel of how the dry news of the day was perceived by the public. The writing was great and was brought to life by a brilliant cast! I was elated when I found this show was to be shown on Comedy Central in the US, but it took one viewing to realize that without the daily access to the british news, this show was lost here. Too bad! It was extremely funny! BTW, can someone please tell me what happened to that poor chap, Jerry the camera man?

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"I'm Not Here!"

Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
24 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Channel 4's 'Drop The Dead Donkey' was a classic sitcom set in an office that managed to be funny without any assistance whatever from Ricky Gervais. It centred around the day-to-day goings on at 'GlobeLink', a television news station owned by the mysterious Sir Roysten Merchent. Staff fears that the news will be dumbed down are confirmed when Sir Royston hires as its new anchorwoman the pretty but vacuous Sally Smedley. Immediately she clashes with veteran anchorman Henry Davenport, who calls her "Tightarse". Then there's the appalling Gus Hedges, fluent in two languages - English and rubbish. "Let me drop some descaler into your think-tank." is one of his many favourite sayings. And Joy Merryweather, a woman so bad-tempered as to be borderline psychotic. The show won plaudits at the time for being recorded close to transmission, so as to enable the writers to be topical in their humour. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the show now looking dated.

'Drop' had the good fortune to be running during the dark days of the last Conservative administration, when John Major was in Downing Strret. The endless procession of political mistakes, cash and sex scandals were a godsend to Hamilton and Jenkin. One episode cast Stephen Moore as a thinly-disguised Steve Norris. However, the final series went out after Tony Blair's 1997 election win, and came across as strangely muted. 'GlobeLink' was finally closed down to make way for a home shopping channel. A mercy killing.

'Drop' was immeasurably funnier than 'The Office', and why it is not as well regarded is a mystery.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Dated Newsroom sitcom but still very funny

Author: Sulla-2 from United Kingdom
27 July 2005

It is only dated because each episode tried very hard to include topical and amusing news items. All of the main characters are distinctive. George, the editor, is conscientious but seems totally out of place in the newsroom environment as he is a bit of a fragile eccentric. His boss Gus, a bit of a sad bachelor, is the king of Politically correct sound bites. Dave, who's job is a bit obscure, is the office 'stud' as well as being a chronic gambler. Henry, the aged newsreader, has clearly seen better days but is still convinced he is up to competing with Dave. The other newsreader, Sally, has a sex life which is mainly in Lorry parks and service stations. Joy,the officer gofer, is not a girl to be messed with and takes no prisoners. Damian, the young fearless reporter is totally obsessed with fame and has no regards for the feelings of others, particularly his on location staff. Helen, a lesbian, replaced Alex early on as Gerorges No 2. There is a bit of slapstick but the humour, which comes thick and fast, is mainly verbal.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Utterly priceless, from the top drawer of British Comedy

Author: Sjhm from United Kingdom
17 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The only reason that some people might perceive this as dated, is that it used topical news as part of the programme. It shows up today's politicians as the same old slippery critters they were in the early 90s. Part of the joy of this series, was the incidental personal comedy. Gus sitting in his burnt out office, refusing to accept that Sir Royston Merchant had had the place torched as an insurance job, George's depressive monologues about his family problems and health issues, Alex trying to point out to her mother that due to the fuel crisis, filling the garden pond with petrol might be a bad idea, Sally's Norse Warrior, Dave and Damien, essentially little boys who won't grow up, Joy's wrathful young amazon (Girl Power, long before the silly pop group espoused the idea), Helen trying to maintain calm and function in an increasingly difficult atmosphere as the station crumbles around her. This programme stands up today, because despite the politics being fifteen years old, it is still fresh and resonates with office workers in the stressed out Noughties.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

neil pearson - veeeery nice

Author: shortypants from the mighty mighty ENGLAND
8 June 2001

i have been watching the re-runs of drop the dead donkey on cable and had forgotten just how good it was. it is based in globelink newsroom and recent (usually political) events are incorporated into it each weeks episode. in short, all the characters are played very well and are extremely funny. i would like to add that neil pearson, who plays the devilishly handsome dave charnley, is a highlight each episode and is definately one to stare at. oh sorry i have digressed. anyway i have little else to say really apart from this was a very funny program and anyone who gets the chance should watch it. pure class.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I can't believe that 25 years on it's still so good

Author: alanpuzey from london
17 March 2015

Being an ex-pat, the growing interest in downloading and viewing whole TV series has given me many hours of entertainment. I used to watch Drop the Dead Donkey live in the 1990s and liked it then, but re-watching it now, in 2015, I'm finding it pretty hilarious and it's now my daily accompaniment to breakfast, and the occasional episode when I simply want a laugh. The fact that the news items referred to are ancient now, doesn't matter one bit - the way that they are handled in DTDD are so funny because I think that news channels now are pathetic in their handling of the news, and they all appear to be run on the lines of Global News. Really!

The series is rich with really excellent journalist stereotypes, much mentioned in the other reviews here, so not needed to be repeated by me. I don't know where I will turn to when I finish all the series I have.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Pity Sir Royston

Author: Scotti_de_Radeclyf from Tulsa, Oklahoma
16 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An extremely magnificent newsroom comedy featuring a terrific ensemble cast brought together long before David Brent was in charge of "the Office" (2001) came long. As poor deluded Gus has to preside over a motley crew of colleagues made great (I think) by Sally's shallowness, Joy's cynicism, and Henry's crusty old-fashioned attitudes. The brainchild of comedy writers Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkins, the series was created at a time when Margaret Thatcher was on her way out as the Prime Minister, and John Major (the Grey Man) was on his way in. As the time was right for launching a topical newsroom satire series which is why the episodes might appear as being dated since the scripts were always written at the last minute to include bits of real news stories.

All in all … a fantastic caper of good fun making light of those in the news, picking up several comedy awards in the process. One series that we are much better off for having.

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