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Totally inspired, The Day Today is a superb mix of satire and surrealism
which launched the television careers of about a dozen comedy personalities-
Chris Morris, Steve Coogan, Doon Mackichan, Armando Ianucci, Peter Baynham,
Patrick Marber, Rebecca Front, David Schneider, the list goes on. The
breakneck pacing ensured a collection of brilliant news segments every
episode- the riff on reality TV shows, highlights of a bizarre train siege
during which commuters reverted to tribal behaviour- alongside a series of
regular features such as Mackichan's clearly deranged business analyst
Collaterlie Sisters, news reports on The Bureau, a sitcom set in "a high
class bureau-de-change", and the inept sports reporting of Alan Partridge.
My favourite sketch was a super incisive take-off of excessive MTV style
reporting 'for the kids' involving an interview with "controversial rapper
Fur Q" (Morris), whose lyrics actually ran "cop, bitch, cop bitch
m****rf****r" and whose stage act included the immolation and gunning down
of audience members. A cultural analyst (Morris again) then informed us that
the situation had been blown out of proportion- "these slayings were
obviously ironic". Hilarious.
It's a shame that the general press and many so-called liberals were so quick to condemn the nigh on genius of Chris Morris when he produced the infamous 'paedo' edition of BrassEye, a show which parodied the kneejerk responses it created. It's main problem was not depravity but that it wasn't as funny and cutting as it could have been.
One more thing- I really don't think saying that "Americans won't get" something is valid just because the something involves satire and sarcasm. Sure, British humour may be famed for such qualities but I think 'getting it' relies more on people being smart and the truth is that people are quite stupid everywhere. That's why Big Brother and Full House exist.
5 bomb dogs and a scared police handler out of 5
This show is free from all the smut and unimaginative garbage that we
witness on so many farcical comedies. It uses extreme measures of sarcasm to
portray a mock news programme to hilarious effect. It is admittedly quite
dark and synical at times, but are we not from time to time too?
Switch off Friends, its rubbish, the storyline's are degenerate and unimaginative, the characters stupid and the sets are cheap.
Instead watch intellectual satire at its finest.
The headlines tonight: NATO annulled after delegate swallows treaty,
car drives by window in town and Leicester man wins right to eat
sister. Those are the headlines! Now fact me till I fart!
I was 13 when this life-changing show came on TV. Reaching a small audience on BBC2 at night, The Day Today was a parody of the distinctly British way of News programming, exaggerating all the usual idiosyncrasies and formalities. My granddad made me suffer the News every night when I was a kid so I really got the sense of humor that this show layed on so thickly.
Chris Morris is your utterly, utterly deadpan Anchorman delivering lines like '"I'm so sorry", yells exploding cleaner' to perfection. Alan Partridge (my first introduction to this popular character) is the sports presenter who hasn't a clue how to commentate or appeal to his audience, Peter O'Hanarha-hanrahan is the dunderhead foreign correspondent, Colaterie Sisters does the business news and Valerie Sinatra takes care of the roads in The Day Today Travel Tower a mile above the centre of London. There's also Sylvester Stewart doing the weather but explaining it with cryptic double-meanings that no one could ever figure out. Example 'Thunder and lightning about the volume of a Thin Lizzie concert.' Crazy one-off reporters such as Jonathan Sizz, Eugene Fraxby, Donnald Beth'le'Hem, Harfynn Teuport and Suzanna Geckaloyce are all equally as good despite their small amount of air time.
But the best of them all, without a doubt, is the hard-as-fock, the man without fear, the terrifyingly important mean machine Ted Maul. Always sent out to scope the most dangerous stories (such as a commuter train full of businessmen who have turned into barbarians because of track delays), Ted demands you pay attention and scares you into accepting the facts with his frighteningly authoritative voice. He's just so great, I cannot describe.
There was also several stories by American reporter Barbera Wintergreen with her horribly blown-out NTSC color. Barbera mostly reported on the many, many deaths of American serial killer Chapman Baxter, who always got the chair but actually died on it in various different ways (an electric toilet, while stuffing himself with cheeseburgers).
Without a single duff story, The Day Today is infinitely funny and endlessly quotable. Back in 1994, we never had MP3 players or sound-clips on the internet, so I actually made mix tapes of all the best bits (really hard to choose) and memorised practically every episode from beginning to end. To this Day (today) I still remember it all. Why haven't I bought the DVD yet? And remember, fact times importance equals NEWS!
The first time I sat down to watch The day today,it was by accident as I was
looking for the news... I got the news but with a hysterical slant on this
country with it! I continued to watch every week and enjoyed it more each
week. (Although I didn't think it would be possible) Chris Morris' mix of
news and complete jiberish has you not only laughing wildly but also
wondering if you will come out of the other end of this episode with your
sanity in tact... then enters spoof sports presenter Alan Partridge, just
like every sports news presenter he appears to know about as much about
sport as a bunch of grapes in a bag, but still gives an incredibly
enthusistic report on Luton, um... "Hitting a goal!" At this point you KNOW
that your sanity will at least be dented! Along with spoofs of green
reports, an in-studio philosopher +even a "Day today exclusive war" you
learn nothing about day to day news, (although you don't from most other
news shows either!) but you do realise how odd the things are that make you
The only criticism I could possibly have of this great programme is it's one season running time. It was a loss to british comedy.
..and no, I'm not exaggerating. From Chris Morris' self-important tone
of voice, to Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge, to illegal backstreet
dentists, to Peter O'Hanererhanerohan, to The Bureau.. this show is a
non-stop roller-coaster of insane ideas presented as reality, and has
to be the best satire of news media ever done (possibly topped by Brass
Eye). My favourite has to be Steve Coogan's road safety advert, 'well
do I look cool? Do I really look cool? WELL DO I??'
It's a combination of performers who subsequently went on to do other brilliant stuff, but all of them combined is quite something.
Put simply, if you haven't seen this show, YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS.
The day today was recently repeated on the British cable/satellite channel UKG2. I didn't manage to see the programme before, but I am a fan of Chris Morris and had been awaiting this repeat for some time. I thought it was brilliant and I think the BBC should have repeated it, as they were the network that originally screened the show. The absurdity of some of the "reports" was fantastic. The ideas of a soap opera being set in a bureau de change or the war correspondent kicking the door down of a house, shooting a woman and setting up broadcasting equipment was so surreal, it made it obviously not a real news report. The closest things to reality were the graphics and Chris Morris' portrayal of the newsreader [the graphics only were if you ignored the voiceovers of stupid phrases and the newsreader only if you ignored the madness of the news stories.]It was excellently written with a near-perfect cast and it even spawned a major character, Alan Partridge [whose segments were not that funny in my opinion.] Going back to previously, most of the acting was realistic, the things the actors were depicting wasn't.
Although similar to Brass Eye, the difference with The Day Today was
that it wasn't meant to be taken real, rather it was a satire of news
shows and, I may say, a rather brilliant satire at that. It is rare
(and not something I like) that I disagree with prolific reviewer Theo
Robertson but on this title the only thing I agree with was the
sentiment that he "don't get it". To me The Day Today (along with Brass
Eye) captures Chris Morris at his best and sharpest, with sterling work
from satire master Armando Iannucci. Together they have produced an
exaggerated news show that has enough in common with reality to be
recognisable, is exaggerated enough to be hilarious but yet again
doesn't seem a million miles from the truth. The fact that the rolling
news coverage is starting to get closer and closer to being just like
The Day Today just shows how bang on it was and just how acutely the
writers saw the direction that television news coverage was taking.
This can be seen most obviously in the things like the silly computer graphics, the simplification of the story, the forced interplay between presenters, pointless contributions from the public, the crazy weather forecasts and the tired clichés of the sports presenter but it is also in pretty much every part of the show. Those expecting consistent belly laughs might be disappointed because, although they are present, the main joy is the consistent invention and the regular hitting of ripe targets. Morris would also make good targets of the media with Brass Eye but he is just as good in other regards here, linking his weird sense of humour with a firm structure (something that was lacking in, say, Jam).
The different elements of the show all work together. Coogan's Partridge is so on-target that he struggled to completely get out of the shadow of his character for many years. He does great with the sports clichés and produces some very funny moments. Front is well suited to the material and looks well in the part of serious but "warm at the flick of the switch" like so many female news presenters. Schneider is helped by his funny looks and he produces the goods here as he regularly does. Marber is less memorable but his scenes with Morris are funny.
Overall this is a very funny satire on news shows that hit the mark then and, to the shame of news shows, is more on target than ever. Within the show's structure, Morris' sense of humour is controlled and is better for it as the show is both recognisable but yet also exaggerated and hilarious. Easily stands alongside Brass Eye as a fantastic piece of satire.
The Day Today was perhaps the best comedy programme ever invented. Chris Morris is the best News Reader ever. The rest of the cast react spectacularly to each other, and the news stories are just brilliant. "Sacked Chimney Sweep pumps boss full of mayonnaise" was just one such headline. Peter O'Hanrahanrahanrahan and Chris Morris are a great comedy pairing, and their battles still make me laugh out loud after hundreds of viewings. I cannot believe it took so long for this to be released on DVD. >From the first headline to the days papers, the show is pure, undiluted comedy. And the "War" episode is hilarious. I don't want to spoil it, but believe me, it is excellent, especially after hearing the news commentary during the recent Gulf War. It is so similar, it is uncanny. And all this from a simple comedy series! Chris Morris, Armando Ianucci, take a bow.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Searing satirical attack on television news, this is both hilarious and
terrifying in equal measure.
The comedy comes through the grotesque parodies of various styles of news broadcasting, from straight headline news, sports news and on to the opposite extreme of entertainment news, MTV style. The horror comes from the realisation that this is only a step or two from reality.
Chris Morris is in most, if not all of the sequences, as a bewildering array of caricatures, ably assisted by usual associate Steve Coogan (Knowing Me Knowing You, I'm Alan Partridge) in an early outing for his iconic Alan Partridge character.
This is one of those TV shows that actually manages to change the way you think. Once you've seen this, you'll never watch the news in the same light again. It was also responsible for a huge amount of complaints to the BBC from viewers who somehow managed to believe that it was the real news! Seriously, people that dumb should be sterilised.
Vicious and barbed, this is a must watch for all.
Watching I.T.N. nowadays one can't help but be reminded of 'The Day Today'. Smug, patronising presenters, gaudy sets, cheesy links, gimmicky presentation, an unmistakable political bias, all were hilariously parodied by Armando Ianucci and Chris Morris over a decade ago. Morris himself is superb as the anchorman, the rest of the cast are fine too, particularly the underrated Rebecca Front. But it was Steve Coogan's verbally constipated sports commentator 'Alan Partridge' who caught the public's imagination, going onto to appear in no less than two spin-offs. The bombastic theme music and flashy graphics of 'Today' added greatly to its humour. My favourite sketch featured a convicted American killer wanting to die like his idol Elvis Presley - by gorging himself on hamburgers. It is to the credit of Ianucci and Morris that they didn't milk the concept for all it was worth - 'The Day Today' ended after only one season. Luckily for us, Morris had another great show up his sleeve - 'Brass Eye'.
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