A TV version of the Cambridge Footlights Revue "The Cellar Tapes", winner of the first-ever Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1981.

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A TV version of the Cambridge Footlights Revue "The Cellar Tapes", winner of the first-ever Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1981.

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20 May 1982 (UK)  »

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Emma Thompson's TV debut. See more »

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Featured in The Comedy Vaults: BBC2's Hidden Treasure (2014) See more »

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An amazing showcase of young British talent
12 September 2007 | by (Cardiff, Wales) – See all my reviews

I was lucky enough to have owned a video recorder when the Revue was first aired on British TV in 1982. I frequently replayed the tape over the following years, up until the time it was eventually erased; ...probably to make room for something inferior.

My given name is Steven Fry, so I've always taken an extra interest in the young man who shares my name. (Albeit he spells his first name differently). I remember that he used to pop up regularly on University Challenge, representing Cambridge. There was no doubt Stephen Fry was clever …very clever. It's therefore no surprise either, to note that he dominates this Revue with his presence.

Three things stand out for me, mainly because of the way they tend to anticipate the future-lives of the actors concerned. 1. Emma Thompson's'Award winning diva' sketch, which was to become an uncanny rehearsal for her eventual Oscar acceptance speech some eleven years later in Hollywood. 2. Tony Slattery's song: 'I'm going to shoot somebody famous'. Perhaps giving an insight into the demons that plagued him later in his life. He was actually interviewed by Fry in 2007, as part of the latter's TV series on people suffering from Bi-polar depression. (The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive). A condition Slattery shares with Fry himself. 3. The interaction and comedic personalities of Fry and Laurie. The bedrocks of which were already well-formed. Laurie, with his bumbling, bug-eyed, puppy stare, and Fry, with his intense appreciation of the sounds and uses of words and his obvious love of knowledge itself.

Fry, Laurie and Thompson all found great fame later in their careers, while Slattery and Shearer never quite lived up to their potential. Penny Dwyer, having decided that showbiz was not for her, became a metallurgist instead. Unfortunately she died in 2003.

I'm hopeful that this show will one day become a classic. It's full of bright, early-80s sketches and decent songs, all performed by a talented, highly-intelligent cast who had the world at their feet.


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