Channel surfing late one night, I came across this retro show in which celebrities revealed their favourite television programmes and stated their reasons for liking them. A sort of 'Desert Island Discs' of the airwaves.
The idea's not new, of course. In the 90's, Emma Freud did a similar show on B.B.C.-2 daytime television. But the editions featuring Lenny Henry and the combined team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost caught my eye.
Having endured numerous patronising attempts to belittle archive T.V. ( including the Pegg-narrated 'The Week We Watched' ), I was a bit wary at first, but it soon became apparent that 'Perfect Night In' was not going to be another 'I Love The '70's'. You know the sort of thing - after a brief clip of 'Pennies From Heaven', some obscure comedian shouts 'what was all that about?', as though too thick to work it out for himself. Often these shows take the warped view that because a programme has dated, it no longer has any value. Precisely the attitude that led to many classic shows being wiped thirty years ago. Thankfully, 'Perfect Night In' is the antidote to this mindless approach.
I was pleased to see Pegg and Frost choosing 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit', 'The Box Of Delights', 'Morecambe & Wise', 'Animal Magic', 'Twin Peaks', 'Life On Earth', 'The Machinegunners', 'The Dick Emery Show' and even 'The Incredible Hulk'. Yes, they got some humour out of a few, but by and large treated them with respect.
Pegg is currently one of Britain's brightest comedy stars, and has referenced numerous old shows and films in his excellent Channel 4 series 'Spaced', so knows his stuff. I agree with him about the original 'Dawn Of The Dead' - its still terrifying after all these years ( and knocks spots off the remake ).
Lenny Henry chose 'Love Thy Neighbour' - very brave of him considering its near-leper like status nowadays. He said he understood what Vince Powell and Harry Driver were trying to do, namely ridicule racism. Unfortunately, he spoilt his comment by blaming the show for the racist language used by school kids at the time. Actually, Lenny, they were using it before the first episode went out. He also praised Mel Brooks' brilliant 'Blazing Saddles', despite it being chock-full of even more offensive language!
I have not seen the other shows in the series but will do so when they come round again. I wish I could get my very own edition of 'Perfect Night In' so as to shock the nation by showing 'Curry & Chips' and the Q6 sketch 'First Irish Rocket To The Moon' starring Spike Milligan!
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