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13 May 2013 (UK)  »

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Routine Trot Through Some Familiar Programs
28 December 2014 | by (London) – See all my reviews

This is a good example of a disingenuous program. David Frost, himself the presenter of one of television's epoch-making sketch shows (THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS) leads us on a leisurely journey through a history of the genre since the mid-Sixties, pausing only to receive congratulations on his contribution from luminaries such as Stephen Fry and Ronnie Corbett.

The effect of the program is rather a strange one, almost as if Frost (who produced it through his company David Paradine Productions) had to make it to confirm to himself his place as one of the movers and shakers of British television history. He had no real need to do so; TW3 and THE FROST REPORT were so good that they can still stand the test of time, even though the satirical butts might be unknown these days.

Nonetheless, it was pleasant to see reruns of famous sketch shows such as THE TWO RONNIES, NOT THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS, THE CATHERINE TATE SHOW and THE FAST SHOW, even though some of the other epoch- making programs

  • MONTY PYTHON in particular - were notably absent (even though they
were extensively discussed, there were few clips shown).

With the help of luminaries such as Michael Palin, Richard Curtis, Corbett, Tate, Frost enjoyed telling the story. However it was an incomplete one - where was GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME or WATSON AND OLIVER? The program suggested that the genre had lost popularity somewhat; the existence of the last-named of these programs (a second series of which appeared in 2012-13), would seem to undermine that conclusion.


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