Harry & Paul. Image shows from L to R: Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse. Image credit: Tiger Aspect Productions.

Harry & Paul

Comedy starring sketch show veterans Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse as a variety of characters

Ruddy Hell! It's Harry & Paul
Sketch Show
2007 - 2012  (BBC Two / BBC One)
24 (4 series)
Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse, Laura Solon, Morwenna Banks, Sophie Winkleman, Simon Day, Catherine Shepherd, Kevin Eldon, Justin Edwards, Alice Lowe, Andrew Brooke & more
Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse, Ali Crockatt, David Scott, Brendan O'Casey, Robert Popper, David Cummings, Derren Litten, Morwenna Banks, George Jeffrie, Bert Tyler-Moore
Tiger Aspect Productions

Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse present a wide range characters in their sketch show series.

Recurring characters include Nelson Mandela; stuck up shop owner 'I Saw You Coming'; posh builders Darren and Kev; consultant surgeons Charles and Sheridan; and Pik The South African.

Series 3 featured plenty of new characters alongside old favourites such as Dragons' Den, Café Polski, The Chocolatier, The Writer and The Landlady and more.

Other characters included The Benefits, a south London dysfunctional family who create havoc wherever they go; Gabbatore, a corrupt Italian politician and his straight-faced translator; Gerald, the Forties drunkard who gets into homicidal scrapes; Mike Noughts, who might or might not be a top modelling agent; and Parking Pataweyo, everyone's favourite parking warden, and the ageing Silver-Haired Beatles.

Our Review: The first series - Ruddy Hell! It's Harry & Paul - was, at best, somewhat of a mixed bag. There were a few great ideas and sketches sprinkled throughout, but the duo's protracted absence from the sketch genre showed.

However, the BBC showed faith in the duo and gave them another chance. This turned out to be a wise move. With the help of the late, great uber producer Geoffrey Perkins, Enfield and Whitehouse went away, ditched the less funny sketches and worked on improving the characters that did have potential. The result was that, when this show came back 17 months later (complete with a new title), it was a much, much sharper and more focused programme. In fact, we loved it!

A third series broadcast in 2010 was a slightly more mixed bag. It included some excellent sketches, but other ideas were distinctly ropier, and the joke in some of the older characters was worn not just thin, but completely away. This series also dropped the studio audience and laugh track that had been present in the first two runs - a change we're still not convinced of the merits of. Nevertheless, the series was on the whole an entertaining one, and the pair have been rewarded with a fourth outing.