Press Clippings

Here is a collection of the latest previews, reviews and articles related to British comedy which have been published by newspapers and blogs from around the world. Don't forget to look at our news section for the significant stories - these won't be repeated here.

This is mainly related to TV and radio. For stand-up etc see our live press page and Edinburgh Fringe press page.

The Monty Python star hasn't appeared in a TV drama role since GBH more than two decades ago but says he couldn't turn down the BBC's chilling new series.

Written by Neil Batey. The Sunday Mirror, 23rd November 2014

Starting on Sunday 7 December, Hilarity Bites The Week will be broadcast on Star Radio in County Durham and North Yorkshire at 9pm-10pm every Sunday night.

Written by Andrew Dipper. Giggle Beats, 22nd November 2014

Dad's Army

Original Dad's Army star Ian Lavender is making a cameo appearance in the new film.

Written by Ellie Walker-Arnott. The Radio Times, 22nd November 2014

Paul Sinha's History Revision

You may be wary of the current fashion for being prepared to tackle serious subjects only with the forceps of comedy but you will be eventually won over by Paul Sinha's History Revision (Wednesday, 6.30pm, Radio 4). The comedian and serial panellist takes as his text the popularity of football and carries his live audience back on a journey encompassing slavery, Brazil, the Pope and the treaty of Tordesillas of 1494.

David Hepworth, The Guardian, 22nd November 2014

Dad's Army

If you're wondering why almost none of this episode was recorded on video - even the interior scenes - a studio strike in 1973 meant it had to be shot on location with 16mm film. It's a needs-must approach that's appropriate to both the series and the episode. Because when the Home Guard takes an efficiency test, they need all their wits (ahem!) to overcome the bullying supervisor (Fulton Mackay in the same year he'd made his Porridge debut).

Anyone who's endured the nonsense of role-playing seminars at work will cheer Wilson's dismissive air, while the way Godfrey turns an anti-tank artillery piece into a chintzy armchair is a sight to behold.

Mark Braxton, The Radio Times, 22nd November 2014

Psychobitches

This is what a feminist TV show looks like. I think.

Written by Andrew Collins. The Guardian, 22nd November 2014

Professor Branestawm

Children should be encouraged to conduct explosive science experiments, free health and safety, the Young Bond novels writer and Fast Show creator Charlie Higson has argued. Harry Hill, who trained as a neurosurgeon and plays the Professor, said he hoped the drama, in which he defies an officious health and safety officer to demonstrate the excitement of madcap experiments to a young girl, will help boost interest in science among young people.

Written by Adam Sherwin. The Independent, 21st November 2014

Mock The Week

Jason Manford has said that he finds it baffling how offended people can get by jokes online and on TV, arguing that the best way to deal with people who decide to get offended is "ignore them".

Written by Alex Fletcher. Digital Spy, 21st November 2014

Hundreds of fans have bombarded the reviews section of the Amazon page of hi snew DVD, repeating the same line - "I had so much fun watching him live, I s**t my pants" - which is a reference to a joke in the show about his daughter.

Written by Alex Fletcher. Digital Spy, 21st November 2014

The Jonathan Ross Show

Jonathan Ross claims BBC Radio 2 wants him to work there again - six years after the Sachsgate scandal that saw him quit the BBC.

Written by Anthony Barnes. The Daily Mirror, 21st November 2014

He defined the modern comedy industry and broke records with his huge audiences. I suspect rumours of his retirement will prove greatly exaggerated.

Written by Stephanie Merritt. The Guardian, 21st November 2014

Live At The Apollo

All delivered the goods. I thought this was a particularly good showcase for Joe Lycett, who is pretty much a mainstream game show host-in-waiting.

Written by Bruce Dessau. Beyond The Joke, 21st November 2014

The trouble is that his observational humour that was actually quite pioneering back in the late eighties has become mainstream comedy currency. I'm not saying others do his schtick better, but the likes of Peter Kay, Michael McIntyre and Jason Manford all do it just as well. And if you really need someone to do the gags in a working class London accent there's always Micky Flanagan.

Written by Bruce Dessau. Beyond the Joke, 21st November 2014

Puppy Love

This is pretty smutty for a BBC Four comedy. Nana's grandson Eron and Naomi's daughter Jasmine have very quickly become an item. "You're like Ryan O'Neal and Ally McBeal", says Nana like a latterday hilda Ogden when she catches them in bed.

Written by Bruce Dessau. Beyond The Joke, 21st November 2014

Phoenix Nights

Phoenix Nights star Toby Foster has downplayed rumours of a full Phoenix Nights reunion, claiming that he hasn't heard anything from Peter Kay about the show returning.

Written by Alex Fletcher. Digital Spy, 21st November 2014

"Should this retirement be permanent, we have lost a real hero of comedy."

Written by Rob Gilroy. Giggle Beats, 21st November 2014

Pretty soon you could recognise your favourite Milton Keynes landmarks on the box! New comedy drama Weavers is written, filmed and set in the city and promises to be a belter.

Milton Keynes MKWeb, 21st November 2014

At some point in the early 1980's I got the idea of doing a documentary about a group of islands that don't exist. What a terrific idea, I thought, a story of a place. Not just the story of a few people, but whole peoples, different cultures, different ways of life. They would be called The Rutland Isles and they would be a parody of a travel documentary with weird animals. We would visit strange places and use real documentary footage. I wrote quite a lot of material and then did outlines of a visit to six of these different islands - Poluçion, Paranoia, Amnesia, Contracepçion, Revoluçion, and Liberaçion. Nobody was interested. Not agents, not friends, not people in the media, not even relatives. Not even my dog. It was weird. The reaction was nada. Zero. Zip.

Written by Eric Idle. Eric Idle's blog, 21st November 2014

Babylon

An interview with James Nesbitt about his role in Babylon.

Written by William Martin. Cult Box, 21st November 2014

The expressive, elastic, inimitable comedian is retiring. I wish he'd consider a Lenny Henry-style reinvention instead.

Written by Brian Logan. The Guardian, 21st November 2014

Monty Python's Life Of Brian

Monty Python's "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" has become the most popular tune to play at a UK funeral.

BBC News, 21st November 2014

Not Going Out

You're in for a real treat this week as Pointless hosts Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman hurl themselves into this sitcom playing themselves.

Daisy (Katy Wix) has been accepted as a contestant on the show and Lee uses nefarious means to convince both her and Lucy that he is some kind of quizzing superstar.

It's a glorious set-up as Daisy and Lee prepare to display their entire lack of general knowledge to the nation at large.

For once, it's not just Lee himself who hogs all the best lines. Wix as the clueless Daisy is absolutely terrific, whether she's trying to name an American president or blatantly stalking Osman on whom she has a massive schoolgirl crush.

As for Osman, playing yourself isn't as easy as you'd think, but he proves yet again that there's not much he can't turn his hand to - even if he does have to duck to get through the doorway to his own dressing-room.

It's an episode destined to become as enduring a comedy classic as The Young Ones' appearance on University Challenge.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 21st November 2014

Citizen Khan

Step onto the Citizen Khan shuttle and travel right back in time, stopping in the early 1970s when you could make a joke about "a dicky bow" on a TV sitcom and audiences would die laughing.

But Citizen Khan scoffs in the faces of chronology and fashion and yes, there it is, a joke about a dicky bow, as in "maybe I'll get my dicky bow out". "Steady on!" wails Mr Khan (Adil Ray) and we are back in the age of innocence. Do people even refer to "dicky bows" any more?

Never mind, Citizen Khan's world is a lost paradise of pratfalls and silly misunderstandings. Tonight he's involved in a daft scam involving cut-price nappies and he faces his formidable sister in law, Aunty Noor (Nina Wadia).

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 21st November 2014

QI

Stephen Fry is absolutely lethal tonight. Partly because that's the theme of this week's show, but also because he's on fire comedically. After a lengthy dissertation about a particular marsupial's energetic but ultimately deadly sex life, he solemnly wags his finger and says, "Russell Brand take note."

Sandi Toksvig, Jason Manford and Bill Bailey join Alan Davies to try to answer questions about laptop fatalities, the perils of sugar-free confectionery, unusual duelling weapons and the possibility of taking a bullet for someone. They also learn a nifty method of extracting a cork that's dropped down inside a glass bottle using a plastic bag. How handy.

Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 21st November 2014

The Graham Norton Show

Certain glossy magazines just can't stop speculating about Jennifer Aniston's love life. Oh, poor Jen, they wonder, will she ever find happiness after Brad Pitt? Is she still engaged to Justin Theroux? When are they going to marry? Is he scared of commitment? Is this really anyone's business?

So how far will Graham Norton go tonight when Aniston perches on the sofa with Jason Bateman to discuss their new film, Horrible Bosses 2? The frenzy that constantly surrounds Aniston's romantic life has always fogged the fact that she's an estimable light comic actress. Sadly, she's made some rubbish films since Friends ended, and judging by its trailer, Horrible Bosses 2 won't be a twinkling diamond on her CV.

Making a return visit is the mighty Dame Judi Dench, who'll be talking about her book, Behind the Scenes, and Olly Murs will sing his new single.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 21st November 2014

Not Going Out

Pointless's Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman guest-star as themselves when Lee and Daisy appear on the blockbuster BBC One/z] daytime quiz show.

Of course there are two big hurdles - Lee (Lee Mack) knows nothing about anything and Daisy (Katy Wix) is so exquisitely stupid she thinks that The Prisoner of Azkaban is a book of the Bible.

This is the perfect comedy set-up and they both fall headfirst into every comic trap that's been carefully built for them, from Lee's woeful knowledge of American presidents to Daisy's pathological insistence on taking absolutely everything she is told, literally (Wix is brilliant, by the way).

Armstrong and Osman have some fun, too, with Armstrong twinkling and flirting with Lee and Daisy's friend Lucy, and Osman becoming a gimlet-eyed avenger when he sees right through a craven Lee.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 21st November 2014

Professor Branestawm

Here is Harry Hill in a role he was perhaps born to play: that of the eccentric inventor Professor Branestawm.

Written by Ben Dowell. The Radio Times, 21st November 2014

Puppy Love

A very funny, slow-build show with slyly smart characters.

Written by Ellen E. Jones. The Independent, 21st November 2014

Babylon

Get ready for some satirical comedy, idealistic drama and heart-pumping action.

Written by Ellen E. Jones. The Independent, 21st November 2014

Not Going Out

Daisy has won the opportunity to be a gameshow contestant, giving the cast of Not Going Out the chance to visit another set on the BBC lot - Pointless. Daisy has to choose a teammate between Lee and Lucy (Lee pips it via nefarious means, naturally), but is too busy planning a way to woo Richard Osman to notice that Lee is no good at quizzes. Both Osman and Alexander Armstrong do a decent job being the straight men to Mack's relentless gag machine.

Bim Adewunmi, The Guardian, 21st November 2014

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