Some of you were wondering why I didn't take part in the documentary on Father Ted last night. I am utterly proud of that show and I love it still (and Mrs Doyle). I'll watch it any time it's on and I laugh out loud at it - in fact I did just that last night and can I say that the Hairy Babies episode, as chosen by viewers, is probably my favourite too.
Anyhow, I have spoken at length over the years about the show and really didn't think I had anything more to add to that - there's piles of archive footage out there of me telling stories about it and the behind the scenes laughs and so on.
On top of which I have such happy memories of Ted that to have gone down the West without Dermot Morgan and (producer) Geoffrey Perkins would have been too sad. And I didn't think any documentary could be 'definitive' without them anyhow. So, all of the above (and the small matter of me filming another Channel 4 series in Manchester anyhow) led to me not taking part.Pauline McLynn, 2nd January 2011
Talking Heads meets Keeping Up Appearances in this engagingly spry offering about elderly widows who write to each other after meeting at a wedding. Maurine Lipman and Anne Reid play the tipple-fancying correspondents, Irene and Vera, whose exchanges of unusual recipes and family tittle-tattle becomes increasingly tart as misunderstandings creep in.
Oddities of style betray the programme's radio origins, but the quality of the writing wins the day, as do the actresses' mischievous glances and catty inflections.
This new series, one of the last projects from the late, great producer Geoffrey Perkins, is so reliant on the richness of its writing over its direction that it betrays its origins as a radio series. Stick it on while you're making dinner and revel in the exchanges between two seemingly respectable housewives, who started penning their missives after they got sloshed together at a wedding. Keeping Up Appearances with an added dose of melancholy.Sharon Lougher, Metro, 3rd February 2009
I remain to be convinced about this television transfer for a perennial Radio 4 comedy drama that still stars to this day Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge. Here Maureen Lipman and Anne Reid take on the roles of fractious ladies of a certain age, Irene and Vera, who strike up an often minty correspondence after meeting at a wedding. I just can't see how the concept (running on Radio 4 as part of Woman's Hour since 1997) can work on TV. I also object to the recasting (although if you absolutely have to, Maureen Lipman and Anne Reid are clearly going to be top notch), and the pedigree behind the production is about the best - this served as one of Geoffrey Perkins final projects before his sad death last year. I am willing to be talked round on this one...Mark Wright, The Stage, 2nd February 2009
Harry & Paul, back for a new series, wasn't the unmixed pleasure it might have been, not because it wasn't good (there were some fine new sketches and very funny variations on the best of the old ones), but because it was hard to watch it without melancholy thoughts about its producer, Geoffrey Perkins, who died suddenly just a week before transmission.Thomas Sutcliffe, The Independent, 8th September 2008
Rather than attempt to hold on to their youthful glamour like some yoiks I could mention, Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse returned on Friday for the second series of Harry and Paul embracing old age so tightly it may soon expire on their chests. The opening titles feature them as a pair of old Soviet generals and they reappear as geriatric DJs playing their favourite Nineties rap and then again as Nelson Mandela and Castro.
You might accuse them of favouring some pretty old jokes, too. Thirties cinema remains an inspiration; here an early version of The Bourne Identity had a plummy Jason asking: "Hells bells who am I?" Whitehouse's version of Theo Paphitis in the Dragons' Den sketch was clearly a close relative of Stavros. And the pair still delight in imagining breaches of the walls that divide Britain culturally: meet the builders with opinions on Tracey Emin ("a child of five could become a ludicrous parody of themselves"), a foul-mouthed but multilingual football manager, the over-educated surgeon operating on a Foo Fighter and the fishermen chatting, by the side of their local pond, about the merits of Peter Shaffer.
For those of us of a certain age, this half hour was pure pleasure, or would have been were it not for knowing that its producer, Geoffrey Perkins, had died ten days ago without seeing the old age his stars parody with such fate-tempting brio.Andrew Billen, The Times, 8th September 2008