Comedy Connections. Copyright: BBC.

Comedy Connections

BBC Two and BBC One documentary. 47 episodes (6 series), 2003 - 2008. Features Julia Sawalha and Doon Mackichan.

Series 4

1. The Fast Show

First broadcast: Monday 6th March 2006

Students at the University of East Anglia, Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson, wanted to be rock stars, but via Hackney Council and Harry Enfield's Television Programme they came up with the idea for a comedy show of their own.

Narrated by Doon Mackichan, interviewees include stars Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, John Thompson, Arabella Weir, Mark Williams and Simon Day.

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2. Dinnerladies

First broadcast: Monday 13th March 2006

Victoria Wood's canteen was staffed with a dazzling array of talent including stalwarts of Acorn Antiques, Duncan Preston and Celia Imrie and, revelling in the chance to bring her own brand of inspired chaos to the series, Julie Walters.

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3. Drop The Dead Donkey

First broadcast: Monday 20th March 2006

One of the most enjoyable qualities of this consistently rewarding series is the casual way it dispenses its flow of anecdotes. Indeed, so chatty are tonight's titbits that the story of newsroom satire Drop The Dead Donkey feels more like a coffee morning than a serious look at one of the best comedies of the 1990s.

Writers Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin - and cast members including Stephen Tompkinson and Neil Pearson - reminisce, and a volley of clips suggests it was far sharper than many gave it credit for. As always, the revelations are a treat. Did you know, for example, that one of the original titles posited for the show was Dead Belgians Don't Count?

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4. Shooting Stars

First broadcast: Monday 3rd April 2006

Shooting Stars was the most anarchic and unpredictable gameshow ever seen on British TV. Appearing alongside Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer in their slice of slapstick, surreality and silliness, were acerbic stand-up comedian Mark Lamarr and erstwhile weather girl Ulrika Jonsson.

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5. To The Manor Born

First broadcast: Monday 10th April 2006

To The Manor Born was created in 1979 by new writer Peter Spence as a vehicle for The Good Life's Penelope Keith. By the end of its run three series later, more than half the country's population tuned in to see if Audrey fforbes-Hamilton and Richard DeVere would finally get together.

Interviewees include Penelope Keith, Peter Bowles, Gerald Sim, Peter Spence and producer/director Gareth Gwenlan.

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6. 'Allo 'Allo!

First broadcast: Monday 24th April 2006

David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd's WW2 French Resistance sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!. Among the revelations brought to light: actor Gordon Kaye says he had his doubts before taking the lead role as he thought René might be Renee, a northern female impersonator; Sam Kelly (Lt Hans Gruber) tells us what he was saying when he gave the Nazi salute; and Richard Gibson (Herr Flick) reveals how much he liked dressing in kinky underwear.

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7. That Was The Week That Was

First broadcast: Monday 1st May 2006

That Was The Week That Was changed not just comedy, but television, as the BBC was being actively disrespectful towards politicians, royalty and religion, all previously seen as untouchable. Among the facts uncovered are: how the programme's working title stuck; how the director letting the cameras be seen on camera was regarded as avant-garde; and how presenter David Frost managed to get the programme scheduled after TW3 was taken off air.

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8. Ever Decreasing Circles

First broadcast: Monday 8th May 2006

When creating the character of bumbling do-gooder Martin Bryce, they only had one actor in mind - Richard Briers - because they felt he was the only person who could bring some kind of charm to this appalling character.

Interviewees include Briers and other stars Peter Egan, Penelope Wilton and Stanley Lebor.

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