British Comedy Guide

Star Stories. Image shows from L to R: Phil Collins (Trevor Lock), Simon Le Bon (Fergus Craig), Bono (Harry Peacock), Boy George (Steve Edge), Midge Ure (Tom Basden), Bob Geldof (Fergus Craig). Copyright: Objective Productions.

Star Stories

Channel 4 sketch show. 15 episodes (3 series), 2006 - 2008. Stars Kevin Bishop, Steve Edge, Alex Woodhall, Laura Patch, Thaila Zucchi, Rhys Thomas, Oliver Maltman and others.

Press Clippings

Remembering the brilliant showbiz satire

It's been a rough 12 months for satire, with King Charles III inciting dozens of finger-wagging think-pieces, and Sky Arts pulling their nutty Michael Jackson/Marlon Brando/Elizabeth Taylor comedy due to outrage on both sides of the Atlantic. But the clearest confirmation that reaction to satire has gone terribly, terribly awry is to compare and contrast the above hysteria with the treatment of Star Stories, Channel 4's late-Noughties comedy that gave the melodramatic "Lifetime movie" treatment to some of the biggest showbiz tales of the 21st century so far.

Adam White, The Telegraph, 5th July 2017

Unabashedly poking fun at celebrities and the frenzied culture surrounding them, Channel 4's satire gave "true" accounts of the lives of the tabloids' favourite figures from the Noughties. Their surreal takes on the stories of Take That and Jennifer Aniston are particularly enjoyable.

Catherine Gee, The Telegraph, 20th March 2015

Channel 4's award-winning spoofs of celebrity lives arrive on Dave. Star Stories could be vicious, surreal and downright daft, as if half-cut tabloid journalists were acting out Spitting Image's for a panto. No programme since has punctured the public images of celebrities with such childish glee. Tonight's first episode, from December 2006, probably isn't the best. It retells the love story of David and Victoria Beckham, with Kevin Bishop giving a brilliant turn as a besotted Alex Ferguson. Look out for Sporty Spice's moustache.

David Butcher, Radio Times, 9th April 2010

End of Stories

Humourless celebs can breathe a sigh of relief - mickey-taking Channel 4 comedy Star Stories has been axed.

Colin Robertson, The Sun, 2nd September 2009

Heather Mills has not enjoyed a particularly good press of late, so Star Stories waded into the fray to redress the balance. Its unique take upon tabloid events cast Paul McCartney as a sadistic and cruel tyrant, egged on by his manipulative daughter Stella, cosily living in a luxurious country house called Mandalay. Heather, in contrast, is a shy and naive Geordie girl for whom her charity work is everything.

'Whose the daddy?' screams Paul in flashback, as he terrorises the other three Beatles into performing on the Abbey Road studio's roof. So great was the programme's excursion into delusional fantasy that it even suggested Sir Paul's hair was dyed.

Jokes about Mills' disability were inevitable but, given Star Stories' gleefully puerile approach, remarkably few and far between.

Star Stories serves up pretty much the same fare every week, irrespective of its subject matter, but sheer nerve, energy and clever writing has so far kept it from going stale.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 15th December 2008

Heather Mills gets the Star Stories treatment this week - and boy is she going to be peeved with the show.

In Mills And McCartney Presents: Why Paul Is A Total B*stard, 'Heather' (comedienne Dolly Wells) the woman who gives most of her money to charity (yeah, right) gives her side of the story. For the first time.

Did you know, for example, that as a child she spent 20 hours a day down the mines? Or that her dodgy porn shot was done to help children with their maths? Or that the ghost of Princess Diana asked her to work for landmine charities? Or that her dad looked like an older version of Ant McPartlin? That's not a subject raised, by the way, just my observation.

The show takes several of Mucca's own claims - plus a few they made up - and rips the mick out of them. Paul's frugal behaviour (played by Steve Edge) comes in for a bashing, too.

'Why should I have to pay for two when she's only going to wear one,' he asks in a posh shoe shop. But not before giving her Cinderella-style rags to clean the house in. And no programme dedicated to Heather would be complete without her bonkers appearance on GMTV.

After last week's disappointing homage to Sir Elton John, it's nice to see the show's back with a vengeance (although their version of Heather losing her leg is possibly a step too far, even for Star Stories).

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 11th December 2008

Kevin Bishop was a hero in the last series of the spoof show, where he poked fun at Simon Cowell and Robbie Williams - and now he's back for more mocking. He kicks off this third series with Sir Elton John, the patron saint of celebrities, as his target. It's a bit hit and miss but it's great to see Bishop and Co back on the box.

The Sun, 4th December 2008

Having already shown us how singer Gary Barlow was taken under the wing of Nigel Martin-Smith and how Tom Cruise was introduced to Scientology after being hit over the head with a shovel by John Travolta.

It's now the turn of Sir Elton John and partner David Furnish to be given the Star Stories treatment by Kevin Bishop and Steve Edge in the third series of the very funny comedy parodying the lives and loves of big-time celebrities and Hollywood heavyweights.

There are plenty of funny wigs and silly voices to keep us suitably entertained as Elton's life and times are revealed, beginning in the Seventies, which he spent mostly in a blizzard of cocaine, to why it's bad to be bald and the reason it took so long for him to climb out of the closet.

The Daily Express, 4th December 2008

The excellent Star Stories is back, with a hilariously un-life-like Sir Elton John (played by Kevin Bishop) as the first celebrity target of this third series.

The show gives us a hugely funny and almost entirely inaccurate account of Elton's early years in the spotlight, ultimately bringing us bang up-to-date with his role as the Patron Saint of Celebrities.

Daily Star, 4th December 2008

There is obviously a market for Kevin Bishop's distinctive brand of comedy, but it is difficult to know what it is. Using the broadest of broad-brush impressions, it purports to tell the story of how Elton John became the patron saint of celebrities. The characters pilloried include Diana, Princess of Wales, Freddie Mercury, Robert Downey Jr, Liz Hurley and so forth accompanied by a crass commentary that mocks Elton John's baldness and bad temper.

At best, it could be argued that Star Stories attacks celebrity culture with a Punch and Judy exuberance, but many viewers will find it crude and aggressively unfunny.

David Chater, The Times, 4th December 2008

Share this page