The Comedy Years. Image shows from L to R: Louise Gold, Steve Nallon. Copyright: Shiver Productions
The Comedy Years

The Comedy Years

  • TV documentary
  • ITV3
  • 2019
  • 4 episodes (1 series)

Documentary series looking at how TV comedy shows portrayed society in 1979, 1984, 1998 and 2003. Features Shaparak Khorsandi, Jon Culshaw, Debra Stephenson, Dom Joly, Ann Widdecombe and more.

The Comedy Years. Image shows from L to R: Bernie Clifton, Mick Miller. Copyright: Shiver Productions

Key details

4 (1 series)
Shaparak Khorsandi, Jon Culshaw, Debra Stephenson, Dom Joly, Ann Widdecombe, Sherrie Hewson, Janet Street-Porter, Tracy-Ann Oberman and more
Kerry Allison and Gavin Barclay
Stuart Ramsay, Kerry Allison, Gavin Barclay, Mark Scantlebury, Mark Robinson and Jude Bibby

The Comedy Years looks back at how comedy shaped and defined specific years over the past 4 decades. The four years covered are 1979, 1984, 1998 and 2003.

Each of the hour-long shows mixes classic comedy archive with social history and pop culture nostalgia. They show how each year's comedy reflected a changing Britain - from the Thatcher era of satire of Not The Nine O'Clock News and Spitting Image to ground breaking comedy series like The Royle Family, The Young Ones and The Office.

The Comedy Years features interviews with stars of comedy past and present, all revealing the comedy moments that inspired them, as well as telling us about the roles they themselves played in some classic TV series.

The 1979 episode looks at the northern club scene, which was dominating telly at the time with the likes of Les Dawson and Cannon & Ball. It's also the year that saw a new breed of alternative comedians making a name for themselves on screen that included Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Rowan Atkinson.

Spitting Image and The Young Ones feature in the 1984 episode against the backdrop of the miners strike. More mainstream comedies like Duty Free and Russ Abbot's Madhouse are also covered.

In 1998 New Labour were in power and ground breaking new comedies started to appear on TV which included The Royle Family and Goodness Gracious Me.

Trigger Happy TV features in the episode about 2003 as TV viewers enjoyed the hidden prank antics of Dom Joly alongside Bruce Forsyth's hilarious hosting duties on Have I Got News For You and fond farewells to Cold Feet and The Office.

Additional details

Comedy firsts, Comedy lasts, Comedy classics
Camera set-up
Single camera

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Friday 19th April 2019 at 9pm on ITV3
Most recent repeats
  • Sunday 23rd October 2022 at 8:00pm on ITV3 - Episode 4
  • Saturday 22nd October 2022 at 1:00am on ITV3 - Episode 3
  • Sunday 16th October 2022 at 8:00pm on ITV3 - Episode 3

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