The Comic Strip Presents.... Credit: Comic Strip Productions
The Comic Strip Presents...

The Comic Strip Presents...

  • TV comedy drama
  • Channel 4 / BBC Two / Gold
  • 1982 - 2016
  • 41 episodes (5 series)

Periodic series of satires and spoofs that helped bring alternative comedy to the mainstream and forge a comedy reputation for then-new Channel 4. Stars Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders and more.

  • JustWatch Streaming rank this week: 1,432

Press clippings

Special Comic Strip screening and talk to be held

Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders and Stephen Mangan are set to appear at a special screening of two Comic Strip films in March.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 29th February 2024

How The Young Ones responded to a road crash and appalled Steve Martin

Peter Richardson has revealed how The Young Ones helped to save a stricken scooter rider after a horrific crash, how he sought to cast Matt Lucas as Boris Johnson in a Comic Strip movie and how he shocked Steve Martin with his method approach to shooting a riotous scene in The Supergrass.

British Comedy Guide, 23rd November 2023

French and Saunders almost died after poisoning horror while filming

Dawn - one half of comedy duo French and Saunders - says the pair were filming for a Comic Strip movie in Spain when a faulty boiler almost killed them as they slept.

Mark Jefferies, The Mirror, 25th October 2023

Comic Strip stars to celebrate series at BFI

Three screenings at the BFI this month will celebrate more than 40 years of the influential Comic Strip Presents series.

British Comedy Guide, 9th May 2023

Boris Johnson Comic Strip film scuppered by creative differences

Lie Another Day, a planned Channel 4 satire from The Comic Strip Presents... team on Boris Johnson's tenure as Prime Minister, which would have seen the PM as a Russian agent planted to destroy the UK, was cancelled because of production wranglings between writer Peter Richardson and production company Lookout Point.

British Comedy Guide, 13th February 2023

Channel 4 make classic comedies available on All4

Channel 4 is making some of its classic comedy shows available on its catch-up service All 4 to mark World Alzheimer's Day. Viewers will be able to re-watch nostalgia-inducing titles including The Comic Strip Presents, Crapston Villas, Porterhouse Blue, Terry & Julian, The Jack Dee Show, Paul Merton - The Series, Vic Reeves Big Night Out, Sean's Show and Desmond's.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 21st September 2019

10 satire shows we need back on our TV screens

It's fair to say that we don't have much satire on TV at the moment. So, are we really beyond satire now? Have things become too surreal? Well, I'm not so sure. In no particular order, here are ten shows that I think need a revival in these turbulent times.

Rhianna Evans, Super Ink, 7th August 2019

The Comic Strip trains its eye on the hacking scandal and manages to get a decent smattering of its shots on target. This, like many of the alternative comedy group's recent specials, is a hit-and-miss affair, but does feature a brilliantly savage portrayal of Rebekah Brooks from Maxine Peake, and some very funny digs at us pinko liberals at the Guardian.

Gwilym Mumford, The Guardian, 25th January 2016

Red Top, the latest outing for the once splendid Comic Strip team, and we won't begrudge them a certain resting on ancient laurels, was an altogether mixed bag, as Peter Richardson and co gleefully ran rings round lawyers to bring us the purported tale of phone hacking and the Met, Rupert M and Tony B and Rebekah Brooks (played with peppy malevolence by Maxine Peake), set with a certain bizarreness in the 70s. Much was shambolic, missing easy marks. Wendi Deng as pastiche of Chinese sex ninja? But Johnny Vegas was great as the tabloid sleazehound turned Deep Throat, and there was great guilty joy at seeing Lewis Macleod as The Guardian's ex-editor Alan Rusbridger, played as a lisping, patronising Chris Biggins in a yachting cap and mincing below a banner reading "Never knowingly enjoy yourself". And the gang still managed, rather subtly, to skewer Brooks's implausible juxtapositioning of a reputation for micromanagement with that breezy verdict that said she knew nothing of phone taps.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 24th January 2016

The Comic Strip Presents... Red Top, saw some of the brand's original cast members including Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson appear beside some new recruits. These new recruits included Maxine Peake who took the lead as disgraced News International boss Rebekah Brooks in this retelling of the phone-hacking scandal that was written like it was set in the 1970s despite its many modern references. Peake provided the narration from Rebekah's own point-of-view painting herself as a naive Northern girl even though all of her co-workers thought differently. The action played out over 75 minutes and shot at many targets including The Guardian, David Cameron's attempts to become prime minister as well as the whole phone hacking scandal itself. But despite its satirical edge, I found that Red Top was quite scattershot in its approach and the script never really hung together that well. There were some elements of the programme I liked namely Russell Tovey's turn as Andy Coulson and his relationship with a stereotypical Sun journalist played by Johnny Vegas. Vegas' kind hearted reporter was eventually revealed to be the man who exposed the whole hacking scandal and the references to the Watergate Scandal were actually quite amusing. Even though it didn't really fit into anything else in the piece, I also quite liked the fact Red Top's portrayal of Tony Blair as a new-wave hippy who'd reinvented himself as a musical God. In a lovely bit of continuity Blair was played by Stephen Mangan who'd previously portrayed the former PM in The Comic Strip's last outing. However I do feel that the negatives outweighed the positives as I found a lot of the gags a bit obvious for example Wendi Deng's drugging of Rupert Murdoch in order for her to have control of his empire. Additionally I didn't feel some of the famous faces necessarily needed to be part of the story and this was particularly true in regards to Harry Enfield's Ross Kemp whose participation in the piece was minimal at best. But my main issue with Red Top was that the central joke about Rebekah Brooks' innocent outlook on events wore thin by about the halfway point. This is a shame as I believe that Peake did a good job with what she was given but I do feel that the material let her down to an extent. Overall I think that Red Top had some interesting elements but will ultimately go down as a rather forgettable entry into The Comic Strip collection.

Matt, The Custard TV, 24th January 2016

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