The Fast Show Special. Image shows from L to R: Charlie Higson, Lucy Montgomery, Simon Day, Paul Whitehouse, Arabella Weir. Copyright: Down The Line Productions.

The Fast Show Special

BBC Two sketch show. 2 episodes (1 series) in 2014. Stars Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse, Arabella Weir, John Thomson, Caroline Aherne, Simon Day, Rhys Thomas and others.

Press Clippings

BBC Two took the opportunity to celebrate another anniversary, twenty years of The Fast Show, by airing the sketches that the team produced for the Fosters' website a couple of years ago. The Fast Show Special aired an hours' worth of sketches in two thirty minute instalments and as ever there were some hits and misses. It's always a joy to see Ted and Ralph and their conversations about Twitter and Facebook were priceless. Similarly seeing John Actor's Monkfish being the butler on a Downton Abbey-style show was brilliantly accurate. In fact the best sketches involved the characters attempting to deal with modern day situations whether it was Ron Manager's struggles with his new chair or Billy Bleach's thoughts on smart phones. Less successful was Bob Fleming's take on The Trip and the Jazz Club segments which appeared to go on forever. I personally felt the highlights were the return of Caroline Aherne, who hadn't been part of the later series of the show, and even hearing her say 'Scorchio!' brought a smile to my face. Seeing the characters of Janice the schoolgirl and Roy and Renee after a long time away was perfect especially the fact that the former had now started an online relationship with a convict. Conspicuous by his absence this time around was Mark Williams who is obviously too busy filming BBC One's daytime output to participate in a new 'Suit's You' segment. The major problem for regular fans of The Fast Show is that they will already have seen these sketches almost three years ago and the fact that the BBC was presenting them as new programmes was a bit misleading. But, just like with Harry and Paul's Story of the 2s, it was great to see the ensemble do what they're best at and if I did have an iPhone I know I'd be downloading the Cheesy Peas app straight away.

The Custard TV, 1st June 2014

Radio Times review

These reboots are a reminder of how many great running gags The Fast Show had. But even die-hard fans, myself included, would admit those jokes might, via endless variations, have finally run their natural course. Mind you, I still laugh at Rowley Birkin QC's incomprehensible stories ("Burble, burble... and I rather irrationally put my head inside its mouth!") and old-school football pundit Ron Manager praising the "Barcelonians".

Two minor characters get a nice update here as Bob Fleming (of the troublesome cough) and sidekick Jed Thomas ("Arse!") do their version of The Trip. And in what may be their last hurrah, Ted and Ralph are rescued by the Italian language.

David Butcher, Radio Times, 26th May 2014

It was one of the most successful sketch shows of its time and spawned a host of catchphrases (and a taste for cheesy peas). Seeing the Fast Show back tonight, as part of BBC2's 50th anniversary celebrations, is a bit like stepping back into a much loved pair of comfortable old slippers you've found at the back of the wardrobe.

Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse are still as loveable as upper crust Ralph and the subject of his devotion, loyal estate worker Ted, although times have moved on and the topic of stilted conversation is now Lady Gaga, Twitter and Facebook.

Caroline Aherne will always be inexplicably funny as the "Scorchio" forecasts weather girl and it's great to see Swiss Toni back on fine (and even ruder) form telling a young protege how riding a bike, "is like making love to a beautiful woman".

It's a lovely treat to have the team back. And no, Arabella Weir, your bum doesn't look big in that!

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 23rd May 2014

Radio Times review

It's been a while since lovably awkward pair Ted and Ralph appeared on our screens, but this isn't quite the new dawn it might seem. As die-hard Fast Show fans will know, Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse et al revived the characters for an online-only lager-sponsored series (cheers, Foster's) that started in 2011. Here, those sketches are broadcast for the first time on actual TV to celebrate the show's 20th anniversary.

So there's another chance to see Rowley Birkin QC burble his way through an incomprehensible anecdote (which can only end one way) and we pay a fresh visit to Jazz Club ("Nnnice!") to see an over-the-hill crooner. Best of all, for those who fondly remember generic cop show Inspector Monkfish, John Actor is back, this time as "a tough uncompromising butler".

David Butcher, Radio Times, 23rd May 2014

Marking two decades since it first roared into life, Whitehouse, Higson and co's tour de force returns in the first of a two-part special. The main cast and characters are mostly present and correct. Here, Ralph tries tempting Ted over to Twitter, while the Jazz Clubbers now need to keep their smoking outdoors. Sticking purely to greatest hits while playing to the gallery throughout, this is still a very worthy comeback gig.

Mark Jones, The Guardian, 23rd May 2014

The Fast Show returns! Here are 6 of the best sketches

The original cast members of The Fast Show are performing brand-new material this Friday, but what are your favourite old sketches?

Julia Raeside, The Guardian, 22nd May 2014

TV preview: The Fast Show Special, BBC2

Well, the Pythons are back so why shouldn't The Fast Show get on the comedy merry-go-round again? Particularly when they are all alive and still in pretty good health. Although as far as I know none of them have big divorce settlements or major mortgages to service.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 21st May 2014