Craig Cash has announced that the Royle Family will return again this Christmas for another special.
It was only last week that I was lamenting the rumoured comeback of the Fast Show. Despite it’s undisputed excellence and originality, I don’t believe that it can still be as fresh and original 17 years on unless it invents a whole series of new characters. The farewell live tour was an endearing roll call of all the favourites, but didn’t really offer much more than a chance to hear each of the characters saying their well-known catch phrases.
I have to say then that I was even more disappointed just now to read that the Royle Family will be returning AGAIN. It is, or rather was, one of the subtlest and near perfect shows I’ve seen. Beautifully observed, written and performed – beaming with unforced irony, hypocrisy and family truths. Amid Jim’s tightness with money, Denise’s laziness and Antony’s enforced servitude, possibly my favourite moment is when Barbara mentions that the sausages they had have gone past their use-by date. Jim is obviously outraged, but when Dave casually declares, “that stuff doesn’t bother me Barbara, I’ll eat them”, she turns to the rest of the family with such admiration and respect and says “what a wonderful way to live your life Dave. You hear that Jim?”
The show’s absolute charm originated in its grainy ‘home-movie’ look and voyeuristic nature, but it was exactly this which I felt was lost in the subsequent christmas specials. It seemed that the camera work, picture quality and set-up all seemed slightly more polished and contrived. It felt much more like a sitcom. The writing became less subtle and, in my opinion, over-forced the inherent irony. The picture quality seemed cleaner which took away its charm, and the movement into other sets, such as the Best’s house, sent me into a disorientated state far from the comfortable and familiar set-up of the Royle’s living room.
Certain elements of the updated storylines, such as knowing how Antony has faired in the big wide world, are interesting as a matter of curiosity, but beyond this only serve as a novelty and in fact change the whole dynamic which made the family so funny to watch in the first place. Antony’s position as the perpetual underdog and family skivvy were just one fundamental element to the structure, which once changed, altered the way you felt. On the one hand you felt your heart warm to the fact that he’d moved on in life, but at the same time you lost that integral heartache and pathos.
Chortle reported that Craig Cash claims that the ‘characters still have a lot of mileage in them’, and I actually couldn’t agree more, but I just think it would be far funnier to see how little had actually changed in their lives, as opposed to how much had. Having said that I will be watching at Christmas, and just hope it will show a return to form, with the same emotion and humour that it did at the start.
Full Story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14275271
Well this is the sort of news story you just wait to hear about. I think you need to read it twice before you can believe what you’re reading. It’s the stuff of horror stories, and yet it makes me laugh.
The 50-year old man woke up after spending 24 hours lying in a morgue. Now sometimes you hear stories of people who have been medically declared dead, but subsequently wake up, but in this case it sounds more like the man was having a long sleep after a heavy night.
His family had found him unconscious, and immediately presumed he was dead, probably wasting no time in zipping him up in a spare body bag they had lying under the stairs, and dropping him off at the steps of the nearest morgue.
He then woke up the next day at 17:00, having had quite a lie in, ‘demanding to be let out’.
“Excuse me. I demand to be let out of here.”
The article makes out like this is an ongoing problem with South Africans, like they some how have this almost trigger-happy nature of shipping off sleeping people to the morgue. The official says “We need to [get] the message across to all South Africans that it is very wrong for them to conclude on their own that a person has died”.
Apparently he was treated in hospital for dehydration and “did not need further treatment”. The guy only needed a glass of water.
This is a good video. How is it done?
That’s annoying isn’t it? Or maybe not annoying but perplexing and irritating. I see it a lot. This seemingly frantic and hurried naming of companies. I walk to work and may have passed this a hundred times before it finally moved me to write. It’s so pointless, meaningless and lazy. ‘Visitjourneys’. Just think about that for a second. It’s as if the conversation played out like so…
A: Yeah so we should open a travel agent.
B: Yes!! Amazing idea!! Let’s do it RIGHT NOW!!
A: No, but wait. What are we going to call it?
B: Who cares. We can’t waste any time.
A: No, but every company needs a good name…. wait, where are you going?
B: Out. To start the company.
A: But what about the name?
B: No, there’s no time. WE MUST OPEN NOW!
A: But… we….
B: We’ll think of a name on the way.
Things like this shouldn’t irritate me, but they do. It’s as if Tesco’s had called themselves ‘BuyEdible’ or a hardware shop had called themselves ‘NailsAndStuff’, which… actually that would have at least made sense. There’s even an off-license called ‘A View To A Drink’, which while being one of the worst Bond puns (if you can even technically call it that) in the world, does at least prove that this isn’t a singular phenomenon. At least a name like ‘R. Soles’ in Chelsea demonstrates some artistry, creativity and guts.
I’m thinking about opening an Italian sandwich shop called ‘Ay, Baguette About It’, but perhaps I should just call it ‘Stuff in Bread’. What does everyone think?
So rumours abound of the Fast Show returning after 15 odd years. An incredible programme which completely reinvented sketch comedy and still remains one of the funniest comedies of the last 20 years. I remember sitting in front of the telly on Friday nights at the age of 10 with frankfurters, chips and beans, waiting for the iconic intro to start. We would sit through 30 mins of sure-fire recurring characters who offered no surprise, but never lost their originality and spark. It’s impossible to listen to a run down of the best known characters and not instantly smile with recognition, even at such prosaic character names as competitive dad, brilliant kid, anyone fancy a pint?, the fat sweaty coppers, invisible woman or inept zookeeper.
Paul Whitehouse is for me one of the most inventive, original and funniest comedy performers on television. I think it’s also fair to say he stands out as a brilliant straight actor with heart-wrenching pathos shown in such characters as Ted or Rowley Birkin Q.C.
However I was fairly disappointed with the news that the show might be returning for a reunion. It seems that no show of success can simply be put to rest. The show was ground-breaking in the 90’s so why risk bringing it back when all the performers are so much older. I would welcome a new show by the same cast, or even a whole load of new characters, but more than likely it will just be a revival of the old characters for one last novelty fling.
There seems to be less risk or investment in new comedy acts nowadays as commissioners constantly put their stock in unoriginal, but viewer-dependable shows, or the hundreds and hundreds of television comedy panel shows that don’t even stray one inch from the established format save for an uninteresting gimmick or new host. Fawlty Towers and The Office thankfully gave us the benefit of quitting while they were ahead, never letting the mastery of such writing and performing be tarnished by watered-down and over-stretched premises and ideas.
At this stage the news of a reunion is purely speculation and rumour, but I hope we can trust Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse and Co. to produce and deliver a new show which is just as funny and just as ground breaking as the Fast Show first was 17 years ago.
However, on a much more uplifting point – the BBC have called time on Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, so that’s good.