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Monday, 27 April 2015

Best British Sitcoms Continued...

Lets continue the count down of my top 10 Recommendable British Sitcoms!

5- Black Books: 
2000-3 series of 25 minute Episodes
Black Books
Written and produced by Dylan Moran and starring the fab-daba-doozy Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig (with a Simon Pegg cameo role in series 3), Black Books is set in a cluttered book shop and revolves around the lives of Bernard Black (Morran), the alcoholic, chain-smoking, moody shop keeper who hates the world and its inhabitants(reminiscent of Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers) and his friends, Manny (Bailey) and Fran (Grieg). 
"Running a second-hand bookshop is a guaranteed commercial failure. It's a whole philosophy. There were bookshops that I frequented and I was always struck by the loneliness and doggedness of these men who piloted this death ship"- Morran.
The humour is ironic, surreal and sarcastic but very witty! There is no canned laughter which is another plus!

My Fave Episode: Elephants and Hens-
Fran goes on a hen do whilst Bernard and Manny attempt to write a children's book. 

4-Look Around You:  
2000-1st series of 10mins shorts, 2nd series of 30mins

Look Around You

Look Around, Just Look Around You...
This is a spoof of a 70s/early 80s educational- school's science programme. The episodes or 'modules' are set out with experiments, maths problems and scientific inventions based on complete-nonsense.
The 'education' presented in the programme is turned on it's head and dictated to the pupils in the archaic expression: 'write that in your copybooks now'. The colour and general look is deliberately made to look authentically 70s/80s and uses synthesied theme music. The humour is deadpan and completely off-the-wall! If you take life seriously, don't watch it. But if your like me, love 'random' and silliness then check it out: there are random clips on Youtube which will give you the idea of the brilliant stupidity!

Memorable Quotes:
'Germs originated in Germany, before rapidly spreading throughout the rest of the world.'
'Bless You Ants...Blants'... 'Thankyou Ants...Thants'
'Maths stands for Mathematical Anti-Telharsic Harfatum Septomin'.
'When you think of Pennsylvania, you probably think of pencils.'

3- Ever Decreasing Circles: 
1980- 4 series: 30mins episodes

Ever Decreasing Circles

Starring the brilliant late Richard Briars (of The Good Life fame), Peter Egan (who was in the Bean Movie) and Penelope Wilton (Shaun of the Dead and Downton Abbey...).
Martin Bryce (Briars) is an obsessive and fastidious middle-aged man who lives with his ever-forgiving wife, Anne (Wilton) in the suburbs of East Surrey. He reluctantly lives next-door to the lavish, charming Paul who is everything Martin isn't.  This comedy-drama centers around the lives of these people and their friends, the peculiarly innocent couple Howard and Hilda (Stanley Lebor and Geraldine Newman).
Its a light hearted comedy that's very watchable thanks to the great cast of actors- their individual characteristics; the underlying sexual tension between Paul and Anne (who always stays faithful to Martin despite his overly complex personality) and the brilliant Briars who means well but is in constant competition between himself and Paul...
The theme tune is by Shostakovich you know?! 
(that's an inside mother-quote that is always said before watching an episode)

Classic Quotes:
Dan: 'What's everybody's favourite type of jam?...' [all think and discuss]
Martin: I've got another...what's everyone's SECOND favourite type of jam?'

2- Faulty Towers:  
1970s- 2 series of 6 episodes of 30 mins episodes

Fawlty Towers

A comedy series, set in a hotel in Torquey with a flamboyantly pessimistic owner, Basil (John Cleese) who dislikes most if not all of his guests. Basil is 'supported' by an incapable Spanish waiter, Manuel (Andrew Sachs) who speaks little English and his wife, Sybil (Prunella Scales) and hotel maid, Polly (Connie Booth) who run around picking up the pieces! The episodes are often about a major misunderstanding thanks to Basil's inconsideration for his guests and his constant urge to blend in with the upper class. Its more of a farce, characters running around trying to and failing to stop trouble ensuing! It embodies the sarcasm of British humour! It pokes fun at stereotypes which in the 70s was less of an issue than it is now!

Classic Quotes:
Manuel- "I know nothing...I'm from Barcelona!"

Guest: "Don't be silly. I expect to be able to see the sea."
Basil: "You can see the sea! It's over there between the land and the sky!"
Guest: "I'd need a telescope to see that."
Basil: "Well might I suggest you move to a hotel closer to the sea. Or preferably in it."

Basil: "A satisfied customer. We should have him stuffed."

Basil: "Ah, well, if you don't like duck, uhhh, you're rather stuck."

Basil: 'DONT MENTION THE WAR!' in ear shot of his German guests

1- Miranda 
 2009- 3 series of 30 mins episodes, 2 specials and a few skits.


Well it has been a veritable thrill to have you in my company...I am *mobile bleeps* Oh! bear with...bear with....bear I was saying I am what-I-call a massive fan of the British TV show, Miranda.

A sitcom written and produced by comedian Miranda Hart,  centering round the life of a very single, socially awkward, clumsy woman- (Its me!?!) who runs a jokeshop with her old friend, Stevie (Sarah Hadland) and ruled by her mother's (Patricia Hodge) wish for her to find a man. Miranda  finds herself tangled up in bizarre situations; stuck on a moving sushi conveyor belt, stuck in the gate of a public well as in constant confusion over her feelings towards love-interest Gary (Tom Ellis).  She's a bit like Marmite, but I find her utterly hilarious more so because I can relate so much to her! The humour is silly, slapstick and reminiscent of Morecambe and Wise. (where the side talking to the camera came from).

Miranda has literally infiltrated my life as well as heighten the realisation that I'm not the only one who has to burst into song when saying a line of a song inadvertently...reading into innuendos, overly repeating a good word, has overly explicit parents and horrendous track record with men.

Expressions now used in my life:

Penny: Such Fun!
Penny:What I call...

Miranda: 'The Queen of all words, 'Moist. The King of all words 'Plinth'. A Moist Plinth'

Posh Miranda:  'JARSPER'

Miranda: Chasse to the sachet

Miranda using the coffee machine in Therapist's Room: What a confident jet.

Interviewer: 'What do you think you could bring to the job'
Miranda: 'I could bring tea and cake, would it like that?'

Stevie: I have the allure

Fave Episodes:
Series 1 Episode 4  - Holiday: Miranda goes traveling...the hotel up the road.

Series 2 Episode 5- Just Act Normal: Miranda and mum, Penny see a Therapist.
(I always feel this would be a great play for a Drama Festival as the whole episode is set in one room and cleverly written).

 Series 3 Episode 3- The Dinner Party: Miranda attempts baby-sitting and hosting a Dinner Party.

 What are your favourite Brit-Com quotes?