Monday, July 03, 2006

Telly comedy stuff

You'll have to act quickly before it gets replaced, but Radio Four's Front Row had an interview with Stephen Moffat and Simon Nye, whose nineties comedy series 'Joking Apart' and 'How Do You Want Me?' are finally being released on DVD.

I missed Joking Apart the first time round, but interestingly, it's being released by a fan who grew tired of waiting for the BBC to release it, so bought the rights and brought out a DVD himself, all of which is rather awe-inspiring. Follow links for details on how to order a copy yourself.

How Do You Want Me? I did see first time round in 1998. I've been waiting for a release ever since (are you spotting a pattern here?) but finally a copy arrived this morning. Dylan Moran* is of course brilliant in it, as is the much-missed Charlotte Coleman, but look out for striking turns from Peter Serafinowicz, Mark Heap and (my personal favourite, and a million miles from her Dibley character) Emma Chambers.

And while I'm doing a DVD catch-up of things I have waited a million years to come out, Tim Firth's All Quiet On The Preston Front is also sitting in a warehouse waiting for you to get on and buy it. Series Two is out July 3 (which is today apparently), which is also tops and lovely, and made me realise you could write about real people with an actual sense of humour and not patronize an audience. Preston Front always made me regret jettisoning my Lancashire accent as well - I moved to Cornwall when I was eight, got teased for having a weird northern accent, and so lost it immediately like the rootless feckless arse I would later turn out to be. This deprived me of the chance of ever using the phrase 'Scarrie's Igloo' with the proper intonation, something I will always regret.



*Dylan Moran did a live stand-up thing at the Hall for Cornwall (I think he was as bemused as we were). Just as he started the second half, someone shouted out 'Those shoes go very well with that jacket!'.

Moran stared at the chap for a while, while he (and we) let the comment sink in. Finally he turned to the audience.

'Fifteen years I've been doing this job,' he said eventually, 'and I've never been so unnerved by a heckle...'

39 comments:

leonie said...

"how do you want me" is sheer brilliance.
glad it's finally released. i had to download it in a really dodgy quality to finally watch it.

Peter Serafinowicz's character is very funny indeed. i especially loved how he just dropped by and hit Dylan Moran whenever he felt it was necessary. oh, and the fire station blokes....beautiful episode as well.

this is a rather long comment, isn't it?
(but i'm first. ha!)

james henry said...

bloody hell, that was quick.

leonie said...

yes it was. my own quickness to comment embarrasses me now.

Jayne said...

I loved How Do You Want Me and have been waiting for it on DVD for ages - thanks for the tip James! Now can we get someone to release the second series of A Very Peculiar Practice?

james henry said...

Rather worryingly, I think everything I ever wanted to come out on DVD is now available.

Apart from 'Manimal', obviously. Now if ever a show was crying out for a BSG-style contemporary remake, that's the one....

Chromatin said...

Have you got a copy of Nightingales? That too came out on DVD recently and is bliss t watch, if a little confusing at times.

cello said...

Ooh, I heard that too. That's what I love about broadcasting, the way it glues together people from opposite sides of the universe - OK Cornwall, then - in a shared moment. That is the same Stephen Moffat, who has done some Dr Whos, I assume?

Hamilton's Brain said...

I like Dylan's stand-up, but the good lady husband likens him to a male Josie Long with the stink of whiskey.

How Do You Want Me is Nye's lost series. It should have been projected onto the side of buildings to a jubilant crowd.

Cello - Moffat also of Coupling and Press Gang notoriety...

james henry said...

Ooh, we're all posting together - hello H Brain. Have to say the Truro set was only okay - and repeated stuff from Monster which is a bit annoying.

Cells bells, it is indeed the same Mister Moffat (Steven with a 'v' though). Also creator of greatest kids telly series ever 'Press Gang', which I've just found out he started writing for when he was 24, argh.

I should point out in the interests of full disclosure I am currently working on a project with Steven's good lady wife, who is quite a well known producer, and CLEARLY RECOGNIZES GENIUS-LEVEL TALENT WHEN SHE SEES IT.

Ho yuss.

james henry said...

And Nightingales was great, particularly the christmas episode.

Lee said...

The Joking Apart DVD is lovely. The episodes are all out and out bedroom farce with some brilliant set-ups, and somehow, Mr Lone-Fan managed to get Moffat and the actors to do commentatries for the episodes. Am I alone in rating Moffat's commentaries up there with Joss Whedon's?

I had no idea How Do You Want Me was coming out. Bliss.

cello said...

Would that be anything to do with the Vertue family by any chance?
Sorry SteVen, just in case you're reading - and why the hell wouldn't you be?

I remember How Do You Want Me launching, and, in one of those reverse serendipity phases, was just never around to see it. These dats, Sky+ would haev sorted it. Was attracted by the lovely Dylan but would also have liked to see Charlotte Coleman in something not written by Richard Curtis (I'm not having a go at him, mind). I think a little DVD purchasing is in order.

Billy said...

"Apart from 'Manimal', obviously. Now if ever a show was crying out for a BSG-style contemporary remake, that's the one...."

Bring back Manimal! Isn't the guy off that now in Casualty or something?

Terri Nixon said...

Okey doke - now I'm officially spooked; in work the other day we were talking about old TV series we loved, and I was going insane trying to think of the name of Joking Apart! I never got it, although I could quote cast, plotlines and best bits til people threw things at me and told me I was making it all up!
Likewise Preston Front - might even have been on the convention website this one came up, I got the cast wrong and mistakently put Neil Pearson in it instead of Stephen Tompkinson, but it was close! I just remember it as being the first thing I saw Alistair MacGowan in.

As for Stephen Moffat - ever since Coupling I've been a big fan of his, and was delighted when I found he was writing for Dr Who (including my favourite one: Madame De Pompadour) I was delighted to get a few e-mails from Sue Vertue when I was looking into creating a Coupling Website some years ago.

This is too strange. What next, I wonder; It Ain't Half Hot Mum? Or is that already available?

Amy said...

Surely the best kids TV programme ever is Jossies Giants?

Button said...

entire episodes based on tadpole stuck up a nostril.
the finest of all childrens entertainment...

Maid Marion and Her Merry Men.

do not argue with this great truth.

(I'd like to mention that having read the previous topic I am now consulting my dictionary every 3.5 seconds and have realised that I can spell at about the same level as my cat).

LMS said...

I'm currently working my way through the Press Gang DVD's which really are as good as I remembered them from childhood. Steven Moffat does great commentaries on them too (I also recommend Ben Affleck/Kevin Smith commentaries, even on the bad films). I don't think I've ever disliked anything SM's written since then. Now if I can only get my hands on his film script 'Me Again' that died in development hell.

Preston Front is slowly working it's way up my dvd rental list which now mostly consists of tv shows. I've still got some well worn video tapes of How Do You Want Me series 1 and 2.

I think the only tv programmes I would like a dvd release of now are Takin' Over the Asylum and Your Cheatin Heart.

monkeychops said...

'Camberwick Green' and 'Mr Benn' were my favs that have recently been released. They've aged really well.

Quite like to see 'Time Gentlemen Please' on DVD. Have downloaded a few (poor quality) episodes.

Didn't Mr Moffat do a school teachers TV series around 5 years ago? In fact I've just looked it up: 'Chalk'. Anyway I really liked it.

And while I'm here, his Dr Who episode (girl in castle with time portal thing) was my fav so far.

Jack Spanners said...

Camberwick Green and Mr Benn were also my favourites, along with Trumpton and Chigley. I have all the episodes of all four shows on DVD/Video. My children think they're theirs but they will find out in time that they are mistaken.

I was also a fan of the other shows mentioned. My favourite bit from How Do You Want Me was when the father gave Dylan's character a case of money to get rid of him. He then asked Dylan "Don't you want to count it?", to which Dylan replied, "One." The father said, "The money, not the case."

Well, it was funny in those days.

Elfgirl said...

Thanks for the HDYWM? info. I've been wanting this for years but I'd given up on it even getting a DVD release. Emma Chambers was great in it too.

Sal said...

If we're talking Dylan Moran, I have to mention Black Books. I had told myself not to spend too much money when I bunked school on Friday in favour of shopping. I then however went into Fopp where all of their comedy DVDs were £7 a pop. So I left £35 lighter, armed with all three series of Black Books and both of The Book Group. Moran is simply fantastic. I'd also forgotten how good The Book Group was. Great sountrack too.

patroclus said...

The Book Group never made me laugh, but I did like it very much and it did make me cry on a couple of occasions. It's odd what gets called 'comedy' these days.

Still, traditional Benny Hill-style humour is back for 2007, I hear. James, you're clearly presaging this shift with your comedy clothing-related antics.

Jen said...

*dances* I'm going to see Dylan Moran at the Fringe this year! And Bill Bailey too!

Roll on Comedy Central.

Helen said...

I've ordered Black Books DVD from Amazon and it put its release date back to 7th August grrrr so I'm just waiting...and waiting...and waiting....but I will get it and enjoy it all the more because of the wait.

Jen said...

Black Books is comedy genius. I LOVE it. Tamsin Greig is sensational in it.

"I am a giant ear...waiting for you...songs of....nice...ness..."

She corpses quite a lot in it. I love a good T-Corpse.

Marsha Klein said...

Never saw either HDYWM or "Joking Apart" and I wasn't even aware of the latter until recently reading an article about it (in Radio Times, I think). It starred the lovely Robert Bathurst, didn't it?

So two more DVDs to add to the list.

lms - "Takin' Over the Asylum" should definitely be on DVD.

jen - I'm going to see Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey on the Fringe as well!

Squarah said...

I re-watched all three series of Black Blacks whilst revising for my exams (*cough cough*) and completely fell head over heels in love with it again!

Also noticed that the guy who plays Joanna's cousin in GW who meets an unfortunate end with the stuffed heron, is in it as a mafia boss! Genius casting I must say!

And then there's JRT's travel writer....*swoons*

james henry said...

I think Joanna's cousin/BB underworld boss is called "Big Chris", and I had the pleasure of seeing the audition tapes, for which a variety of very short men had to scream convincingly. His scream was by far the best, and to some extent, still echoes within my soul.

circelily said...

As soon as I read this I thought: I wish they'd release Takin' Over the Asylum, which has stayed with me all those years since I saw it (early 90s???) and made me squee when I found out during the Who-hullabaloo that it was the first screen appearance of Tennant-y goodness. Mmmmm- I feel all great-mindy with lms & marsha klein now.

Kalista said...

James, being a fan of the mighty pegg yourself, im surprised that you haven't mentioned the fact that his early role in 'faith in the future' Surely this is a lost never made it to dvd (to my knowledge at least) series as well! given, watching it is a guilty yet somewhat satisfying pleasure.

Oh and on the accent front, I live in cheshire and have done all my life yet people say my accent sounds as if i'm from kent. Anyone else out there with a non descript accent?

james henry said...

S Pegg was indeed fabu in 'Faith In The Future', but I don't think he'd come all the way to Cornwall to hit me and hit me and hit me if I were to suggest it wasn't quite an essential DVD purchase.

Pashmina said...

Co-incidentally my DVD of How Do You Want Me? landed on my desk yesterday. And now it's raining so I don't have to go out and pretend to have fun in the sunshine, but can stay in and watch it instead.

Joking Apart was also ace, though it was hard to escape the feeling I was its solitary viewer. That's what it was like watching BBC2 in the early '90s.

And the Marvellous Steven Moffat, it should be remembered, also wrote Eccleston-era Dr Who's standout episodes The Empty Child & The Doctor Dances.

LMS said...

Is Hippies available on DVD yet?

occasional poster of comments said...

Ahh, televisual nostalgia [deep, satisfied sigh].

I'd completely forgotten about the Preston Front. And I always meant to find out the name of that brilliant sitcom with Robert Bathurst and the woman with the curly black hair. And, thanks to Circelily, now I know where I knew David Tennant from, as well.

P: The Book Group. Yes, why was that billed as a comedy? I quite liked it, too. But only once I'd learned to stop expecting laughs.

Oh, and Chalk. Did anyone else watch that every week trying to figure out why it so nearly, but just didn't quite work? I never could put my finger on it.

Squarah said...

Oh, Ims you beat me to it! I was just going to ask about Hippies too! I missed most of the episodes when it was repeated on Paramount....I'd like to say this is because I live an exciting life and was out but it was mostly because I'd fallen asleep infront of the tv!

LMS said...

Squarah - great minds, etc. It should have got a second series.

skeadugenga said...

I want to see "Beast" again. My copies of How do you Want me and Joking Apart plopped through the door this morning. Happy weekend guaranteed. Pash, so YOU were the other person watching BBC2 in the early 90's? Happy days..

Kalista said...

Omg Hippies! I totally forgot about that! if any bbc dvd distributing types are reading this take heed- where are these telvivisual gems!

James- but it'd be quite a good anecdote to tell people 'i got repeatedly punched by t'pegg'

Pashmina said...

I fear that Hippies will ever more languish in the comedy vault unless someone does a Joking Apart and releases it by dint of high-level fandom and sheer bloody mindedness.

The reason being - I suspect but do not actually know - that the only people who would buy it would be about 500 hard-core JRT and Simon Pegg fans. Sorry.

Mind you, Darren Boyd's in it too...