With remarkably ill-chosen timing, perhaps the only two new home-grown programmes worth watching this festive season were broadcast head-to-head: Eric and Ernie on BBC2 up against Father Ted Night on C4. Of course with the joys of iPlayer and 4OD – and I gather some new fangled technology of ‘video-recording’ – one can watch them anytime. But still …
Not being able to cope with Victoria Wood in E&E, I opted for FTN, and the delights of writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, plus many, but inevitably not all, cast members from the finest comedy of the 1990s.
As with all the greats – Fawlty Towers, Rising Damp and Mr Benn – there were remarkably few episodes: just 25. That’s little over a season of some US shows. Within this, they invented a unique comedy – one that clearly has proved hard to live up to for some.
Linehan is the subsequently more successful – having gone on to write the IT Crowd – and has embraced new tech comedy garnering 77,000 followers as @glinner on twitter.
Arthur Mathews gave the impression of being the spitting image and soundalike of their own Most Boring Priest. Linehan clearly admires him as a comedy god (did the Greeks have a god of comedy?), which is a little lost on the viewers, as he seems to say only the mildest of remarks. Continue reading