Comics have chosen their best TV sketch show moments ever, in a drive to revive the ailing format that has fallen out of favour with today’s audiences.
The six-part series My Favourite Sketch fronted by Smack The Pony star Sally Phillips stars begins on Gold tonight, which sees comedians recreating their ultimate sketch show moments.
To coincide with the start of the series, comics have shared their favourite sketches with The Times with Reeves and Mortimer and Mel Smith predictably making the cut.
Smack The Pony and The Fast Show may be long gone from screens, but a sketch from the latter – Bob Fleming the coughing TV host – was Bob Mortimer’s choice for his favourite comedy moment.
Meanwhile, Johnny Vegas picked out the moment Mel Smith ends up in the grave when he starts daydreaming at a funeral from Alas Smith and Jones – but which classic comedy sketch is your favourite?
Mulligan and O’Hare – a folk duo in the style of Foster & Allen – featured on Reeves and Mortimer’s BBC sketch show, which first aired in 1993.
Mulligan, played by Vic, sported a glossy Terry Worgan-style hairdo with moobs showing through his yellow polo neck, while O’Hare was known for his busy beard and fiery temper.
Paul Whitehouse chose their rendition of My Rose Has Left Me, a song about O’Hare’s ex-wife who ran off to ‘Kenya with the bloke from Allied Carpets’ as his favourite sketch.
Spaced and W1A star Jessica Hynes chose Charlie Higson and Arabella Weir’s sketch about a painter who is terrified of black from The Fast Show, which aired from 1994 to 1997.
The painter describes the colours as he works, but whenever he or his wife – played by Weir – mentions black, it sends him into a spiral of depression.
Hilariously dark proclamations included: ‘Where are we sleeping tonight, mother? Father’s grave?’
Jessica said she made her choice as it makes light of darkness in a ‘way that is truthful but hilarious at the same time’.
A clumsy mourner played by Mel Smith ended up falling into the grave at a funeral in a sketch from Alas Smith and Jones, which aired on BBC from 1984 to 1988.
During a solemn moment, money that was wrapped up in his handkerchief came spilling out and he tumbled into the grave while trying to retrieve it.
Johnny Vegas chose the sketch because of his own tendency to drift off and not pay attention, even at inappropriate moments.
‘Who honestly doesn’t want to to see somebody fall into an open grave just to relieve the tension?’ he said.
Bob Fleming, played by Charlie Higson, was a character who appeared right the way through The Fast Show 1994–1997, hosting the fictional TV show Country Matters.
He’s plagued by an unfortunate cough that starts with a tickle and progresses to a hacking sound that renders him speechless, and usually causes some kind of mishap such as falling into a river.
In addition, many of the shoes contributors suffer from similar afflictions, including Jed Thomas, who inadvertently says ‘a***’ every few words.
One scene becomes a cacophony of Jed saying ‘a***’ and Bob coughing uncontrollably as the show they’re trying to present falls into disarray.
Sue Perkins chose Armstrong and Miller’s portrayal of World War II pilots speaking in present day slang for her favourite sketch.
A typical conversation between the pair on the show, which aired from 2007 to 2010, went like this: ‘This is me to him, OK. I ain’t going out in my plane no more if you don’t give me compensation, yeah, like he can do his own war, it’s nothing to do with me.’
‘There’s a nice bit of pathos to it, the silly juxtaposition of airmen speaking a sort of patois,’ she explained.
‘But underneath it is a truth that the people who went to fight were really young and they would have spoken with the slang of the time.’