Between 1997 and 2001, Channel 4 showed some of the best comedy series's ever, but now they've gone without trace (not even on UKGold). Here's a brief insight into what you might have missed.
SpacedSeries made: 2
Set around the lives of two co-habiting roommates, their close friends and alcoholic landlady, Spaced was fresh and original when it first arrived on TV. So much so, that on first viewing i dismissed it as an Art house, experimental piece of guerrilla television. I only started watching it again on the recommendation of a friend. The show 'spoofed' a lot of contemporary cinema, television and real life. I can relate to every one of the characters , i'm sure there based on people i know, and when i talk to other people about the show, they say the same thing.
Show highlight: Has to be the slow motion, 'fake' gun fight. GeniusWhat happened next: After series two the cast attempted separate projects, Simon Pegg went on to a BBC sketch show called 'Big Train'. Jessica Stevenson appeared on 'Room 101' and in the BBC screenplay 'Tomorrow La Scala' last year. Bill Bailey made a second series of 'Black Books'(see below) and is now a regular team captain on 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks'. With Spaced being so good, it's virtually certain that more series will be produced and the old ones repeated , plus the first two series are now available commercially.
Black BooksSeries made:2
Stars: Dylan Moran , Tamsin Greig, Bill Bailey
Set around an alcoholic, second hand book store owner, his alcoholic gift store owning friend and an escaped mental patient, (i know, who writes this stuff)
Show highlight: Bill Bailey playing the piano with spoons.What happened next: Series 3 is currently being written.
The Armstrong And Miller ShowSeries made : 4
Stars: Alexander Armstrong, Ben Miller, Sarah Alexander
A fantastic sketch show. There so many great things in here. The 'Force on the Case' sketch was a spoof on 'Inspector Morse', where he was constantly drunk and was assisted by his imaginary train driver friend, Chuffy. The 'Nude Practice' sketch, while not being entirely original, still got a lot of attention. Obviously.
Show highlight: The 'My first book of the Galaxy' sketch. Fantastic.
What happened next: Ben became the voice of Johnny Vegas's ITV Digital 'Monkey'. Sarah Alexander made Coupling with Jack Davenport. Alexander went to do 'Beast', a sitcom about vets (animal), and 'T.L.C.' , a sitcom about nurses.
The Adam And Joe ShowSeries made: 4, i think
Stars: Adam Buxton, Joe Cornish
Show highlight: The 'Royale Family' spoof with the cast of 'Star Wars'What happened next: Adam recently performed a one-off show for the Channel 4 Comedy Lab called 'The Last Chancers' playing a singer in an unsigned band.
VidsSeries made: 5 by my count.
Stars : Nigel 'Nige' Buckland, Stef 'Steffi-Boy' Gardener
By far the greatest video review show ever created.Firstly, because they reviewed a few mainstream videos, but they also reviewed films no one else did (or even heard of sometimes). The show was incredibly funny and entertaining in its own right. Some people i've spoken to think the humour was a bit too crude, but it made me laugh and that's what counts.
Show highlight: Nige walking through the streets of Glasgow wearing a body stocking and a giant knitted falice, reviewing a film and talking to the locals simultaneously. (You had to see it).What happened next: Nigel spent some time as a film reviewer for 'The Big Breakfast'. Stef hasn't been seen since. With the cancelation of the 4 Later format i don't think we will see the return of Vids, sadly.
Brass EyeSeries made: 1
Stars : Chris Morris, 'the actor' Kevin Eldon
A fantastic spin-off from the BBC show 'THE DAY TODAY'.
Brass Eye is a satire on the way the news is presented, particularly in the UK.
Show highlight: The 'cake' appeal.What happened next: Unfortunately, due to the mass hysteria caused by the 2001 Brass Eye Special, it seems unlikly that the show will be repeated or given a new series. Fortunatly The Day Today and Brass Eye are commercially available on VHS/DVD.
The Mark Thomas Comedy ProductSeries made: 6
Stars: Mark Thomas (keep up).MTCP stands out from the other shows here as the show was in the format of a stand up comedy routine , but the show dealt with very serious subject matter, e.g. political corruption, famine, world debt, etc..
Show highlight: Arranging the Menwith Hill, hot air balloon tour company (book early).What happened next: Mark Thomas took his show on tour last year , and is likely to do so again in the near future. Due to the chronological relevance of satire, its unlikely that the old shows will get repeated or released for sale, and Mark has "parted company" with the shows' production company, however, a one off show is coming to Channel 4 on the 31st of January. 7:30.PM.Mark also writes for the New Statesman .
JamSeries made: 1
Stars: Chris Morris, Sally Phillips, Kevin Eldon
Another Chris Morris production surrounded in controversy , but incredibly funny for those with a 'dark' sense of humor. It evolved from the Radio 1 show 'Blue Jam', to become Jam and 'Jaaaaam'.
Show highlight: The Mr Bentham: Lost Wallet sketch, i.e. "Help yourself to a show wire."What happened next: Morris made his Brass Eye Special (see above) and now looks likely to never appear on TV again. Sally went on to make Smack the Pony. The surreal nature of Jam means that a DVD release seems unlikely, but in a few years time, peoples attitudes and tastes may have changed enough for a TV station to air it again.