It hardly needs spelling out that The Comic Strip Presents
kick-started the careers of the bulk of our alternative comedians. Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer, French and Saunders, Peter Richardson, Keith Allen--all started here.
The series is the very definition of a mixed bag. Each show was a separate story in its own right, and each one couldnt be more different from the last--from the sixties pastiche The Bullshitters to the arty Les Dogs (starring Kate Bush, no less).
With 39 episodes to choose from, the overall quality of the episodes does vary somewhat. For every excellent South Atlantic Raiders and The Supergrass, theres a woeful Spaghetti Hoops. But The Comic Strip Presents
deserves its place in comic history by virtue of being different, by trying to create new and interesting work, and in doing so being truly groundbreaking.
When you take risks, you end up with gems such as the double header of Bad News Tour and More Bad News, which follow a chronically bad rock group on the road. These two episodes alone are worth your attention, the interplay of the four leading players (Edmondson, Planer, Mayall and Richardson) a marvel to watch and with scenes that will make you keel over--Vim Fuegos take on Imagine/Imogen is pure gold.
Other highlights include Five Go Mad In Dorset, a wonderful take on Enid Blytons skewed and irreverant view of teenagers in Britain; Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, which sees Mayall and Edmondson, in a precursor to their days on Bottom, getting themselves in a sticky situation with Mr Jolly, played brilliantly by the late Peter Cook; and Strike!, a Hollywood-esque take on the miners strike of 1984.
The Comic Strip Presents
pushed comedic boundaries and was never afraid to do things a little differently and this collection is a fine record of its prolific, always interesting, and often hilarious output.--Mark Oakley
All thirty-nine episodes of the ground-breaking 1980s British comedy series, which launched the careers of Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson, Rik Mayall and Alexei Sayle, among others. 'Five Go Mad in Dorset' is a satirical send-up of the Enid Blyton stories. 'War' sees the Warsaw Pact countries invading Britain. In 'The Beat Generation', middle-class Desmond (Edmondson) invites a group of beatniks to his house while his parents are away. 'Bad News Tour' introduces the feeble heavy metal band and their quest for rock glory. 'Summer School' sees a group of students forced to fend for themselves in an Iron Age community. 'Five Go Mad on Mescalin' sees the gang getting caught up in slightly more sinister adventures. In 'Dirty Movie', a sleazy cinema owner tries to find some privacy to watch his latest porno film. 'Susie' sees a bored schoolteacher's life enlivened when a rock star moves to her sleepy village. 'A Fistful of Travellers' Cheques' is a Spaghetti Western spoof, following two deluded Western fans on a fantasy journey into the 'Old West', via British Rail, two female Australian backpackers, and a vicious mass-killer who dresses like a matador. 'Gino' follows an ordinary man who is framed for murder by a psychotic housewife. In 'Eddie Monsoon - A Life?', the repulsive South African TV presenter is followed by a documentary film crew. 'Slags' is set in a strange post-apocalyptic world, where rival street gangs the Slags and the Hawaiians battle for supremacy. 'The Bullshitters' follows the attempt by two inept detectives to rescue their guv'nor's kidnapped daughter. In 'The Supergrass', a compulsive liar finds his tall tales are believed by the police. 'Consuela' is a spoof gothic melodrama, about a young bride who is at the mercy of her ruthless Spanish maid. 'Private Enterprise' sees two small-time conmen decide to pass themselves off as successful rock stars. 'The Strike' brings a Hollywood touch to the Miners' Strike, starring Al Pacino (Richardson) as Arthur Scargill and Meryl Streep (Jennifer Saunders) as his long-suffering wife. 'More Bad News' follows the band on their reunion tour, five years after splitting up. In 'Mr Jolly Lives Next Door', Nicholas Parsons gets embroiled in a scam by two drunken escort agency workers. 'The Yob' is a sci-fi spoof, where a pretentious video director has his brain swapped with a football hooligan's in a freak accident. In 'Didn't You Kill My Brother?', a convicted killer is released from prison only to meet the evil twin who framed him. 'Funseekers' sees a group of young people arrive in Ibiza for the holiday of a lifetime. In 'South Atlantic Raiders (Part I)', a young man sets off to rescue the woman he loves, thinking she is trapped in the Falklands with the Argentinians poised to invade once more. 'South Atlantic Raiders (Part II)' sees his worst fears confirmed, as he stumbles into an invasion plot by a group of renegade Argentinian officers. 'GLC' sees Charles Bronson (Robbie Coltrane) playing Ken Livingstone, in an epic Hollywood production about his attempt to stop Margaret Thatcher (Saunders) from executing the Prince of Wales. In 'Oxford', two female students find themselves practising deception to get onto an English Literature course at the university. 'Spaghetti Hoops' sees a bank chairman avoiding two incompetant hitmen after embezzling millions. 'Les Dogs' sees an upper-class wedding turn into a war zone. 'Red Nose of Courage' follows the career of John Major (Edmondson), leaving his family of circus entertainers to become Prime Minister. 'The Crying Game' follows the fortunes of a wannabe football star. In 'Wild Turkey', a family are held hostage by their Christmas dinner. 'Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown' sees the inept detectives caught up in a 1970s-style murder investigation. 'Space Virgins From the Planet Sex' sees secret agent James Blond (Richardson) use his non-PC ways to stop a group of beautiful female aliens. 'Queen of the Wild Frontier' follows two escaped convicts on the run. 'Gregory - Diary of a Nutcase' is the record of an aspiring serial killer. 'Demonella' sees a music producer sell his soul to the devil for fame and fortune. In 'Jealousy', a husband is driven mad by his suspicion of his wife. 'Four Men in a Car' follows four salesmen on the way to a conference. Finally, 'Four Men in a Plane' sees the salesmen crash-land in the desert, where they are forced to fend for themselves.