A compilation of the best bits from the first series of the Fast Show, including Ted and Ralph, Channel 9 News, Unluck Alf, coughing Bob Fleming, Ron Manager and many more. Paul Whitehouse stars.
Built up from sketch ideas rejected when they were working on Harry Enfield and Chums
, Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson conceived The Fast Show
as a lean, protein-packed comedy package. The idea was to cut the essence of sketches and characters without undue build-up--hence the high number of catchphrases the show yielded. "Suits you, sir", "Brilliant!", "You ain't seen me, right?" and even "Chris Waddle" were all quickly established in 1994's opening series, whose highlights are on this video. Despite its relentless verbal riffing, slapstick and gleeful use of four-letter words, such as Whitehouse's "Arse!"-grunting sidekick to Coughing Bob Fleming, there's a very knowing subtlety about The Fast Show
and a freshness to the subject matter. "Channel Neus", the skit on the TV station of indeterminate foreign origin is very cleverly turned, as is Whitehouse's incomprehensible pre-war comedian Arthur "Where's me washboard?" Atkins, while the sketch in which old man Unlucky Alf walks up a road and falls down a hole is, although it may not appear so on paper, a mini-comedy masterclass. Then, there's the perverse pathos of young landowner Ralph's infatuation for his elderly gardener, Ted. This pair are the least "Fast", yet possibly best characters on the show. --David Stubbs