Great comedy comes from taking risks

Published on 15 February 2009 in , , , ,

I mentioned the other week that I was in the process of digitising my VHS collection, to see what interesting things I could find for prosperity.

So far, I’ve found lots of random trailers for random programmes I’ve never heard of and will probably never hear of again. This included a quick promo for a prime time programme on BBC Two on the history of the potato from 1990. Somehow I can’t imagine that these days.

More interesting was a trailer from 1996 when the BBC was doing another of it’s “the licence fee is great cos it gives you things no one else would” campaigns.

This one extolled the virtues of BBC comedy, and features Reeves and Mortimer present a series of spoof trailers for “Detective in a Wheelbarrow” and “Poldark on Mopeds”.

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It’s a great trailer – especially the bit for “Three Blokes In A Bathtub” (absolutely not inspired by Last of the Summer Wine at all…)

It’s also interesting to watch now, in the cold light of day following the whole Russell Brand affair.

The trailer tells us that the BBC believes great comedy comes from taking risks, and that it allows writers and performers to take them.

No risk, no great comedy.

There was a belief during “Brandgate” that the BBC had gone far to far – completely off the rails. That it never took risks before. But as this trailer reminds us, the BBC’s been taking risks with comedy for years.