Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Glimpses of Talent from the Vaults of TV Comedy

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Glimpses of Talent from the Vaults of TV Comedy

Article excerpt

Byline: Outside the box GARETH LIGHTFOOT

TV SHOWS don't always make it. Some last one series if they're lucky then they're left to cult audiences to seek out the DVDs. Others don't last beyond a pilot episode, leaving only a tantalising glimpse of what might have been.

Comedy Vaults (BBC2) was a cut above the usual clips show (and thankfully marshalled better talking heads than Geordie Shore alumni and Dappy from N-Dubz).

It unearthed a few unseen, hidden or neglected treasures from the vaults as part of the channel's 50th anniversary celebrations.

This might seem a bit rich considering the Beeb wiped swathes of classic television back in the Sixties - lots of old Doctor Who was destroyed, and most of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Not Only... But Also was lost forever.

The show seemed to tacitly acknowledge this in a few scathing words from Eric Idle. But let's let bygones be bygones.

The comic colossus figure of Peter Cook featured repeatedly.

Both Pete and Dud's final public performance, unseen since 1974, and a comedy special in Cook's later years about Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling, one of his best characters, beg to be broadcast again in full.

Likewise Black Safari, a 1972 mockdocumentary decades ahead of its time. Viewers, or at least TV executives, were clearly not ready for this explorers spoof following "four Africans alone in savage Lancashire, charting the tribes of England".

Straight-faced, they interviewed bemused housewives and gave a hilariously un-PC description of a hippy before concluding: "My God. This is an awful place."

I definitely wanted to see more than snippets of the adventures of investigative reporter Kevin Turvey (manic Young Ones-era Rik Mayall), and Ronnie Barker's family of Welsh gamblers in I'll Fly You For A Quid had potential, if not a snappy title. …

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