Saturday, 15 May 2010

Mr Don and Mr George

In case my last post seemed a little negative and critical, here's something joyous and wonderful. I see that Channel 4 have posted large amounts of their archive on Youtube, including this one treasure that had a considerable effect on me, Mr Don and Mr George. It was a spin-off series from the sketch show Absolutely, and starred Moray Hunter and Jack Docherty, who also both wrote it.

The show was transmitted in 1993, when I was about 18 (and a serious comedy geek). I totally loved it and the show demonstrated to me what was possible comedically in the modern era. Pythons, Goons and Goodies are all great, but they were all some time ago (even in 1993). I wanted something that was positive, genial, silly and knock-about. And I found it in Mr Don and Mr George. Lots of wordplay, daft, self-defeating conversations and surreal turns. The plots made sense, but it wasn't about the story - much more about the gags. Perhaps this was the problem with the show (though not for me) and why it never quite got a big enough audience. That said, I seem to remember it was scheduled for Friday night at 10.35pm - and this sort of comedy never really seemed suited to the slot (although Paul Merton had had some success in that slot a few years earlier - when Paul Merton was a superstar and was on Have I Got News for Your wearing a T-Shirt saying 'Turn over at 11'). It's worth nothing that Mr D & Mr G, this much forgotten jewel, was broadcast two or three years before Father Ted and, I believe, paved the way. I'd be interested to hear the views of others on this subject.

I taped the episodes off the TV onto a VHS back in 1993, and then a few years ago scrubbed them by mistake. The realisation I'd lost them was awful at the time, as I was pretty sure they wouldn't be re-released on DVD. And they haven't been. But they are on Youtube. Joy of joys. Go see.

6 comments:

  1. Australian gentleman clicks on link, gets this message: "This video contains content from Channel 4, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

    Grrr.

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  2. I too was thrilled to see Mr D & Mr G had reappeared. Although never a fan of Absolutely, this spin-off became a firm favourite for its short life. Perhaps because it had just enough realism and believability to draw me in. Sitcoms /sketch shows that are purely ridiculous / silly / surreal never quite work for me, however funny they may be.

    For years I'd used the phrase "Correct me if I'm incorrect", but had forgotten where I'd picked it up. Mystery solved...

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  3. It is indeed wonderful that this largely forgotten gem has been placed on YouTube, the humour and wordplay was far ahead of its time and - in my view - was much sharper than Father Ted in my view. My pre-recorded VHS tape has worn over the years, but the humour hasn't - it's just as good now as it ever was, I wish they'd release this on DVD as they did with the complete Absolutely series...sigh.

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  4. This was one of my favourite comedy programmes. I loved the Absolutely series and have recently purchased them. Mr Don and Mr George remain in my VHS collection but these tapes won't last forever. I think we should start a movement to get them transferred onto DVD, there must be enough people out there to make it financially viable.

    I have also recently purchased the Chance in a Million series n DVD - cracking stuff!

    PPP, Preston, England

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  5. :( One of the few times i am frustraited living in australia. Ill need to wait i think until my next trip overseas. Still am of the firm beleif that UK humour is by far the best in the world. Especially some of these 70s to 90s shows.

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  6. Probably the best 140 minutes of comedy made in my lifetime. Definitely channels the Goons, Goodies and Python but with added Scottishness(?). Surely one of the most underrated series ever?

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