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Radio 1 has generally had little faith in its comedy output. It tends to mistrust speech comedy, seeing it as an intrusion - it is, after all, a music station, dammit. Comedy has its place on the airwaves, but it mustn't get in the way of that exclusive live set by The Chemical Brothers. It has always been this way, of course - from Kenny Everett to Chris Morris, Radio 1 has reluctantly opened its doors to comedian/DJ hybrids, but has shirked away from speech comedy itself. This is a depressing situation, for reasons we'll come onto, but it's also a bizarre stance to take. Why? Because in the brief period (let's say 1988-93) when Radio 1 dared to experiment, it produced some of the finest radio comedy ever broadcast. Masterpieces from that era include Lee & Herring's Fist Of Fun, Victor Lewis Smith, Loose Talk, and, most valuable and under-rated of all, The Mary Whitehouse Experience.

The Mary Whitehouse Experience was developed following Hey Rrradio!!!, which began in 1988. Hosted by Patrick Marber, Hey Rrradio!!! was Radio 1's first foray into speech comedy, and naturally enough had an unadventurous brief: it simply attempted to capture the current stand-up scene, and set its microphones up at comedy venue The Woolwich Tramshed in order to do this. It was a fresh and likeable show, largely due to its no-nonsense format and intimate setting. It was also fortunate that the late 1980s saw a particularly good crop of stand-up comedians, all trying out their acts at a time before stand-up became the career-based, audience-pleasing occupation of the wannabe rock star that it is today. Nick Hancock opened the first show, and subsequent editions featured Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, Phil Cornwell, Jo Brand (then going under the pseudonym 'The Sea Monster'), and John Hegley, who appeared each week with his backing group The Popticians.

The main weakness was Marber, who was totally unsuited to the kind of avuncular showmanship that the role of compere (even in a raucous stand-up environment) demanded. His delivery was often excruciatingly badly-timed and he seemed constantly nervous. However, this may have had something to do with the fact that he wasn't using his own material - most of it was written by two young stand-ups moonlighting as comedy writers: David Baddiel and Rob Newman.

When Hey Rrradio!!! had run its course, Radio 1 decided to develop a comedy series which would not only showcase comedians, but also possess an in-house style and shape of its own. Baddiel and Newman had agents behind them, and had done their stint at Week Ending and Spitting Image. Punt and Dennis had done the same, and were also familiar as performers following their work on Carrott Confidential and knew how to work under pressure following their (needlessly) live Radio 4 series Live On Arrival. These four were viewed as talented, but - more to the point - reliably so, capable of providing good quality topical material on demand. It was clear that they would dominate the team. Mark Thomas and Jo Brand were brought in on the understanding that they would perform guest-spots to break up the show. A musical interlude was also planned, courtesy of duo Skint Video. This eight-strong team became the show's first line-up.

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Bill Dare (son of actor Peter Jones) produced the untransmitted pilot, and the first two series. The first open-ended run began on 7 April 1989 and the slot, indicative of Radio 1's cynicism about the project, was midnight on Fridays. From its early episodes, few of the contributors involved had much faith in it (Dennis didn't give up his day job at an aerosol factory until the second series), and it was clear there was little planning regarding the content of the show. They agreed that the show should be topical, but this was largely because this was a genre of which they had the most experience, and it seemed natural to continue this way until they found their feet. The show's title was merely a collection of unconnected words (in the spirit of Monty Python's Flying Circus), although the inclusion of Mrs Whitehouse's name perhaps hinted that the show would wear its controversy on its sleeve. In fact, the use of the name aroused genuine fears at the BBC that Whitehouse may take legal action; so much so that, in one early show, Baddiel recorded an alternate version of the theme music and end credits as 'The William Rees-Mogg Experience'. Steve Punt shrugged off the fears, telling the audience that 'basically, she hasn't got a case', but Bill Dare was unconvinced, confessing that 'I'm more scared of Mary Whitehouse than I am of Steve Punt'. This alternative title was in fact never used, although the substitution of other words or constructions ('The Crime Experience', 'The School Experience') quickly became a useful gimmick for the show, allowing their fusions of sketch and stand-up to be presented under very clear banners.

The programme's theme music (adapted from Hithouse's then-current acid house track, 'Jack To The Sound Of The Underground') began with the words 'Picture this...a recording studio far, far away'. Hithouse had then announced 'It's time for house', but on the show they got as far as 'It's time for...' before Baddiel announced: 'The Mary Whitehouse Experience!' The show generally opened with Baddiel doing a quick opening gag, before introducing a round-up of the week's news from Punt and Dennis. Aside from the independent stand-up sets from Thomas and Brand (and Skint Video's song), the programme usually featured a couple of routines from the two double acts. These were generally less topical, although they were generally inspired by a news story. Such routines usually involved Punt or Baddiel delivering stand-up material, which would then link into sub-sketches involving the other performers. There was also 'The Punchline Competition', where the studio audience would scribble answers to a question put to them before the recording. At the close of the show, the entire team would take part in a finale number - in the first series, this was an excellent sitcom parody called 'All Cosy At Home In The Family House'. Each show was recorded, on the Wednesdays before transmission, at The Paris (the BBC's old radio theatre) in London's Lower Regent Street.

The presentation of the show was innovative: rather than ending each section with applause, Dare decided instead to insert stings of the theme music between each segment. To that end, the listener could leave Baddiel's routine at a strong punchline, and immediately arrive bang in the middle of Thomas' set. The effect was almost like a stylus landing randomly at various points on an LP, and this technique gave the show a perfect balance between anarchy and care. This device was an original and honest one: Dare was making no secret of the fact that a thirty-minute radio show is essentially a compilation of the best bits from a long recording session, and he evidently believed it should be presented as such.

However, the main revolutionary factor in The Mary Whitehouse Experience was the content itself, which was unlike any other comedy being broadcast at that time. Many inferior comedy shows have claimed to exhibit 'a sense of danger', but - with The Mary Whitehouse Experience - such a claim was credible. This wasn't so much to do with the level of profanities in each show (although there were many - the liberated references to masturbation, cancer and The Royal Family were genuinely ground-breaking), but more to do with the atmosphere of the programme. It was dominated by an extraordinary feeling of cynicism and contempt for the world, most notably from Baddiel, with his bellowing delivery and habit of over-stressing words for which he had no time (a device he admits he 'stole wholesale' from Nick Hancock). The main joy with Baddiel's contributions was his clear contempt for the idea of commenting on news events, expressing - through sneering alone - his obvious dismay for the stories' lack of impact on his own life. (Unlike other comedians of the time, Baddiel never pretended to give a fuck about the Ambulance Workers' dispute.) Punt was also capable of credible vitriol, but his main asset was the quality of his writing, which was polished and densely-constructed without ever being stale or forced. Newman and Dennis were superb as actors or impressionists, their performances demonstrating a complete understanding of (and enthusiasm for) the scripts. Being the first show of its kind on BBC radio, it got away with risqué material simply because there was no code of conduct explaining what was and wasn't acceptable. With no publicity, and very little audience feedback, the only tactic was to broadcast and be damned.

In the end, Mark Thomas and Jo Brand didn't simply perform their stand-up acts. Instead, they developed personae which gave their sections a style of their own. Thomas would discuss a topical issue before thrusting a radio mic into audience members' faces and asking their opinions. If they failed to respond, Thomas was not backward with his anger ('You thick bastards!'). Brand presented 'The Press Review Experience', where she took a different magazine each week and poured scorn over it. This section was evidently co-written by Baddiel (reviewing Metal Hammer, she spoke of Led Zeppelin's Greatest Achievements - 'Bringing the potato to England, inventing the wheel, and standing up for an hour in 1981'), but Brand's early stage voice - a deadpan rise-and-fall delivery, enlikened to a newsreader reading out football scores, which she later claimed was a result of her nervousness with the audience - lended itself to the material very well, creating a stage character that seemed genuinely psychotic and bitter. Skint Video usually took a pop song and sung it with new lyrics pertaining to topical events - they were usually appalling, but their enthusiasm (and brevity) made their presence in the show largely inoffensive

The second show of the first series captures the state of play at this time, and features a sketch about J.R. Hartley (of Yellow Pages fame) who had gone into hiding after receiving a fatwa, Rushdie-like, following his publication of his book on fly-fishing. What made this item work so well is not so much the idea itself, but the confidence with which it's performed and the tightness with which the team deal with a silly idea. Here, an interviewer (Punt) interrogates Hartley (Dennis) on his actions:


INTERVIEWERNow people have said, Mr Hartley, that you deliberately inserted the section about snap-reel casting rods, knowing that it would incite the Ayatollah and therefore create publicity for your book.

HARTLEY Er...who's been saying that?

INTERVIEWER Roald Dahl.

HARTLEY I refuse to be vilified by a type of Indian food.

INTERVIEWER Are you going to apologise to the millions of Muslims who are, at present, baying for your blood?

HARTLEY No-oooo, I'm going to put an advert in The Koran that says 'The Ayatollah is a poof'. Of course I'm bloody going to apologise.

INTERVIEWERAnd where are you going to hide?

HARTLEY 19 Berry Lane, Codicut. (Pause) Oh bugger.


What's delightful about this exchange is the sheer obviousness of it, coupled with Punt and Dennis' obvious disinterest in the news story itself. They take relish in the I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again-esque pun, and with the genuine shock-value of certain lines (calling the Ayatollah a poof seemed dangerous in 1989, even if it clearly wasn't a problem for the BBC). The rushes of this show indicate that the recording sessions weren't as reckless as the edited shows suggest, with the team professionally canning the episode within 50 minutes. However, they also reveal Dare's skills as an editor, with many surplus lines being pruned without ever losing any amusing incongruities.

However, the real spirit of the show was in the less topical sections, where the team dealt with more empirical material. By far the strongest routine in the first series was 'The Exam Experience'. Dennis parodied the exam technique of filling up four sides when you only know two facts ('English people produced various goods which they exported - primarily overseas...'), and the pair demonstrated an insight into realistic biology practicals:


DENNIS Object of experiment - to mix the mauve stuff with the smelly yellow stuff. We put the mauve stuff into a test-tube and held it over a Bunsen burner. The test tube broke. Er...so we poured some on the desk, to see what it would do. The desk disintegrated, half the class are now blinded, and I'm writing this with my one remaining hand.


The first series continued into the summer of 1989, although it often disappeared occasionally and was replaced with repeats (reasons for which remain unclear). After a brief absence, it returned on the August with a second series, destined to run for nine shows until 6 October. The timeslot remained the same, although certain cast changes were made. Nick Hancock stepped into Mark Thomas' shoes, and Donna MacPhail replaced Jo Brand as the token female performer. (The show on 1 September, however, was performed to a lukewarm crowd at The Edinburgh Festival, and saw Thomas and Brand momentarily reunited with the team.) Skint Video were occasionally present, although The Tracy Brothers (a far funnier duo) often appeared instead. Generally, the style was the same, although the performances seemed more confident and there was thankfully less emphasis on topical satire. Instead of All Cosy At Home, each show ended either with a game of Dungeons and Dragons or with an interactive Murder Weekend spoof, and this allowed for an increase in improvisation and audience participation.

By now, the vitriol and cynicism was flowing, and some of the show's finest moments can be found in this second series. The 'Character Assassination Experience' (pioneered in the first series) became sillier, with an entire routine dedicated to Terry Wogan's baldness - a sketch which seemed, very subtly, to making fun of the sheer pointlessness of such an attack (Baddiel barked that Wogan had changed the title of his one hit 'The Floral Dance' from its original title, 'Alright I'm Bald'). Routines like 'The Pub Experience' were evidently born out of a genuine hatred for aspects of modern life, with Baddiel declaring that 'No one actually likes beer - that's because it tastes of sick'. Other sketches questioned why our planet 'has such a crap name' and parodied the pomposity of party conference speeches ('It can have escaped nobody's attention that my trousers are brown...'). The 'Murder Weekend' routines were hilarious, and showed the team working brilliantly with the hysterical audience.

The third series, which ran for twelve shows from 6 January 1990, marked two important changes. Firstly, the show now went out at 10:30pm on Saturdays (with a same-week repeat in its old time-slot), which seemed to indicate that the BBC had new confidence in the series. Secondly, it marked Bill Dare's departure as producer, following the third show. Dare's replacement was Armando Iannucci, then producer of Week Ending and The News Quiz. Iannucci brought a new spin to the show - the series began to exhibit a more 'candid' feel (with fluffs, corpses and audience interruptions kept in the edit), in stark contrast to Dare's attempt at a flawless package. This decision was in response to the mood of the studio audience, who turned up every week and, quite rightly, saw themselves as part of the programme.

The regular supporting cast disintegrated, and many disparate performers (among them Jack Dee, Rebecca Front, Doon MacKichan, Mark Hurst and Tim Firth) made up the numbers. Some of the female performers later complained about the treatment on the show - MacKichan called then 'insulting', whilst a more conciliatory Front merely echoed Donna MacPhail's irritation that there was very little to do. The fact that they were often asked to impersonate Mrs Thatcher was also a source of conflict. Meanwhile, Mark Thomas returned for several shows, and The Tracy Brothers appeared more regularly.

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Skint Video                                                      The Tracy Brothers

This helped promote the core Baddiel/Newman/Punt/Dennis line-up as the drive behind the show, although each of them were absent for at least one programme and the dynamic within the team consequently changed in interesting ways: the show without Punt and Dennis was notably darker than the others, whereas the one without Baddiel seemed to be low on ideas. The one without Newman, however, was up to the same standard.

The opening show, however, landed Dare in trouble with Radio 1. As a new 'finale' feature, he'd given a go-ahead to a game of 'Shag Or Die' at the close of the show ('Would you rather shag Robert Robinson or meet your death?'). The problems surrounding this remains obscure, but the item was curiously absent from the midnight repeat, and it is not clear whether this contributed to Dare's departure two weeks later. The uncensored version was reviewed unfavourably by Martin Cropper in The Times:

Quite honestly, the stuff that gets broadcast these days is, to borrow Bill Bryson's judicious simile, as thick as pig dribble. A virago of brain-dead prattle, the opening programme artlessly insulted the likes of Linda McCartney and Leon Britten, and purported to involve Ian Paisley and Jimmy Saville in some kind of sexual lottery. There were contraceptive jokes and cocaine jokes and other queasy injections of social comment, à la Ben Elton. (The Times, 13 January 1990)

Delighted by this, the team got Nick Hancock to read it out on air. He then parodied Cropper by reading out the 'second paragraph':


HANCOCK I'd also like to say that Iran is a shit-hole, Mohammed is bent, and President Rafzanjani's mother - to borrow Bill Bryson's judicious phrase - does it for money.


The third series remains the zenith of The Mary Whitehouse Experience . The shows are punchy, sarcastic, and beautifully written. The topical material was on its way out, and the team got stuck into broader topics and personal obsessions. Particularly noteworthy is this section on the subject of Shakespeare:


PUNT This week, the Royal Shakespeare Company announced that they were going to have to close down for four months. (Pause) Good. Shakespeare's 400-year old plays are one of those things that not only survive but actually get propped up by the taxpayer for exactly the same reason that Prince Charles thinks we should all live in thatched cottages - the thoroughly British obsession with the idea that 'If it's old, it must be good'.

DENNIS This idea is demonstrably untrue - look at the repeats of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, look at most High Court judges, look at the Austin Maxi. The same goes for 400-year old things - look at bubonic plague, look at public executions, look at the Austin Maxi.

PUNT Shakespeare has achieved that most coveted of cultural privileges, that of being something that no one actually likes but everyone has to pretend they do - like opera, or Tracy Chapman. Unbelievably tedious, but ideological heresy to say so.

DENNIS Mind you, you have to feel a bit sorry for the actors who'll be thrown out of work by the RSC's decision. After all, there are very few jobs that a trained Shakespearean performer can do very well.

FX: Station announcement 'bing-bong' sound

PUNT (As a British Rail guard) The train now standing at platform four is the 11:46 to Manchester Piccadilly. It will call at Watford. (Pause) Fair Watford, nestled in hills and pastures green - jewel of South Hertfordshire, thou most favoured of nature's counties...

DENNIS (As an angry commuter) Get on with it!

PUNT It will call at Rugby. Thou saucy city of sporting namesake's fame, whose title doth echo far and wide wherever men do play that noble game...Birmingham International. Change here for the National Exhibition Centre, vast halls for display of wares wonderful, Birmingham New Street. Stafford...my lord Stafford sayest thou, 'Hah! I jest, my friends!'. And Manchester Picc...oh shit, the train's gone.


Like most Mary Whitehouse Experience material, it loses a lot on the page - one really has to hear Punt's use of stress and po-faced delivery to get the full benefit of his attack. But, in that short extract, the script has clearly been edited diligently, and much of the wording ('most coveted of cultural privileges') is unusual in its snappy erudition.

The material has clearly been worked on with great care, with even the most kicking, throwaway observations appearing resolutely unrushed. Take this parody of the then American president George Bush's poor use of English (Dennis plays the president; Punt plays his advisor):


PUNT Good morning, sir.

DENNISThis is indeed the pre-midday period, though I withhold judgement on its goodity or its baditude.

PUNTEr...would you like some breakfast, sir?

DENNISAs regards the breakfastational issue, I am convinced that - nourishmentally and tastewise - the boiled egg option is what made America great.


There was often a fantastic juxtaposition between 'proper' comedy sketch writing, and messy improvisation: some sequences (e.g. The English defeating Napoleon by showing him a huge photo of him when he was five years old, or a Grand Prix driver being told by a pit-stop mechanic that he can 'have it done by Thursday') escalated very traditionally, while, elsewhere, proceedings appeared more brutish, such as when an audience member fell asleep during 'The Valentine Experience', or when a drunk tramp interrupted The Punchline Competition ('Yeah, I enjoyed the last series of Catweazle as well...'). Indeed, it was in The Punchline Competition that the real essence of the show could be found, with the performers relishing the opportunity to sneer at those who hadn't risen to the challenge:


THOMAS How did they break the news to the British tennis team that the Whiteman Cup has been scrapped? 'I could be worse - you could have worked at Sellafield'. It doesn't even make sense grammatically, does it?!

BADDIEL I think that's meant to 'It could be worse'...

THOMASNo, but there's no 't'! There's no 't'!

BADDIELYeah, I know there's no 't', but use your imagination, mate...y'know...

THOMASIt's an 'I'! An 'I'!

BADDIEL No, come back...

THOMASAnd that's from Simon Tuff. (Reads next one) 'The cup won't be won by unranked Americans this year'. (Awkward laughter) It's the same bloke!

BADDIEL (Corpses) Simon Tuff?

THOMAS Simon...Simon Tuff! Where's Simon Tuff? Which one are you? (Audience members point him out) Simon...you're pathetic!

SIMON TUFF (Shouting from audience) There's another one in there yet!

THOMAS Oh there's another one there to come? Oh goody goody!

BADDIEL No there isn't - we've scrapped that one before we even got this far, Simon.

SIMON TUFF (Cheerily) It gets worse!

(Embarrassed silence)

BADDIEL Yeah, well done mate, and er...(Rides laughter) we hope you do as well.


The winner was eventually someone who had thought of 'By Braille', and had written his name on the card in a series of raised dots. 'For those of you at home,' said Thomas, rubbing the card up against the microphone...

The third series saw other developments. One was to send the team on the streets of London with a tape machine and ask people if they had heard of the show. Few people had, but the responses they received ('I haven't heard it so I can't make no comment') amused the audience greatly. Another idea was to close the show by ringing out on a phone line: the team began by phoning the BBC complaints department and getting the 300-strong audience to shout 'Little and Large are rubbish!', and later tried phoning some chat lines or simply calling people who had left their numbers the preceding week. This proved so successful that Baddiel and Newman presented a one-off 60-minute show, Dave And Rob's Comedy Phone In on 12 July.

The final show on the 24 March was presented as the final show of all time, largely due to the decision by the BBC to pilot the show for television. In fact, the swansong was misleading, as the team had no intention of ending their radio work there. They returned for a one-off special, recorded before a noisy crowd at the Glasgow Radio Festival, transmitted on the 5 July (Wednesday 10pm), the night England got knocked out of the World Cup semi-final. A fourth series was also pencilled in for later in the year, to be preceded by three compilations entitled Mary Whitehouse's Best Experiences So Far.

The television pilot, produced by Marcus Mortimer for Spitting Image Productions, was broadcast on BBC2 at 9pm on Wednesday 3 October 1990. The show looked fantastic - the opening titles (directed by Steve Bendelack) involved grainy, off-monitor footage of the team in the BBC's Acton rehearsal rooms, accompanied by a re-mixed version of the signature tune. (For some reason, the words 'recording studio' at the beginning were crudely changed to 'in a studio' - a strange decision, since a television studio is still a recording studio by any other name.)

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The set was futuristic, sparse and abstract, divided into several performance platforms together with revolving fans and a huge on-stage video screen. The content, however, was weak. Like most radio transfers, it lacked spontaneity and edge, with a general impression of things being over-rehearsed or re-shot too many times. The need to have costume changes for each sub-sketch was also a hindrance, as they detracted from the real essence of the comedy (i.e. the density of the script and the ease with which it was hitherto performed). The one saving grace was the 'Dungeons and Dragons' sequence, which did involve a degree of improvisation and audience participation, and there was an amusing running joke about an erotic drama being shown immediately after transmission. But the 'classic' routines about the Channel Tunnel, perversion and Saddam Hussein seemed stale when presented visually, and the decision to give an awkward-looking Doon MacKichan some Baddiel-penned stand-up lines was misjudged. In spite of this, a series was planned for the new year - a decision made by the BBC before audience response to the pilot had even been analysed.

The fourth radio series arrived on 20 October, running for nine shows until 15 December with a 'Best Of Series 4' compilation the week after. The timeslot was now 7pm on Saturdays (together with its usual Friday/midnight repeat), although this didn't affect the content of the show. There is no 'watershed' as such on radio, and the series retained its ability to shock: one sequence, attacking the BBC's Children In Need campaign, talked about how deprived children were always the nastiest and least deserving of charity, 'spending all day slamming a Pakistani's head into a paving stone and renting out their sobbing five year-old sisters to passing truck drivers'. The team also invited listeners to write in with their comments, and these were dutifully read out on air. This series, once again produced by Iannucci, had now ditched all pretence of being a topical satire show. When the news of Margaret Thatcher's resignation came through, the team simply did a long sketch about John Cole's coat. It was the tightest and most 'professional' of the four series, although the material didn't quite have the zest of series three, and the final few shows suggested that a degree of barrel-scraping was taking place. The core four performers now occupied most of the air-time: the only assistance coming from Mark Hurst (who performed a stand-up act in most shows) and The Tracy Brothers, who appeared occasionally. This meant a greater control of the content and shape of the series, and the team seemed to delight in intricately-woven running jokes. The finale sketches involved a trip to the Gulf to entertain the troops, and a spoof Christmas pantomime.

The first television series (six shows) was broadcast on Thursday nights at 9pm from 3 January 1991, again produced by Marcus Mortimer. The team were now clearly marketed as a foursome, with the exception of a couple of brief appearances from Nick Hancock, one of which had him as 'The Other One From Soft Cell'. The weaknesses were pretty much identical to those in the pilot, although there were further problems arising from the outbreak of the Gulf War. The BBC's ban on any comedy material relating to the conflict dented the credibility of the show: although it was scarcely a topical programme, its allusions to news events did make the absence of Saddam-quips very obvious. An attempt was made each week to do The Punchline Competition, but these proved disappointing due to the more business-like approach of the production crew and the restlessness of the audience, and these were cut out each time. On television, the constrictions of taste and time were detrimental, and the television series bore little resemblance to the radio masterpiece it once was. Of the four of them, only Dennis looked comfortable in front of the camera - Baddiel looked slightly embarrassed, Punt looked irritable, and Newman looked like he wasn't trying. Newman's decision to include, in every show. an impression of Shaw Taylor (a man who had stopped appearing on television at least two years earlier) also seemed to slow proceedings down a little. The studio audience did not seem to have a 'personality' in a way that they did on the radio, and they appeared to be laughing rather too obediently and unconditionally. The show's main concession to television at this stage was the use of doctored photographs (Madonna with a moustache, a thug's face on a picture of a 'Hard Ecu', etc), and these unfunny instances summed up the series' main flaw - they were now trying to get laughs from the cold jokes per se, rather than creating an atmosphere and attitude which was funny in itself.

(Although never present in the TV series, Mark Thomas' talent for assaulting the week's news was later expanded for Radio 1's Loose Talk, which began in October 1991. The first three series were produced by Armando Iannucci, and utilised the same 'cuts and stings' format as The Mary Whitehouse Experience, in addition to featuring a version of the Punchline Competition. Later editions also utilised the 'vox pop' idea.)

The second television series aired on BBC2 from 2 March 1992, once again running for six editions. By now, the two double-acts were very different, or at least were marketed as such: Baddiel and Newman's material was now 'darker' and more introspective (Newman creating a 'bedsit poet' persona, making his stand-up appear more lucidly theatrical) while Punt and Dennis' scripts were more pedestrian. This meant a faintly contrived and odd series, barely held together by any great theme, but it worked slightly better than the previous television shows. The show zipped along tightly, and was less reliant on re-heated radio material. They were also joined each week by Melanie Hudson, an actress with whom the team had never previously worked, who played all the female sketch parts.

The decision to include running characters was accidental. Dennis, dressed as the 'Strange Man' character, said 'Milky milky' as an ad lib simply because the camera's red light hadn't gone out, while the script for Baddiel and Newman's first 'History Today' routine was virtually identical to the original improvised version included on an audio tape given away with their first video (The Minutes Of The Parish Council Meeting, 1992). As we all know, these proved very lucrative accidents indeed. Baddiel and Newman also created 'Ray', a character whose only attribute was his sarcastic tone of voice - this was clearly influenced by Baddiel's in-built sneer and intended as some kind of satire on the Groucho Club mentality which they both despised, but the sketches inevitably seemed cheap and under-written. The 'Ivan' character was also quasi-satirical (this time attacking the banality of daytime TV presenters and their obsession with trivia), but this suffered from the same lack of subtlety, the duo coming across as pious, rather self-consciously arrogant figures.

One sequence ('The Lonely Experience') borrowed heavily from the cinema scene in Woody Allen's Annie Hall, and seemed - for all its arrogance - to work quite well. The embarrassing bits in this series, though, are the pieces of dialogue clearly shoehorned in by Baddiel and Newman from their unfinished novels, with both performers gabbling quickly over certain convoluted phrases. The references in some 'experience' titles, from literary sources like Dylan Thomas ('Do Not Go Gentle') and Anthony Burgess ('Real Horror Show Maskies On'), together with obscure rock quotations ('The Boy Looked At Mark', 'It Was Really Nothing') conveyed an adolescent feel which was as uncomfortable as it was phoney.

The series ended for good on 6 April. 'Ivan' introduced 'Richard Stillnotdead', a bizarre Stilgoe parody from Baddiel ('Some folks work up a lather/About that M25 palaver...') which presumably went over the heads of the audience by miles, but was hilarious possibly for this very reason.

For such an important and popular radio/TV show, it's very odd that none of it has been issued on CD or video. The closest we ever got was the three 'History Today' sketches included on Baddiel and Newman's second live video, released in November 1992. The reasons for this differ, depending on who you ask. Some maintain that much of it was too topical for latter day release, an opinion which demonstrates an ignorance about the actual contents of the programmes, not to mention a cynical view of the public's ability to comprehend things past and things present. BBC Enterprises have stated that the show was considered for release at one time, but was dropped due to 'objections from parties involved'.

The real reason appears to be Baddiel and Newman's agents, Avalon, well known in comedy circles as hustlers who understand the merits of comedy only if it shifts enough units so they can break even until the next tax year. Their big plan involved splitting the team so that their golden boys, now officially re-named 'Newman and Baddiel' to trip easily off journalists' tongues, could be primed for the burgeoning student market (to whom they fed constant lies concerning ticket, video and t-shirt sales), leaving Punt and Dennis to their own devices. The latter were handled by Phil McIntyre, and did about as well as Baddiel and Newman as far as popularity was concerned. (When Baddiel and Newman concluded a long gig at Leicester's De Montfort Hall in May 1992 by asking the audience if they had any questions, one girl shouted 'Where are the two funny ones?', and was greeted by applause.) However, because Punt and Dennis had less references to ephemeral indie bands and had no desire to re-invent themselves as teen icons, journalists blindly, nastily, and ignoramously cited as 'the crap ones from The Mary Whitehouse Experience'.

Avalon were quick to use the 'Mary Whitehouse Experience' label as PR for their artistes (the first live video, released in March 1992, had the words 'From The Mary Whitehouse Experience' in far larger type than the name of the two comedians), but they predictably vetoed any release of material from the show itself. Baddiel and Newman were still using 'old Mary Whitehouse stuff', and Avalon did not wish fans to hear such material on a BBC cassette before they had forked out money on one of their expensive videos. The fact that the BBC radio shows were a million times better was neither here nor there: Avalon were concerned with 'product', which had to be released under their own banner. Hugh Dennis, in a very revealing Andrew Collins-penned article about the emerging comedy business in Select ('Comedy Babylon', March 1993), angrily said: 'What the fuck is product? We're not product! We try to be funny. The idea of product makes my flesh creep.'

Baddiel and Newman's live videos were enjoyable (particularly the first one, recorded in July 1991 before audience sycophancy had had time to fester, with strong sets from both performers and a shambolic, improv-heavy finale), but they quickly became fragmented affairs, ruined by poor editing. The rushes of the second video, recorded in August 1992, showed so much repetition of material from the first video that the editor had to include 'passing of time' fade-outs during Baddiel's routine to cover up the edits, and this rather gave the impression that the viewer was watching a publicists' image of a comedian rather than a true stand-up set. The nadir came with the Live And In Pieces At Wembley video, a 60-minute rush-release edit of their show at Wembley Arena. The Avalon blurb described this as a 'sell-out show', despite the fact that the venue was barely half full. They also made a travesty of what was already a below-par performance from both comedians. (see EDIT NEWS / NEWMAN & BADDIEL for full details). Punt and Dennis also released a live video and a novelty single ('Take Me To The Fridge (Milky Milky)' by Mr Strange and Lactose Brotherhood, released on Pasteurized Records in 1993), both of which showed them in a poor light - needlessly playing up to imagined audience expectations despite possessing the talent and the fanbase to do much better.

And where are they now? Having exploited the teenage-girl market with a joyless solo stand-up tour and a straight-to-paperback novel, Dependence Day (Century, 1994), Rob Newman - who became 'Robert Newman' until he realised that no one had noticed - was probably a bit worried when this audience grew up, left university, bandaged their anorexic wrists, and decided they preferred Noel Fielding anyway. He dropped out of the business for a while, and left Avalon. Now he's back - a few pounds heavier and a few grand lighter, presenting a stand-up set containing alarmingly little new material, in addition to a largely-ignored second novel, Manners (Hamish Hamilton, 1998).

David Baddiel (often cited, by cunts, as 'the crap one from Newman and Baddiel') is a good Jewish boy done good. He presented the terminally likeable Fantasy Football League, wrote the excellent Time For Bed (Little, Brown, 1996) and eventually returned to stand-up, demonstrating on his recent live video (albeit once again spoilt by Avalon's editing) that he hadn't lost it. Baddiel has recognised that his talents lie in unpretentious, bread-and-butter, observational sarcasm, and it is in this that he truly excels. Unshackled from received pigeon-holing and publicity bumf, he is one of our best stand-ups: there are hundreds of ersatz Baddiels currently boring the comedy circuit rigid, but only the original Baddiel has the talent and persona to carry it off.

Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis did a few rather tepid TV series of their own (Me You And Him, The Imaginatively Titled Punt & Dennis Show) which almost played up to the middle-ground status that had been foisted on them, positioning them in direct opposition to Baddiel and Newman's pretentious, quasi-adolescent 1993 series Newman & Baddiel In Pieces (a show that would have been improved considerably if it had featured Hugh Dennis striding across the soundstage pretending to be an ostrich). But now they're back, with The Now Show, a topical comedy show for Radio 4, and It's Been A Bad Week, a topical comedy show for Radio 2. Neither are great shows, but their faults can be laid partly at the door of the networks, who are presumably working to a 'topical comedy' remit they feel obliged to fill. The good bits, principally the revival of The Punchline Competition, show Punt and Dennis to be as likeable as they ever were, if a little too cuddly.

Insiders claim that Radio 1 killed off speech comedy because it was 'too popular'. Whether this is true or not, the absence of speech comedy on the network has meant that future shows in a similar vein to The Mary Whitehouse Experience (too hip for Radio 4, too sweary for Radio 2) will no longer have a place on the airwaves. Radio 1 began to tolerate comedy only if it was mixed with their tiresome music quota in a 'DJ' format (Lee & Herring, The Chris Morris Music Show), but - by about 1997 - insisted that all comedy must be 'ambient', with sketches performed against easy-listening muzak or trendy dance tracks (Blue Jam, The League Against Tedium). Radios 2 and 4 are both now deluged with watered-down versions of Mary Whitehouse Experience-esque humour. The Mark Steel Revolution rips off Bill Dare's cuts-and-stings format, but unfortunately has Mark Steel in it. Dan Gaster and Paul Powell have been whoring themselves through various no-hope formats with their cod-Baddielian deliveries, serving up comedy which is shallow and laurel-resting in a way that The Mary Whitehouse Experience was playful and cocky. Such performers are permissible on Radio 4 because they remove what made The Mary Whitehouse Experience special: roughness, imperfection, true nastiness, a healthy contempt for the mere idea of doing a comedy show. As such, comedians like Mark Steel (once inoffensive stand-ups who knew their place) have become undeserved enfant terriblés of the airwaves, making Middle England chuckle into its washing-up. The weakest scripts become 'the funniest thing I've ever heard in my life - well done BBC' and the mildest profanities become 'indicative of falling moral standards'.

The Mary Whitehouse Experience was a masterpiece. Like all masterpieces, it deserves to be repeated but probably never will. We can only hope that the airwaves are open to similar ventures in the future. But, for now, why not write to the BBC Radio Collection and request that a CD is commissioned pretty damn soon: contact BBC Radio Collection, Room A3132, BBC Worldwide, Woodlands, 80 Wood Lane, London W12 0TT, or phone the head of the department, Vicky Edgar, on (0181) 576 2230. And while you're at it, write to Jonathan James-Moore, head of Radio Comedy for all networks, at BBC Broadcasting House, London W12 1AA and tell him to repeat the show. And, after you've done that, write to Jon Thoday at Avalon, 4a Exmoor Street, London W10 6BD, and tell him the rules have been changed...


EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW...

THE RADIO SERIES

43x30m, Radio 1
Series 1 (x12): 7 April-30 June 1989
Series 2/Summer season (x9): 11 August-6 October 1989
Series 3 (x12): 6 January-24 March 1990
Special: 5 July 1990
Series 4 (x9): 20 October-15 December 1990


SERIES ONE

12x30m
Broadcast 7 April-30 June 1989
Fri midnight
Selected repeats: July/August 1989

Cast details
David Baddiel (all shows)
Rob Newman (all shows)
Steve Punt (all shows)
Hugh Dennis (all shows)
Jo Brand (all shows)
Skint Video (all shows)
Mark Thomas (all except show 5)

Producer
Bill Dare (all shows)



SERIES 1, SHOW 1 (#1)
(Broadcast 7 April 1989)

Baddiel intro - 'You were fabulous last night...'*
Punt & Dennis - Breakfast service/Oil slick/Prince Harry/George Michael/Aftershave*
Shaw Taylor impression - Cheap car stereos
The Curse Of Paul Channon
Shaw Taylor impression - 'I was banned...'
Skint Video - Small World Caff
Jo Brand - Agony Aunt Experience (Girl magazine)
Football/Playground songs (South Bank Show parody)
Ben Elton impression, introducing:
Mark Thomas - Salman Rushdie/Blasphemy laws
The Education Experience
Shaw Taylor impression - 'I'm sixteen, I really am...'
Punchline Competition: 'What's the difference between Margaret Thatcher and Pamella Bordes?'
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (Pants/Jack Nicholson)

Additional cast: Jo Brand, Mark Thomas, Skint Video
Note: Introduced by Tommy Vance; Jo Brand advertises free tickets following credits
Note (2): * Items cut for repeat, July 1989


SERIES 1, SHOW 2 (#2)
(Broadcast 14 April 1989)

Baddiel Intro - Letter from Timothy Lawrence
Rob Newman - Shaw Taylor Impression (1)
'Fly-Fishing By JR Hartley' (Rushdie Parody)
Skint Video - Millwall's Right-On Football Chant
The Historico Political Experience
Johnny Morris impression, introducing:
Mark Thomas - Legalising Prostitution
The Character Assassination Experience - Derek Jameson
Jo Brand - Agony Aunt Experience
Rob Newman - Shaw Taylor Impression (2)
Punchline Experience (Letters To Princess Anne)
All Cosy At Home In The Family House ('The Granny')

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Jo Brand, Skint Video


SERIES 1, SHOW 3 (#3)
(Broadcast 21 April 1989)

Baddiel intro - 'It's been a very mild winter...'
Doctor Who Monsters Dispute
Gary Davies impression, introducing:
Skint Video - Morrissey parody
The Future of the Left
Paul Channon/Robert De Niro impression, introducing:
Mark Thomas - Hunting
Shaw Taylor impression - 'I lost my stash'
Rock Translation
Jo Brand - Agony Aunt Experience
The Censorship Experience
Skint Video - 'Orange Aid' (Ian Paisley parody)
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (Homeless)

Additional cast: Jo Brand, Mark Thomas, Skint Video
Note (1): Introduced by Tommy Vance
Note (2): Episode missing from BBC Archives


SERIES 1, SHOW 4 (#4)
(Broadcast 28 April 1989)

Now That's What I Call Satire
Shaw Taylor impression - Illegal dog fight
Skint Video - 'New Men Only' (Country & Western parody)
The Character Assassination Experience - Colin Moynihan
Jo Brand - Agony Aunt Experience (Weekend magazine)
International Rescue/Illegal organisations
Adolf Hitler
Ronnie Corbett impression, introducing:
Mark Thomas - Sex and the family
Punchline Competition (Terry Wogan crossing picket line)
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (Holidays)

Additional cast: Jo Brand, Mark Thomas, Skint Video
Note: Introduced by Tommy Vance


NOTE: Recording scheduled for 3/5/89 cancelled due to industrial action; replaced with a repeat for one week only.


SERIES 1, SHOW 5 (#5)
(Broadcast 12 May 1989)

Pre-sig: 'Are we ready with the sig, Bill?'
Baddiel intro - Lord Denning, leading to:
Spiking babyfood/Consumer terrorism
Thatcher anniversary, leading to:
Skint Video - 'Singalong-a-Mags Volume 10'
Shaw Taylor impression - Y-fronts-style Y-fronts
Launderette
Mrs Thatcher meeting survivors
Jo Brand - Agony Aunt Experience (Problems for men)
Tabloid Translation
Rob Newman - Drugs debate
Casualties of the Thatcher Decade
Punchline Competition (Craig leaving Bros)
The Reality Of The New Testament

Additional cast: Jo Brand, Skint Video
Note (1):Introduced by Tommy Vance
Note (2): Recorded at the Woolwich Tramshed
Note (3): Mark Thomas credited, but cut from show


SERIES 1, SHOW 6 (#6)
(Broadcast 19 May 1989)

Baddiel intro - Cigarette warnings
Punt & Dennis - Peking University Rag Week/Poll Tax
The Forgotten Art Of Going On Strike
Cinema voice-over (Dennis) introduces:
Skint Video - 'The Day The Earth Fought Back'
Shaw Taylor impression - Football violence
Woody Allen/Bilko impressions, introducing:
Mark Thomas - Students/Prisons
Nuclear Weapons
Jo Brand - Agony Aunt Experience (Just Seventeen/Weekend)
Punchline Competition ('What did the tube nutter say to the Guardian Angel?')
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (Goblin teasmaid/Terry & June)

Additional cast: Jo Brand, Mark Thomas, Skint Video


SERIES 1, SHOW 7 (#7)
(Broadcast 26 May 1989)

Heatwave/Satellite Dishes/Bros
Tiananmon Square Students
Rob Newman - Denis Norden Impression
Jo Brand - Press Review Experience (Combat & Survival)
Alternative Careers Experience (Advertising)
Rob Newman - Robert De Niro Impression
Mark Thomas - FA Cup/Drinking
Skint Video - Pogues parody
The History Of Comedy
Punchline Experience (Russian Diplomats)
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (Narrator)

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Jo Brand, Skint Video


SERIES 1, SHOW 8 (#8)
(Broadcast 2 June 1989)

Baddiel Intro - Adultery
Euro Elections
Character Assassination Experience - Nigel Lawson
Rob Newman - 'What's it like to lose your job?'
Skint Video - Simple Minds parody
Jo Brand - Press Review Experience (Just Seventeen)
Celebrity Swearing; leading to:
Rob Newman - Alexei Sayle Impression; introducing:
Mark Thomas - Death
Arms Negotiations
Punchline Competition (Cricket Umpire/Streaker)
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (In The Office)

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Jo Brand, Skint Video


SERIES 1, SHOW 9 (#9)
(Broadcast 9 June 1989)

The Environment
The Obviously Not True Experience (Benny Hill/Ayatollah Khomeini)
Skint Video - 'Post Nuclear Love Song'
Jo Brand - Press Review Experience (Metal Hammer)
Rob Newman - Ben Elton/Alf Garnett link
A Short History Of Evangelism
Mark Thomas - Sex
TV In Parliament
Punchline Competition - Bill Wyman/Mandy Smith
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (American audience)

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Jo Brand, Skint Video
Note: Repeated, July 1989


Series 1, Show 10 (#10)
(Broadcast 16 June 1989)

Baddiel intro - 'Give us a B...'
James Bond
Jack Nicholson impression
The Party Political Broadcast Experience
Skint Video - Karaoke Experience (1)
Jo Brand - Press Review Experience (New Scientist)
The Social Climbing Experience/Summer
Mark Thomas - Ayatollah's funeral/Pillocks/Patriotism
Skint Video - 'World Of Snort'
The Character Assassination Experience - Bobby Robson
Punchline Competition (Thatcher and Lawson)
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (Grandad/Vegetables)

Additional cast: Jo Brand, Mark Thomas, Skint Video


SERIES 1, SHOW 11 (#11)
(Broadcast 23 June 1989)

The Exam Experience (Part 1)
Jo Brand - Cosmo Man
Sports Presenters Going Into Politics
Jo Brand - Press Review Experience (Parade)
Rob Newman link - 'You are immature, period...'
Skint Video - Song about Glastonbury
Hot Weather
Mark Thomas - Green Politics/Disasters/Channel Tunnel
Photocopier
Skint Video (with Mark Thomas) - 'Here Comes The Judge'
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (Queen's Visit)

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Jo Brand, Skint Video


SERIES 1, SHOW 12 (#12)
(Broadcast 30 June 1989)

The Big Deal Over The Top Investigative Reporter Voice Experience (Transport)
Skint Video - Karoke Experience (2)
The Disc Jockey Experience
Jo Brand - Press Review Experience (Daily Star)
Leftward Shift
The Exam Experience (Part 2)
Mark Thomas - IRA soldier fined/Snogging in public
Punchline Competition (Princes watching their mum come second)
All Cosy At Home In The Family House (Denis Norden)

Additional cast: Jo Brand, Mark Thomas, Skint Video


SERIES TWO (aka 'Summer Season')

9x30m
Broadcast 11 August-6 October 1989
Fri midnight

Cast details
David Baddiel (all shows)
Rob Newman (all shows)
Steve Punt (all shows)
Hugh Dennis (all except Show 6)
Mark Thomas (shows 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8)
Donna MacPhail (shows 1, 2, 3 & 4)
Nick Hancock (shows 1, 2 & 3)
Tim Firth (shows 1, 2, 3 & 4)
Skint Video (shows 5, 6 & 8)
The Tracy Brothers (shows 7 & 9)
Sarah Thomas (shows 8 & 9)
Susie Brann (show 7)
Doon MacKichan (show 6)
Jo Brand (show 5)
Jack Dee (show 9)

Producers
Harry Thompson (Shows 1-4)
Bill Dare (Shows 5-9)


SERIES 2, SHOW 1 (#13)
(Broadcast 11 August 1989)

Baddiel intro - 'I haven't got over my grandfather's death...'
Why are the England cricket team so crap?
Tim Firth - 'You'll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At An Acid House Party'
Privatising Water
Donna MacPhail - Spanish policeman/Pavement cafés/Sophisticated food/Vegetarians
The Growing Reactionary Trend Towards Sexuality In Popular Culture Experience
Ken Dodd Is Innocent
Nick Hancock - Royal Family
Punchline Competition (Batman and Robin)
Dungeons & Dragons (1)

Additional cast: Nick Hancock, Donna MacPhail, Tim Firth
Production assistant: Viv Drew
Sound: John Whitehall


SERIES 2, SHOW 2 (#14)
(Broadcast 18 August 1989)

Baddiel intro - 'Anyone seen not laughing...'
Flying Is Safe
Nick Hancock - Car stickers/Apathy/Swimming pool/Communication/You have to laugh/Dudley
Space Is Crap
Tim Firth - 'Textbook Song'
Donna MacPhail - Car
The Northern Ireland Experience
The Salman Rushdie Gigantic Royalty Cheque Experience
Punchline Competition (Chat-up line for Mary Whitehouse)
Dungeons & Dragons (2)

Additional cast: Nick Hancock, Donna MacPhail, Tim Firth
Production assistant: Viv Drew
Sound: Roger Danes


SERIES 2, SHOW 3 (#15)
(Broadcast 25 August 1989)

Baddiel intro - Goon show
The Woodstock Experience/The 60s Was A Golden Decade
Nick Hancock - Fancy dress party/Misconceptions/Dream about Basil Brush
The Freemasonery Experience
Tim Firth - 'My Dad Went To School With Patrick Mower'
Donna MacPhail - Noisy neighbours/Classified ads/Body clock/Brother's wife/Cats
The Football Exprience
Sunday Trading Laws
Punchline Competition (Director General/Explosion)
Dungeons & Dragons (3)

Additional cast:Nick Hancock, Donna MacPhail, Tim Firth
Production assistant; Viv Drew
Sound: Sue Templeman
Note: Recorded at Broadcasting House


SERIES 2, SHOW 4 (#16)
(Broadcast 1 September 1989)

Baddiel intro - Mike Gatting
The Return Of The Education Experience
Mark Thomas - Police
The Great British Television Experience: Soap operas
Tim Firth (with Baddiel/Newman) - 'Cinema Song'
Donna MacPhail - 27 years old/Childhood/Enid Blyton/Babies
The Radio Times Experience
Punchline Competition (Gorbachev telephoning Polish prime minister)
Dungeons & Dragons (4)
Credits (Jack Nicholson)

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Donna MacPhail, Tim Firth
Production assistant Viv Drew:
Sound: Max Allcock


SERIES 2, SHOW 5 (#17)
(Broadcast 8 September 1989)

Baddiel intro - Video trivia machine
Edinburgh Festival/The Outer Space Experience
Skint Video - English Cricket Rebel Song
The Great British Television Experience: Game Shows
Jo Brand - Agony Aunt Experience
The Hype Experience
Character Assassination: The Queen
Mark Thomas - Armed Forces
Punchline Competition - Mrs Rushdie's parting words to her husband
The Day The Earth Turned Stupid

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Jo Brand, Skint Video
Note: Recorded at the Fringe Club during the Edinburgh Festival.


SERIES 2, SHOW 6 (#18)
(Broadcast 15 September 1989)

Baddiel intro - 'Look at this shirt...'
Once Again The Return Of The Education Experience
News 39
Skint Video - 'The Scourge Of 1969'
Memoirs
Mark Thomas - Pope's visit/Adults being stupid with children/Heroes
The Pub Experience
Punchline Competition - Princess Anne/Mark Phillips
The Great British Television Experience: Celebrity

Note: Hugh Dennis absent
Additional cast: Nick Hancock, Mark Thomas, Doon MacKichan, Skint Video
Production assistant: Barbara Keer
Sound: Martha Knight


SERIES 2, SHOW 7 (#19)
(Broadcast 22 September 1989)

Baddiel intro - 'The Duchess of York is pregnant again...'
United Germany
The Party Conference Experience
The Tracy Brothers - 'Sperm Bank'
Government Advertising
Mark Thomas - Superstition/religion
The Character Assassination Experience - Terry Wogan
Murder Weekend (Part 1)

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, The Tracy Brothers, Susie Brann
Production Assistant: Barbara Keer
Sound: Alec Hale Munro


SERIES 2, SHOW 8 (#20)
(Broadcast 29 September 1989)

Baddiel intro - Zsa Zsa Gabor
The Channel Tunnel
The Dole Experience
Skint Video - English Football Supporters' Song
Writing Books For Children
Mark Thomas - Green Party/Birth control
The Penal Experience
Murder Weekend (Part 2)

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Skint Video, Sarah Thomas
Production assistant/Sound: No information given


SERIES 2, SHOW 9 (#21)
(Broadcast 6 October 1989)

Intro - 'Our first joke hasn't arrived...'
The Christmas Experience
The Hard Experience
The Tracy Brothers - 'Sod Off And Die Long-Haired Hippy Scum'
The Higher Education Experience
Jack Dee - Conserving water/Mark Phillips/Fat people/Drugs/Flying
Punchline Competition: SAS Man/Colombian drugs baron
Murder Weekend (Part 3)

Additional cast: Jack Dee, The Tracy Brothers, Sarah Thomas
Production assistant: Barbara Keer
Sound: No information


SERIES THREE

12x30m
Broadcast 6 January-24 March 1990
Sat 10:30pm (Repeated Fri midnight)

Cast details
David Baddiel (all except show 11)
Rob Newman (all except show 8)
Steve Punt (all except show 3)
Hugh Dennis (all except show 3)
The Tracy Brothers ( shows 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11 & 12)
Mark Thomas (shows 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 & 10)
Donna MacPhail (shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 & 8)
Nick Hancock (3, 4 & 8)
Mark Hurst (shows 3, 5 & 12)
Rebecca Front (shows 9 & 11)
Tim Firth (shows 7 & 8)
Doon MacKichan (show 6)
Jack Dee (show 9)
Alison Goldie (show 1)

Producers
Bill Dare (shows 1 & 2)
Armando Iannucci (shows 3-12)

Sound assistants
Alec Hale Munro (3, 4, 5, 7 & 11)
Martha Knight (6, 8 & 12)
John Modell (show 2)
Sue Templeman (show 9)

(No information available for show 10)


SERIES 3, SHOW 1 (#22)
(Broadcast 6 January 1990)

Baddiel intro - 'Is that coffee I smell?'
The Shopping Experience
The Street Life Experience
Mark Thomas - Berlin Wall/Ron Brown/Samuel Beckett/Noriega
Christmas Present Helpline
Punchline Competition: 'The 80s were my favourite decade because...'
The Tracy Brothers - 'Reconstructed Man'
Shag Or Die*

[* Cut for repeat]

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Alison Goldie, The Tracy Brothers


SERIES 3, SHOW 2 (#23)
(Broadcast 13 January 1990)

Rob Newman intro - Antoine De Caunes impression
English and how we use it
The Transport Experience
Mark Thomas - Norman Fowler/Stock exchange/Noriega/Durex in USSR/Laser weapons on boats
The Revolutionary Experience
Rob Newman - Whale Nation
The Public Should Know Experience
Punchline Competition: 'The 90s will be my favourite decade because...'
Rob Newman - Antoine De Caunes link
The Tracy Brothers: 'Naked Italian Housewives'
Credits (Antoine De Caunes)

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Donna MacPhail, The Tracy Brothers
Sound: John Modell
Note: Under-runs by three minutes


SERIES 3, SHOW 3 (#24)
(Broadcast 20 January 1990)

Baddiel intro: Star prize/Punt & Dennis aren't here
The School Experience (Part 1)
The Eating Out Experience
Mark Hurst - Names/Salman Rushdie/Censorship/Superheroes/Loony left/George Bush
Martin Cropper's review
Punchline Competition: Judge Pickles & Lord Laine
The Tracy Brothers - 'Sex In The Seventies'
Armenia
Phone-In

Additional cast: Nick Hancock, Donna MacPhail, Mark Hurst, The Tracy Brothers
Note: Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis absent (writing credit only)
Sound: Alec Hale Munro


SERIES 3, SHOW 4 (#25)
(Broadcast 27 January 1990)

Baddiel intro- 'I really do hate Bobby Robson...'
The Law Experience
The Religious Experience
Donna MacPhail - Other people's dads/Ron Brown
Business News Slot
Punchline Competition: Queen's abdication
Ambulance workers' strike
The Angry Thoughts Upon Returning From A Three-hour Traffic Jam Last Saturday Experience
The Tracy Brothers: 'Tracksuit Man'
Commonwealth Games

Additional cast: Nick Hancock, Donna MacPhail, The Tracy Brothers
Sound: Alec Hale Munro


SERIES 3, SHOW 5 (#26)
(Broadcast 3 February 1990)

Baddiel intro - Princess Margaret
The Holiday Experience (Part 1)
What is going on with the weather?
Mark Hurst - Ambulance workers/Cows/Rabbits/Horse-racing/Steroids
The Urban Paranoia Experience
The Tracy Brothers: 'I Don't Like Greens'
Making cuts
Punchline Competition: Welsh weight-lifter
Let's Play Revolution!

Additional cast: Mark Hurst, Donna MacPhail, The Tracy Brothers
Sound: Alec Hale Munro


SERIES 3, SHOW 6 (#27)
(Broadcast 10 February 1990)

South Africa
The Class Experience
The Tracy Brothers: 'Ring Ring Ring'
The Valentine Experience
Mark Thomas - Darts/Mike Gatting/Nigel Lawson/Resignation/Health minister/Unions/Maoris
The Holiday Experience (Part 2)
Punchline Competition: Maori woman throwing cloth at Queen
Towering Epic Saga (Part 1)
Credits ('And the teacher was Mr Pratt...')

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Doon MacKichan, The Tracy Brothers
Sound: Martha Knight


SERIES 3, SHOW 7 (#28)
(Broadcast 17 February 1990)

Baddiel intro - Donald Trump
'The world is becoming nice...'
The Embarrassment Experience
Shakespeare
Tim Firth - 'There's A Crap Record In Every Collection'
Vox pops - 'Have you heard of the MWE?'
Mark Thomas - Mortgage rates/Guinness trial/Mike Gatting/Mandela/Boxing
The School Experience (Part 2)
Donna MacPhail - The British/Heckler
Punchline Competition: Perrier's unused bottles
Towering Epic Saga (Part 2)

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Donna MacPhail, Tim Firth
Sound: Alec Hale Munro


SERIES 3, SHOW 8 (#29)
(Broadcast 24 February 1990)

The Nationalism Experience
Tim Firth - Manchester Olympic Song
The Etiquette Experience
Mark Thomas - Gay priests/Ambulance dispute/Channel tunnel/Kings Cross/Mutant sperm
Vox pops - 'What do you like to listen to on the radio?' (1)
Tim Firth - 'We All Know A Story'
Punchline Competition: Whiteman Cup
Video recorders
Donna MacPhail - Fashion
More vox pops 'What do you listen to on the radio?' (2)
Towering Epic Saga (Part 3)
Credits ('Rob Newman is currently appearing in some first year's bedroom, I expect...')

Additional cast: Mark Thomas, Donna MacPhail, Nick Hancock, Tim Firth
Sound: Martha Knight
Note (1): Audience shout 'Picture this' intro, following 'Sex kitten swamp bitches' cue from Thomas
Note (2): Rob Newman absent (except on vox pops tapes)
Note (3): Nick Hancock and Donna MacPhail's final appearance


SERIES 3, SHOW 9 (#30)
(Broadcast 3 March 1990)

Baddiel intro - 'We've beaten them at cricket...'
The News read by Alistair Burnett
Political Bias
Sandinista Regime
Floods
Tracy Brothers link - 'Crafting a sheep...'
The Irritation Experience/Vox pops
Jack Dee - Rottweillers/Ambulance workers/Hurricanes/Disasters/Old people/Ringpulls/Exon Valdese
The Relationships Experience
The Tracy Brothers - 'Keith Chegwin We Love You'
Punchline Competition: Alistair Burnett covered in cuts and bruises
Get Funny Fanny/Little & Large

Additional cast: Jack Dee, Rebecca Front, The Tracy Brothers
Sound: Sue Templeman


SERIES 3, SHOW 10 (#31)
(Broadcast 10 March 1990)

Baddiel intro - Al Fayed lies
The Mary Whitehouse Experience Almanac
Colonel Gadaffi/Arthur Scargill
Mark Thomas
The Crime Experience
Punchline Competition - Al Fayed brothers
The Psychology Experience
Phone Calls (Gary Davies/BBC Complaints)
Radio Stations

Additional cast: Mark Thomas


 

SERIES 3, SHOW 11 (#32)
(Broadcast 17 March 1990)

Rob Newman intro (pre-sig): 'The style of David Baddiel'
Rob Newman intro - Ice skaters
Punt & Dennis - Now That's What I Call Satire
The Economics Experience
The Complaints Experience
The Tracy Brothers - 'Get Into Satan'
Mark Thomas - Saatchi & Saatchi/Rent-a-Crowd/Poll Tax/Endurance/Smoking
The Ageing, Pain, Illness, Misery and Death Experience
Firepower Monthly
Phone Calls (Wayne Clarke/Chatline)
Credits (David Baddiel/first year's bedroom at his old primary school)

Note: David Baddiel absent
Additional cast: Rebecca Front, Mark Thomas, The Tracy Brothers
Sound: Alec Hale Munro
Note: Mark Thomas' final appearance


SERIES 3, SHOW 12 (#33)
(Broadcast 24 March 1990)

Pre-sig: Tommy Vance intro
Baddiel intro- 'Offered a lift by Derek Hatten'
The Stupid Experience
Tracy Brothers link - 'Gig on a wit...'
Mark Hurst - Aubergine miracle/Police/Comb wars/Football ID/Cocaine/Mandela
Yellow Pages ad (Terminal deformity clinic)
'Classical music is becoming trendy'
Yellow pages ad ('The garden's been getting a bit much for you...')
Punchline Competition: 'I have enjoyed The MWE because...'
The Democracy Experience
The Perversion Experience
The Tracy Brothers - 'That's Light Entertainment'
Phone Calls (3)
Out-takes

Additional cast: Mark Hurst, The Tracy Brothers
Sound: Martha Knight
Note: Echo-drenched 'Eddie?' soundbite added, post-credits, on repeat


SPECIAL (#34)
(Broadcast 5 July 1990; Wed 10pm)

Baddiel intro - 'Nine out of ten cats go moo...'
The Culture Experience
Reunited Germany
Jack Dee
Being Crap
Punchline Competition (What did Sarah Brightman say to Andrew Lloyd Webber?)
The World Cup Experience

Additional cast: Jack Dee
Note: Recorded at the Glasgow Radio Festival


Note: 'Dave & Rob's Comedy Phone-In' broadcast on 12 July 1990 (60 mins)


SERIES FOUR

9x30m
Broadcast 20 October-15 December
Sat 7pm (Repeated Fri midnight)

Cast details
David Baddiel (all shows)
Rob Newman (all shows)
Steve Punt (all shows)
Hugh Dennis (all shows)
Mark Hurst (shows 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7)
The Tracy Brothers (shows 6 & 9)

Producer
Armando Iannucci (all shows)

(Sound assistants not credited)


Series 4, Show 1 (#35)
(Broadcast 20 October 1990)

Horses On Dope
The American Experience
Mark Hurst - Political conferences/Prisons/Broadcasting Bill/Lesbianism/Rushdie/Tories/Rugby
The Stars In Their Eyes Experience
Winning Prizes
Punchline Competition - Bruce Forsyth's New Catchphrase
Mark Hurst - Waxworks/Seaside
The Pet Shop Boys
The Phone Experience
End credits confusion
Credits (Shirley Bassey)

Additional cast: Mark Hurst


SERIES 4, SHOW 2 (#36)
(Broadcast 27 October 1990)

The Motoring Experience
The Fashion Experience
Twin Peaks (1)
Milton Keynes
Mark Hurst - Consequences/Tests for 7 year olds/Police/Cat
Twin Peaks (2)
Taking Two Bottles Into The Shower
Twin Peaks (3)
The Postal Experience
Post credits: Twin Peaks (4)

Additional cast: Mark Hurst


SERIES 4, SHOW 3 (#37)
(Broadcast 3 November 1990)

Intro - New football superleague
The Animals Experience
The Fireworks Experience
Punchline Competition (Channel Tunnel diggers)
The Death Experience
The Sleep Experience
The Correspondence Experience (Encounters with celebrities)
Mark Hurst - Childhood
Vidal Sassoon (Going into hiding)
Credits (Vidal Sassoon)

Additional cast: Mark Hurst


SERIES 4, SHOW 4 (#38)
(Broadcast 10 November 1990)

Intro - Jonathan Ross
The Sport Experience
Common European Currency
Mark Hurst - Rupert Murdoch/Tabloids/Divorce laws/Bad relationships/True love
The Correspondence Experience (Adverts)
The Swearing Experience
Superstition
Entertaining the Troops (1)
Credits (Geoffrey Howe)

Additional cast: Mark Hurst


SERIES 4, SHOW 5 (#39)
(Broadcast 17 November 1990)

The Medical Experience
The Having Workman In Experience
Mark Hurst - Unmeltable chocolate bar/Gangster films/Prequels/Condoms
The Correspondence Experience (Favourite swear words)
The Drugs Experience
The Music Experience (Part 1)
Entertaining The Troops (2)
Credits (Satanic)

Additional cast: Mark Hurst


SERIES 4, SHOW 6 (#40)
(Broadcast 24 November 1990)

Pre-sig: Audience member asked to leave
Sig tune (Hamlet cigar parody/Retirement home in Dulwich)
Thatcher's Resignation
Children In Need
Tracy Brothers link: 'Bison in your towels...'
Punchline Competition: What did the Queen say to Mrs Thatcher?
The Correspondence Experience (Tory leaders)
The Music Experience (Part 2)
The Tracy Brothers: 'Get Your Knob Out'
Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn
Tracy Brothers: 'Gig on a wit...'
Entertaining The Troops (3)
Credits (Recorder)

Additional cast: The Tracy Brothers


SERIES 4, SHOW 7 (#41)
(Broadcast 1 December 1990)

The Family Experience
Tory Leaders: Who is the hardest?
Mark Hurst - Hostages/Musicals/John Major/Kane toads/Old clothes/Recorder/Seeing bands
The Correspondence Experience - Letter about nothing/Request for Christmas gift ideas
The Work Experience
Prudential ad parody ('I want to be...')
Punchline Competition: Mohammed Ali and Saddam Hussein
Christmas Pantomime (1)

Additional cast: Mark Hurst (Final appearance)


SERIES 4, SHOW 8 (#42)
(Broadcast 8 December 1990)

Sig tune: audience applaud over Baddiel's cue
The Phenomenal World Of The Unexplained
The Funfair Experience
The Correspondence Experience: Miscellaneous letters/Request for money
The Channel Tunnel Experience
The Local News Experience
Punchline Competition (Hostages leaving Iraqi airport)
Christmas Pantomime (2)
Credits (Jean Michel Jarre)

NOTE: The only edition not to feature an additional cast


SERIES 4, SHOW 9 (#43)
(Broadcast 15 December)

Pre-sig: Bald convention/Sixth-former from hell
Hugh Dennis misses his cue
The Has John Major Got A Moustache Or What? Experience
The Winter Experience
Old Blue Eyes Is Old (Sinatra parody)
Mark Hurst - Sitting on the front row/Techno toilets/Childhood myths/Quiz night/John Major
The Hostages Experience
The Tracy Brothers: 'Grandma I Hope You Die This Christmas'
Punchline Competition: 'I think the MWE should transfer to television because...'
The Class Experience
Christmas Pantomime (3)
Credits ('And the producer was...oh God...')

Additional cast: Mark Hurst, The Tracy Brothers
Note: Erroneously referred to as 'the 45th show'


COMPILATIONS

Mary Whitehouse's Best Experiences So Far #1
(Broadcast 29 September 1990)

Ken Dodd Is Innocent [Series 2]
The Northern Ireland Experience [2]
The Exam Experience [1]
Nick Hancock - Prince Edward [2]
British TV Is The Best In The World: Soap Opera [2]
Dungeons & Dragons [2]


Mary Whitehouse's Best Experiences So Far #2
(Broadcast 6 October 1990)


Mary Whitehouse's Best Experiences So Far #3
(Broadcast 13 October 1990)

Political Bias [3]
Character Assassination: Terry Wogan [2]
Tracy Brothers link - 'Crafting a sheep...' [3]
Mark Thomas - Darts/Boxing/Oldham FC/Cannabis at Butlins/Harrod's/T-shirts [Various]
The Ageing, Pain, Illness, Misery and Death Experience [3]
The Tracy Brothers - 'Keith Chegwin We Love You' [3]
The Exam Experience (Part 2) [1]
The World Cup Experience (edit piece with other 'Football' material) [Various]


Mary Whitehouse's Last Laugh
(Broadcast 22 December 1990; Series 4 material only)

inc. The Medical Experience


Punt & Dennis Sample Mary Whitehouse (30m)
(Broadcast 15 March 1991; Fri 10pm)

Material from all series + studio links by Punt & Dennis (No audience)
Doctor Who Monsters Dispute [1]
Milton Keynes [4]
Firepower Monthly [3]
Thatcher's Resignation [4]
The Has John Major Got A Moustache Or What? Experience [4]
The Funfair Experience [4]
The Family Experience [4]
Prudential ad parody [4]
The Radio Times Experience [2]

Note: Billed as 'The Mary Whitehouse Experience', and erroneously as 90m in duration


The Mary Whitehouse Experience
(Broadcast ?1991)

One-off compilation broadcast on Radio 4 (Sat 11pm)
inc. Doctor Who Monsters Dispute
The School Experience (Part 2)


THE TELEVISION SERIES

PILOT
(30m)
Broadcast 3 October 1990 (Wed 9pm)

Baddiel intro - United Germany, linking to:
Punt & Dennis - Germany/French Farmers
Shaw Taylor impression - Cheap car stereos
The Transport Experience
Whale Nation
The Perversion Experience
City News
Shaw Taylor impression - Questions
The Northern Ireland Experience
Anyone Can Fall In Love/News At Ten song
The 3rd World War Experience
The Dungeons & Dragons Experience

Running time: 29'47
Additional cast: Doon MacKichan


SERIES ONE
6x30m
Broadcast 3 January-7 February 1991
(Thur 9pm)
3 compilations ('Mary Whitehouse's Best Experiences So Far'), tx July 1991

SERIES 1, SHOW 1
(Broadcast 3 January 1991)

Title announced by: Baddiel
Has John Major Got A Moustache Or What?
The Class Experience
Shaw Taylor impression - 'Keep it under your hat...'
Music from ads (Chart rundown)
A witty monologue from Jonathan Ross
The Phone Experience
'Y-O-Y-O-Y is the structure of my chromosomes...'
The Medicine Experience
Shaw Taylor - Gentleman's underpants
The Europe Experience
The Having Workmen In Experience
Pet Shop Boys parody
The Panto Experience

Running time: 29'50


SERIES 1, SHOW 2
(Broadcast 10 January 1991)

Title announced by: Punt
Journalists running a mile
The Sport Experience
The Drugs Experience
The Driving Experience
Shaw Taylor impression - 'I was barred...'
City News 2
The Hard Experience
The Family Experience
Shaw Taylor impression - Getaway van
The Fashion Experience

Running time: 28'37


SERIES 1, SHOW 3
(Broadcast 17 January 1991)

Title announced by: Newman, as Antoine De Caunes
Antoine De Caunes: Robert Smith/Stevie Wonder
The School Experience
Shaw Taylor impression - Gangland boss
Happy Mondays parody
The Embarrassment Experience
The Timmy Mallett Experience
The Tramps Experience
Happy Mondays link
The Food Experience
Why are the England cricket team so crap?
The Ageing, Pain, Illness, Misery and Death Experience
Gary Davies/Band made up of Keyboard players

Running time: 29'17
Additional cast: Nick Hancock


SERIES 1, SHOW 4
(Broadcast 24 January 1991)

Title announced by: Dennis ('Going For Gold!')
The Law & Crime Experience
Shaw Taylor impression - Mafia
The Green Experience
Ben Elton impression
The Funfair Experience
The Behind The Headlines Experience
Two Bottles In The Shower
Walden interview (Chinny rack-on)
The Holiday Experience
The Football Experience
The Phenomenal World Of The Unexplained Experience

Running time: 30'13


SERIES 1, SHOW 5
(Broadcast 31 January 1991)

Intro: This show isn't for you/Sir George Solti
The Etiquette Experience
Shaw Taylor - Penis style penis
Game Shows
The Burglars Stole Six Cassettes And A Negligee Experience/Minority channels
The Sad Experience
The Cycling Proficiency Test with Billy Idol
The English Experience
Football/Playground songs (South Bank Show parody)
The Music Experience

Running time: 26'05


 

SERIES 1, SHOW 6
(Broadcast 7 February 1991)

Title announced by: Cast in bobble hats
The Valentine Experience
The Health & Beauty Experience
Shaw Taylor impression - Dangerous criminal
The Conversation Experience
The Exams Experience
The Film Experience
The Relationships Experience
Sunday trading/Was Jesus a carpenter?
The Swearing Experience
The Don't Mention The War Experience
The Animals & Pets Experience

Running time: 29'44
Additional cast: Nick Hancock, Caroline Seymour


SERIES TWO
6x30m
Broadcast 2 March-6 April 1992
(Mon 9pm)
Repeated (edited): August/September 1992

SERIES 2, SHOW 1
(Broadcast 2 March 1992)

The Real Horror Show Maskies On Experience
The Dead Rock Stars Experience
Edward Colanderhands
The Library Experience/Libido
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
The Drinking Experience
Things People Say To The Television (1)
Edward Recordcleanerhands
The It Was Really Nothing Experience
Edward Goodmovieguideknob
Things People Say To The Television (2)
Sex Scandals
Cell in Beirut*
The Suspect Device Experience*
Post credits: Things People Say To The Television (3)

Running time: 27'29
* Sketches cut for repeat broadcast


SERIES 2, SHOW 2
(Broadcast 9 March 1992)

World leaders doing adverts
The Boy Looked At Mark Experience
The Cure: 'Laughing Policeman'
The Webb Ellis Experience/Snooker
Ivan (Colin Ditchmore)
Corporal punishment/Let Him Have It
Embarrassing early works
The Man Afflicted With A Sarcastic Tone Of Voice Experience
The Cure: 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport'
The Armed Forces Experience
Ivan (Taxi)
The Dirty Old Town Experience

Running time: 29'58


SERIES 2, SHOW 3
(Broadcast 16 March 1992)

The Out Of Body Experience
The Man Your Mother Warned You About Experience
The Virtual Reality Experience
The Cure: 'Ernie'
The Gambling Experience
The Angel Disguised As Lust Experience*
The Dead Pets Experience
Ray II
The Cult Experience
George Bernard Shaw link
Ivan (Barney Cliftop)

Running time: 29'03
Additional cast; Melanie Hudson, Adie Allen
* Sketch edited for repeat broadcast


SERIES 2, SHOW 4
(Broadcast 23 March 1992)

The Cross Town Traffic Experience
The Party Animal Experience/Parents
Rob in his flat
History Today (1)
Things People Say To The Television (4)
Ray (3)
The World Cup '94 Experience
The Lonely Experience
The Cure: 'Crash Bang Wallop'
Ivan (Greenhouse)
The Fear Experience

Running time: 29'37


SERIES 2, SHOW 5
(Broadcast 30 March 1992)

The Vam Vam Vam Vam Experience
The Decline Of The English Murder Experience
There But For The Grace Of Chlorpromazine*
The Cure: 'Playaway'
Ray (4)
The Zoo Experience
The Do Not Go Gentle Experience
History Today (2)
Right To Reply (Frozen chicken/Voodoo)
The Childhood Experience

Running time: 29'03
* Sketch cut for repeat broadcast


SERIES 2, SHOW 6
(Broadcast 6 April 1992)

Pre-titles: Party Election Broadcast (Mr Strange)
The Hostage Experience
The Quiet Night In Experience
The Cure: 'Rule Britannia'
The Like An English Sky Experience
Ray: The Final Chapter
The Food Of Love Experience
History Today (3)
Shakespeare's Sister
The Seduction Experience
The Soul Sap TV Experience

Running time: 29'52


THE MARY WHITEHOUSE EXPERIENCE: A breakdown...

David Baddiel appeared in 42 shows: all except #32
Rob Newman appeared in 42 shows: all except #29
Steve Punt appeared in 42 shows: all except #24
Hugh Dennis appeared in 41 shows: all except #18 and #24
Mark Thomas appeared in 22 shows. He starred in all 12 episodes of the first series (although his routine for Show 5 was cut), and appeared sporadically in Series 2 and 3. His last show was the penultimate episode of the third series (#32).
Skint Video appeared in 15 shows, including all 12 first series shows and three further appearances in Series 2. Their final performance was in #20.
Jo Brand appeared in 13 shows, including all 12 first-series episodes. She made one further one-off appearance at the Series 2 'Edinburgh Festival' episode ( #17).
The Tracy Brothers appeared in 13 shows, starting with two appearances in Series 2 (shows 7 and 9), nine appearances in Series 3 and two further shows in Series 4, including the last-ever episode (#42)
Donna MacPhail appeared in 10 shows, including the first four episodes of Series 2 and five episodes in Series 3. She last performed in #29.
Mark Hurst appeared in 9 shows, debuting on the third episode of Series 3. He made two further appearances in that series, followed by six appearances in Series 4 (as the principal support act). His final show was #40
Nick Hancock appeared in 6 shows, including the first three shows in Series 2 and three later episodes in Series 3 (The last of which was #29).
Tim Firth appeared in 6 shows, including the first four shows in Series 2 and two further episodes in Series 3. The last was #29.
Jack Dee appeared in three shows: the final episode of Series 2, the ninth episode of Series 3 and the Glasgow Special (#34).
Sarah Thomas appeared in two shows: the last couple of episodes in Series 2 (the last being #21)
Rebecca Front appeared in two Series 3 shows: episodes 9 (#30) and 11 (#32)
Doon MacKichan appeared in two shows: the sixth episode of Series 2 and the sixth episode of Series 3 (#27)
Susie Brann appeared in one show: the seventh episode of Series 2 (#19)
Alison Goldie appeared in one show: the first of Series 3 (#22)
Bill Dare produced the entire first series, shows 5-7 of Series 2 and shows 1 & 2 of Series 3
Harry Thompson produced episodes 1-4 of Series 2
Armando Iannucci produced shows 3-12 of Series 3, the Glasgow Special, and all 9 shows of Series 4

Information on sound engineers/production assistants etc is only given in Series 2 and 3, and this is generally not comprehensive:

Production assistants:
Viv Drew (Series 2, shows 1-4), Barbara Keer (Series 2, shows 6-8). [No credits given for Series 2, Show 9 or any of Series 3.]

Sound:
John Whitehall (Series 2, show 1), Roger Danes (Series 1, show 2), Sue Templeman (Series 2, show 3 and Series 3, Show 9), Max Allcock (Series 2, show 4), Martha Knight (Series 2, show 6 and Series 3 shows 6, 8 & 12), Alick Hale Munro (Series 2, show 7 and Series 3, shows 3, 4, 5, 7 & 11), John Modell (Series 3, show 2). [No information for Series 2, shows 5, 8 & 9 or Series 3, show 10.]

NOTE: No-one appeared in all 43 shows


© 2000 - 2001 some of the corpses are amusing