Documentaries on some famous British comedies

During these holidays, I watched quite a bit of light stuff on the internet. Being partial to British comedies, I enjoyed watching some that revisited some of the well known ones, with the writers, producers and stars talking about their early lives and how they came together on these shows.

Here is one about Blackadder.

Here is one about the sketch comedy series Not The Nine O’clock News.

Here is one that reunited Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie long after the sketch comedy series A Bit of Fry and Laurie ended.


  1. says

    Not the News was a particular favourite of mine back in the day. Given your propensities, I’d imagine you’d really enjoy That Mitchell and Webb Look, yes? They did some absolutely brilliant sketches, my very favourite being the one about the Homeopathic A&E Department:

    “What was he hit by?”

    “A blue Ford Mondeo.”

    “Right. Get me a bit of blue Ford Mondeo, put it in some water…”

    Happy Approximate Beginning of Arbitrarily-Determined New Solar Orbit, Prof. 🙂

  2. says

    My girlfriend and I have spent a lot of time watching British comedies and panel shows over the holidays as well. A lot of QI, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and rewatched Withnal and I last night. I never really watched Not The Nine O’clock News as I was too young at the time and well, because it never aired here as far as I know, but just today I was saying I wanted to watch it, after seeing a few sketches. Jeeves and Wooster is also on my list.

  3. Mano Singham says


    That is indeed sad news. I loved the interviews he did with Bird. His deadpan delivery was perfect for that kind of droll humor.

  4. Sunday Afternoon says

    The end of Blackadder goes Forth always gets me, and the description of how it was put together in the programme above perhaps even more so. The whole of that episode was so well done, especially with the change of mood as the inevitable drew ever closer.

    I do have an amusing story associated with this episode. It was first aired during my first year as an undergraduate at Edinburgh University, and happened to be broadcast during a party in our complex of student flats. Not many of us students had televisions in those days (1989). The flat with the party had a small black & white set in the kitchen. Many of us wanted to watch Blackadder – imagine about 15 people crammed round the small set expecting the typical Blackadder hilarity. We got so much more, and this is why it is stuck in my memory.

    The interview with Ben Elton in the Flanders cemetery was spot on at 51:50 about the need for satire about people blindly going to war.

  5. Mano Singham says


    I too was struck by how poignant the end was. It left me very moved. It is strange how a comedy show can make the point about the absurdity of war and the pointless deaths of ordinary people so much better than a serious documentary.

  6. says

    Yeah, the first time I saw it, I was totally expecting a last twist, a great Rowan Atkinson comment or something, that would make it funny…and there was nothing. I was gobsmacked.

    Superb bit of TV-making. Reminded me (in both action and venue, WWI) of the ending of Gallipoli, which left me shaking and crying, and still gives me a bit of a wobbly when I hear an Australian say “leopard”.

  7. Nick Gotts says

    Thanks, I much enjoyed the Blackadder doc. (apart from the rather iffy footage of Stephen Fry playing the colonial bwana – supposed to be funny, I suppose, but it didn’t work for me). Might watch the “Not…” one later. I wonder if the BBC will dare to rerun Blackadder Goes Forth as part of the celebration commemoration of World War I. Somehow I doubt it. The government want to make it all about a heroic and united Britain rushing to the rescue of Gallant Little Belgium, attacked by the dastardly Bosch.

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