It hardly needs spelling out that The Comic Strip Presents kick-started the careers of the bulk of our alternative comedians. Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer, French and Saunders, Peter Richardson, Keith Allen--all started here.
The series is the very definition of a mixed bag. Each show was a separate story in its own right, and each one couldnt be more different from the last--from the sixties pastiche The Bullshitters to the arty Les Dogs (starring Kate Bush, no less).
With 39 episodes to choose from, the overall quality of the episodes does vary somewhat. For every excellent South Atlantic Raiders and The Supergrass, theres a woeful Spaghetti Hoops. But The Comic Strip Presents deserves its place in comic history by virtue of being different, by trying to create new and interesting work, and in doing so being truly groundbreaking.
When you take risks, you end up with gems such as the double header of Bad News Tour and More Bad News, which follow a chronically bad rock group on the road. These two episodes alone are worth your attention, the interplay of the four leading players (Edmondson, Planer, Mayall and Richardson) a marvel to watch and with scenes that will make you keel over--Vim Fuegos take on Imagine/Imogen is pure gold.
Other highlights include Five Go Mad In Dorset, a wonderful take on Enid Blytons skewed and irreverant view of teenagers in Britain; Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, which sees Mayall and Edmondson, in a precursor to their days on Bottom, getting themselves in a sticky situation with Mr Jolly, played brilliantly by the late Peter Cook; and Strike!, a Hollywood-esque take on the miners strike of 1984.
The Comic Strip Presents pushed comedic boundaries and was never afraid to do things a little differently and this collection is a fine record of its prolific, always interesting, and often hilarious output.--Mark Oakley
Features the complete thirty-nine episodes from the ground-breaking comedy series. Episodes include: 'The Beat Generation', 'Five Go Mad In Dorset', 'Dirty Movie', 'The Strike', 'Consuela', 'Bad News', 'Funseekers', 'South Atlantic Raiders', 'Les Dogs', 'The Crying Game', 'Wild Turkey' and much more...