The English have a long history of surrealist comedy, particularly on TV and radio, although there are wonderful books as well. I was reminded of this when, visiting my mother in Sevenoaks, Kent, I found a little record shop (remember those?) that stocked an album I had as a child, the precursor to Monty Python called ‘At Last The 1948 Show’. It’s amazing how many of the sketches are like missing Python routines.
But everything from ‘The Brittas Empire’ to ‘One Foot In The Grave’, ‘The League Of Gentlemen’ and ‘Green Wing’ have included extraordinary surrealist flights of fancy. I recently watched ‘The Bed Sitting Room’ and wondered what on earth I’d stumbled into, with escalators leading to vast fields of crockery and people turning into bedrooms. Most of these shows had their roots in the sixties, but since then, shows like ‘Big Train’, ‘Father Ted’ and ‘The Mighty Boosh’ have continued the trend.
As for books, I’d recommend ‘The Adventures of the Surrealists’ Sportsman’s Club’ and ‘The Ascent Of The Rum Doodle’. Surrealist humour doesn’t date as badly as trendcom – so here are some surreal moments from Brit-TV…Oh, and it just makes me realise how badly I miss ‘Green Wing’!