Dare to Believe is a surrealist comedy programme that was shown throughout 2002 and 2003 on the UK terrestrial channel ITV1. The show's self-confessed writer and director, Tim Scott, is the creator of several other fine programmes, including And Now In Colour for BBC Radio 4.
Describing the warped sense of humour of the show in text is impossible for a man of my talents - any attempt would leave you with more questions than otters. In fact, even attempting to explain to a friend why the show is so funny invariably degenerates into me saying "it's just funny!".
In this respect, Dare to Believe is like Monty Python: telling someone just why a man with a tape-recorder stuck up his nose is hilarious is a harder job than you might imagine!
The format of the programme is lots of short, twisted sketches, in various random scenarios. For example, in one of these sketches, a man, with a grey wig, naked but for a nappy, is standing in a stream. There is silence for about 10 seconds, then the man says, "Yes, I suppose I do think too much money is spent on speed bumps". If this appeals to you, Dare to Believe is your sort of show.
One feature about Dare to Believe, which can be it's main appeal or it's damning flaw, depending on your viewpoint, is the fact that most of the sketches are continued in variations from episode to episode. So, although I have never seen a variation on the 'nappy man' scene, it's quite conceivable that next week, it will show him in the same outfit, in the same stream, saying "Overall, I suppose I do prefer chocolate to sweetcorn.". This is very much in the style of The Fast Show, where characters displayed the same behaviour again and again, but with slight adaptations.
Another conspicuous part of Dare to Believe is the obsession with certain mammals, namely, otters and mooses, with goats and horses putting in occasional appearances too. In keeping with the confusing nature of Dare to Believe, this is never explained, or even acknowledged.
How to watch the show
As with all activities, careful planning and preparation is required for maximum success.
- Make sure you're going to be near a tuned television at about 0130 hours on a Saturday morning
- Keep handy some dour literature such as Dostoyevsky to read in case you start laughing so much you think you're going to die, and need to be brought crashing back down to earth. Also consider an ear-plugged and blindfolded non-participant who can be relied upon to adminster CPR in case of emergency.
- Some sort of drug will enhance your Dare to Believe experience, whether it's a few beers, some wacky baccy or 'shrooms. However, if you are in the right state of mind, you will love the programme while sober.
I leave you with the motto of Dare to Believe:
fly like a mouse
run like a cushion
be the small bookcase
dare to believe
At the time of writing, Dare to Believe is still being shown every Friday at about 1:30 Saturday morning. I have not managed to locate any Dare to Believe merchandise, videos or DVDs