"The Comic Strip Presents..." is a series of 38 television films (plus two movies and independent release 'The Bullshitters') produced between 1982-2005 by a troupe of comedians (principally Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders) affiliated with the Comic Strip comedy club, led by producer Peter Richardson, who cowrote (with Pete Richens) and performed in many episodes.

The most fondly-remembered films tended to be parodies of well-known film and television genres. There were occasional satires of politics and the media, as well as more surreal efforts. Some films rejected the confrontational 'alternative comedy' approach in favour of silent-era whimsy. As they were produced as mini-films (shot on film, on location) they still look quite good, although some episodes are painfully bad.

The collected series is available on DVD (omitting Sex Actually and Eat the Rich).

Notable picks:

Five Go Mad in Dorset: An overtly racist and sexist Famous Five thwart a plot involving a "...blah blah missing scientist, blah blah atom bomb..."

The Strike: How Hollywood would retell the story of the Miners Strike of 1984-1985, with Richardson playing Al Pacino playing Arthur Scargill.

Mr Jolly Lives Next Door: A prototypical version of Bottom, with Mayall and Edmondson as alcoholic 'male escorts' hired to 'take out' Nicholas Parsons, in lieu of hitman Mr Jolly (Peter Cook).

Didn't You Kill My Brother?: Alexei Sayle parodies The Krays to comment on crime and class prejudice in 1980s Britain. With songs.

The Crying Game: Keith Allen as a secretly gay Georgie footballer coming out to the fans and the media. Featuring Phil Cornwell as Jimmy Hill on magic mushrooms.

Spaghetti Hoops: Nigel Planer in a sympathetic spoof biopic of Roberto Calvi ("God's Banker"). Delightful in more ways that I can describe in 300 words.

Selected episodes are available to view online.


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