ITV3 has commissioned a four-part series from Shiver called The Comedy Years which is due to air on the channel in 2019.
“No TV comedy exists in a vacuum. Each is a product of the times, reflecting what is going on in the outside world – whether it’s a satirical sketch show like Spitting Image or a sitcom like The Young Ones. In this series we’ll enjoy some classic comedy moments, but we will also explore the circumstances that led to each of them appearing on our screens.” – Mark Scantlebury, Shiver’s Executive Producer
The Comedy Years will look back at how comedy shaped and defined specific years over the past 4 decades. The four years covered will be 1979, 1984, 1998 and 2003.
Each of the shows, to air in an hour-long slot, will mix classic comedy archive with social history and pop culture nostalgia. They will show how each year’s comedy reflected a changing Britain – from the Thatcher era of satire of Not The Nine O’clock News and Spitting Image to ground breaking comedy series like The Royle Family, The Young Ones and The Office.
The Comedy Years features interviews with stars of comedy past and present, all revealing the comedy moments that inspired them, as well as telling us about the roles they themselves played in some classic TV series. Highlights include interviews with James Bolam, John Thomson, Omid Djalili, Clive Anderson, Cannon & Ball, Shappi Khorsandi, Joel Dommett, Mark Heap, Peter Egan, Jon Culshaw, Debra Stephenson, Leslie Ash, Brian Conley and Dom Joly.
“As we’ll see, politics, world events, changing views on what is and what isn’t acceptable and even technology – like Dom Joly’s use of the mobile phone – all had parts to play in what has made us laugh over the years” – Mark Scantlebury
The 1979 episode will look at the northern club scene, which was dominating telly at the time with the likes of Les Dawson and Cannon & Ball. It’s also the year that saw a new breed of alternative comedians making a name for themselves on screen that included Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Rowan Atkinson.
Spitting Image and The Young Ones will feature in the 1984 episode against the backdrop of the miners strike. More mainstream comedies like Duty Free and Russ Abbot’s Madhouse are also covered.
In 1998 New Labour were in power and ground breaking new comedies started to appear on TV which included The Royle Family and Goodness Gracious Me. Trigger Happy TV features in 2003 as TV viewers enjoyed the hidden prank antics of Dom Joly alongside Bruce Forsyth’s hilarious hosting duties on Have I Got News For You and fond farewells to Cold Feet and The Office.
“The Comedy Years is a great new original commission for ITV3 which will be entertaining, informative and nostalgic for our viewers.” – ITV3 Commissioner, Satmohan Panesar