The Beeb made every episode of the influential sketch comedy show available to watch on BBC iPlayer earlier this week.
The iconic series was originally broadcast between 1991 and 1996 on BBC Two, and was one of the first TV sketch shows to feature a primarily Black and Asian cast.
It provided an early platform for comedy stars like Robbie Gee, Llewella Gideon, Curtis Walker, and Eddie Nestor, as well as Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Kulvinder Ghir, who went on to star in Goodness Gracious Me, which was a spinoff of The Real McCoy.
“We continue to expand the choice available on BBC iPlayer and I’m thrilled that we can now add The Real McCoy to our fabulous collection of current and classic comedy series. From Citizen Khan to The Young Offenders, from Gavin and Stacey to Famalam, iPlayer is home to many of the nation’s funniest favourites.” – Dan McGolpin, Controller of BBC iPlayer
Felix Dexter, who specialised in lengthy, hilarious monologues on The Real McCoy, sadly passed away in 2013, and the BBC subsequently established a bursary in his name to help train and develop aspiring comedy writers from a BAME background by offering placements within the industry.
Recipients of the bursary have honed their comedy writing skills on BBC shows including Famalam, This Country, Mrs Brown’s Boys and BBC Radio 4’s Newsjack. 2020’s recipient is stand-up comedian Athena Kugblenu.
The series featured many prominent guest stars including footballer Ian Wright, newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald, and boxer Frank Bruno, and has been cited as an influence by some of Britain’s most popular comedians, including Judi Love, Mo Gilligan, and Gina Yashere.
“This seminal sketch show broke down barriers and gave diverse comedy a crucial mainstream platform in the early 90s. It laid the foundations for inclusiveness and representation that we’re continuing to build on today.” – Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning, BBC