The Fast Show Episode Review

Series 1 Episode 1

Airdate: 27th September 1994

 


 

Sketches

Open on Ed Winchester, smiling as he says, “Hi, I’m Ed Winchester”.

We then fade into the credits, with Kenny Valentine getting distorted as he sings ‘Release Me’.

After the credits, we see Ed Winchester again, in a field this time.

Then the Fat Sweaty Coppers annoy a woman by turning up late to her house, because they stopped for several takeaways on the way. After hearing their theme music, we see them in the police station, where they eat constantly, have massive sweat patches on their shirts and send each other out to buy food – whilst not appearing to be actually doing any work.

A strange man runs down a hill, towards the camera. He stares right at it and says “You ain’t seen me, right?” before running off again.

A group of people are having a serious chat in a dimly lit room. A woman is pouring her heart out about being abandoned throughout her life when the man sat next to her suddenly says, “Anyone fancy a pint?” To the woman’s shock, everyone gets up and leaves her alone.

In the commentary box, the presenter is chatting to Ron Manger and Tommy. Ron mentions Ryan Gigs and starts playing with his name, calling him ‘Ryan Giggsy Wiggsy’ and generally talking a load of crap. When the presenter tries to ask Tommy some questions, Ron keeps cutting Tommy off before he can speak, much to Tommy’s irritation.

The Patagonians perform tuneless piece of music in an Underground tunnel.

Unlucky Alf is out in his back garden, and mentions his greenhouse as he talks to the camera. Alf is worried that the young neighbours will break the roof of his greenhouse. But when they accidentally throw a cricket ball into his garden, it hits Alf in the face instead. And when Alf tries to throw the ball back to them, he throws it short and it smashes the roof of his greenhouse. “Bugger,” Alf mutters.

We then see a black and white film trailer for ‘The Unpronouncables’. As the name suggests, no one can pronounced anyone’s name, even their own. The members of the FBI manage to pronounce it ‘fbee’, and only manage to pronounce it when they spell it out.

The Brilliant Kid chats to the camera as his background changes repeatedly. The topics he rambles about include: Ronnie Corbett, special effects in films, sequels, the future (because everything will be brilliant in the future), computers and virtual reality, which he describes as ‘exactly like reality, only you wear a hat’. He then mentions that he tried it with his brother’s crash helmet and he fell down the stairs, before remarking, “Aren’t hospitals brilliant?”

Ed Winchester again.

Two builders are sat on high-rise scaffolding, having a break. One starts chatting to the other, and tells him all about a friend’s adventure in the Australian outback (whilst his friend looks bored and he fails miserably at his attempts to do different accents). The friend apparently became distressed when he found that his beer had gone warm. Luckily, an Aborigine suggested he bury it and set fire to the ground above it to cool it down. And was the beer cold when he drank it: “Was it f—”

We then see Channel 9’s news programme. Kolothos and Poutremos present the news, although they are actually just talking a load of gibberish. We fade into an advert for the Kitchen Gizmo, followed by the Garden Gizmo, which happen to be exactly the same object. Poula Fisch then presents the weather, and we learn that everywhere in their country is “scorchio!”

In an arcade, a man is seen going around on a ride. “You ain’t seen me, right?” he says to the camera.

Ted is painting a fence on the grounds of a manor house when he is approached by Ralph. They both avoid eye contact and look awkward as Ralph talks to Ted. He mentions French cinema and asks Ted if he would like to come to the cinema with him. When Ted rejects his offer, Ralph walks away.

In his lab, Denzil Dexter, an American professor, shows the audience at home an experiment. He takes four cardboard tubes, the kind from the inside of a toilet roll, and says he “wondered if they would support the weight of a human man”. He places them on the ground and stands on them; they break under his weight. The answer: “No.”

In a tailors’, a man is looking at suits. He is approached by an overzealous Ken, who learns, through badgering the man until he talks to him, that the man has a new job. This leads Ken to ask if the man will be having an affair with his sectary, offending him as his discussion becomes rather graphic. Things get worse when Kenneth joins in, and the outraged man storms off. Ken and Kenneth look rather pleased with themselves.

Still in the tube tunnel, the Patagonians perform another tone deaf tune.

Janine is sat in her bedroom as she tells the audience about Lisa Stansfield. She mentions that the lyrics to her songs are really clever and tries to read between the lines to understand what they are really about, but she ends up not making any sense.

We see Ed Winchester again, this time stood up to his waist in a pile of manure as he says his usual line.

We then see a trailer for an 18 rated film called ‘Indecent Exposure’. A man and woman kiss, and she moves down his body as she kisses down his chest and abdomen. But she keeps moving, falling off of the end of the bed. The camera pans backwards as she slides across the floor, being dragged by some sort of monster.

Tommy Cockles introduces a black and white clip of Arthur Atkinson performing his usual routine. As usual, his ‘jokes’ are awful and repetitive, and we see stock footage of a real old audience whenever they applaud.

Ted pulling heavy equipment across lawn when he is again approached by Ralph. This time, Ralph attempts to get Ted to call him ‘Ralph’, but Ted keeps calling him ‘sir’. After Ralph leaves, Ted tries out Ralph’s name by saying it a few times, before going back to work.

The Offroaders are presenting their footage for their offroading club, Simon being serious and Lyndsay messing around. When they get into the car and brag about what they are about to do, they discover that the car won’t start.

A group of people are sat in the pub, discussing the rubbish on TV. They especially hate game shows, remarking about how stupid Family Fortunes is. Then they start talking about the awful standard impersonations people do, such as Frank Spencer. One of the men speaks up for the first time, grinning as he does awful impression of Frank Spencer. Realising he has embarrassed himself, he says, “I’ll get me coat,” and leaves.

Back with the Offroaders, the car still won’t start. Lyndsay leans out of the car and yells at Baz to stop filming.

The Patagonians are playing another crap tune when someone gives them some money. They all stop and stare at the change, amazed, before they resume playing.

Unlucky Alf is stood out on the street. “See that hole,” he says, gesturing to a hole right at the end of the road. He laments that he will probably fall down it. In a long shot that lasts for at least ten seconds, Alf walks off, going further and further away from the camera. Eventually, he is unbalanced by a strong gust of wind and falls down the hole.

And then the closing credits begin. As they role, we are given three more sketches: The Nice Skinhead (a chap who, despite his appearance, is posh and friendly, and wants the other people in the pub to play with him), The Comedy Vicar (a rather gormless looking man who does silly impressions), and Ed Winchester (again).

 


 

Rating

The Fast Show’s first episode is very good as first episodes go (from my experience, first episodes tend to be rather wobbly, as the creators are experimenting and not quite sure where to go with the show), as it sets the show’s premise out very well. Considering the programme’s name, this episode lives up to it; with over twenty sketches in thirty minutes, it is definitely fast. We also get to meet several characters who will later become fan favourites and appear in every series of the show, including Ted and Ralph and Ken and Kenneth, both of whom are amongst the show’s most iconic creations.

However, like all first episodes, The Fast Show’s isn’t quite up there with later episodes. I consider the first series to be the weakest of the three, as it doesn’t quite have the same format as the others, and, of course, it lacks some of the best Fast Show characters, such as Dave Angel, Swiss Toni and Rowley Birkin.

But it is still a very good first episode and is contains some very good jokes. Therefore, this episode gets a 7/10.

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