It was arguably one of the funniest shows of the '90s but
the return of Shooting Stars earlier this year caused mixed feelings among its fans.
Were Vic and Bob doing yet another series for the cash or continued fame? Or had they struck a deal with the Beeb to make SS on the condition they'd be allowed to make another less commerical project? That's what they did in 2004 with Catterick.
Regardless of motive the silly, surreal but mostly hilarious pair were recording a new episode at Television Centre last night. As ever the team captains (Jack Dee and of course, longstanding stooge/all round good egg Ulrika Jonsson) played the straight men while Matt Lucas, dressed as a geisha in full-make up, retained his George Dawes persona in subversive style. After the monumental success of the much-less funny Little Britain he obviously doesn't need the money. Despite the relative calm of the recording and the slight feeling that people were taking the whole thing very seriously indeed, Lucas, Mortimer, Reeves and Jonsson all clearly have a great working relationship developed over many years of, well, pissing about in costumes with outlandish props.
Elsewhere the familiar TV parodies of old made an appearance but the two guests were slightly low-rent.
I mean. Some dappy old tart off How Clean Is your House and a bearded northener?
Incongruity has been a staple of V&B right back to their early stand-up days, so it could be deliberate. After all, what's a comedy panel show without ironic guests?
In one of the regular comedian guest slots Lee Mack said the odd good line, but most of which were vetoed by a lurking producer.
All BBC radio and TV producers have to work in an odd, oppressive self-censoring climate since the Ross/Brand incident was blown masively out of proportion by a frothing anti-broadcast print media. First time I've seen just how bad things are in a real-life situation, though. The show goes out after the watershed, so is it really not on to say "necrophilia"? It's not as though Lee defecated on Adrian Chiles during The One Show.
Undoubtedly the star of the show was Mack's opposite number, a hilarious up and coming comedian who stayed in character as a moronic and sartorially-challenged Anglo-Greek burger-van worker (not a less naive Stavros, more a rougher, London-accented take on Peter Baynham's Peter in Fist Of Fun).
Sadly the spelling of this character's name had at least five syllables so I slightly neglected the reporting duty (I'd only had an hour's sleep so failed to memorise it). A google search yields no results despite my guesses and those of two of my companions for the evening (comedian's real name wasn't revealed). But when I can get the info, it'll be here.
After the recording we strolled down Wood Lane past Westfield to find a shoplifter being arrested. As he was being thrown in a meat wagon by the Retroplitan Police it struck me this was either the dumbest or most desperate shoplifter in West London. The Australian developers spent £1.6 billion on the humungous mall. When you fork out that sort of wedge it's pretty obvious you'll install it with enough top-end CCTV cameras to keep Chuck Berry happy.