More from the list of most desireable presents from the year when you might have seen Phil Cool impersonating Al Capone dancing the Charleston on top of a flagpole…
“Get up them Pennine Hills!”. From the neon suits and is-he-alternative-comedy-or-isn’t-he? positioning of its rubber-faced star, to the Housemartins-like theme tune and accompanying pastel shaded semi-animated opening titles, there was no television show more intrinsically and unequivocally ’1986′ than BBC2′s surprise sandwiched-between-repeats-of-Fawlty-Towers-and-new-episodes-of-Victoria-Wood-As-Seen-On-TV hit vehicle for the versatile – if Rolf Harris-favouring – impressionist Phil Cool.
That year, excitingly, BBC Video had finally stopped charging eight hundred and seventy six million pounds for their wares and had started to make stuff available at a more affordable ‘Budget Price’, and while massive queues were forming (literally) for copies of Watch With Mother and Doctor Who And The Death To The Daleks In The First Episode’s Off An American Format Videotape And Looks Really Smeary, discerning comedy fans were equally keen to get their hands on this hour-long compilation of Cool with the old BBC Video ‘star’ logo tacked on to the start.
Unfortunately – well, not exactly unfortunately, as it was still ace, but view the comment in context – this material was actually culled from the previous year’s overlooked tryout run of three shows, presented here pretty much in their entirety but with a decidedly sparse set of opening titles in place of the definitive item. Still, how many comics do you know who can get a massive laugh out of ‘doing’ Rik Mayall, just by moving their mouths a bit and not actually saying anything?
ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS… chronicling everything fab and four from ‘Dinners’ to Zappa (Boo Hoo Why Is He Not In Book About Someone Else Entirely?), it’s the utterly indespensible Encyclopedia of BEATLES. Now updated with a new chapter covering Carnival Of Light!