The British Invasion (of Comedy)
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In addition to original shows and classic American television, Seeso has acquired and curated some of the best in British comedy. While hits like The Office and Monty Python’s Flying Circus have crossed the pond, Seeso hosts a wealth of other innovative U.K. comedies, both older (The Young Ones, Fawlty Towers) and more recent (The Mighty Boosh). Comedy nerds and/or anglophiles, here’s your guide to catching up with the best in British comedy, now available on Seeso, NBCUniversal’s all-comedy streaming service.
Airing to critical acclaim earlier this year in the U.K., Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh) and Olivia Colman (Peep Show) head up a quirky, unstable family (one son makes pointless steampunk inventions; his twin sister is a poet; they’re both in love with the girl next door) who live in a ramshackle estate in the English countryside.
The World of Alan Patridge
Steve Coogan has played the boorish, selfish, and incredibly stupid media personality for more than 20 years across different formats. The entire suite of TV Alan Partridge is here, from the mock chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, to the single-cam comedy I’m Alan Partridge, and the radio-set Mid Morning Matters With Alan Partridge.
A Bit of Fry and Laurie
Lightning-fast sketch comedy peppered with highbrow cultural references, men in wigs, and funny voices makes for some definitively British fare. See Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry before they were massive stars and were just two goofy best friends trying to make each other laugh—they play virtually all of the roles.
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
Acclaimed horror author Garth Marenghi (who’s completely made up) presents the TV adaptation of his famous Darkplace series of novels (also made up), resulting in a low-budget, poorly produced hospital series from the 1980s. With us so far? Even if you’re not, this cult-classic is a must see.
Man to Man with Dean Learner
Part of the conceit of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was that Marenghi had creative control over the show and had cast his publisher, Dean Learner (Richard Ayoade). A stiff, inexperienced, awkward performer there, he somehow got his own chat show. All of the guests are played by Marenghi’s Matthew Holness.
The Mighty Boosh created this series centered around two men who work in the present-day as hangmen. That’s just a jumping off point for deeply dark sketches.
Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy
Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh) is comedy’s David Bowie. He combines ‘70s glam rock-meets-art-school aesthetic with puppetry, animation, and recurring characters like a robotic Andy Warhol, a delusional man who thinks he’s a knight called “Fantasy Man,” and a clay animated Joey Ramone. The end result is a product of deep silliness and joy.
Count Arthur Strong
Comedian Steve Delaney takes the persona he honed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and radio to television. Count Arthur Strong, who Delaney based on weird relatives and neighborhood shopkeepers he knew as a child, is an underemployed yet very confident classical actor-with-a-capital-A. He’s never quite aware that the reason he attracts so much attention is not because of his acting ability or personality, but because he’s a buffoon.
How Not to Live Your Life
Don Danbury (star and creator Dan Clark) is just about to turn 30, but he’s constantly failing at life because he gets in his own way, indulging in elaborate fantasies (which become fantasy sequences) about what would happen if he said or did the bad idea that is always his immediate instinct.
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