The YouTube Files – The Strangerers.

The Strangerers (Sky One, 2000) strange0002

Here’s another instance of where I have the thought process: think of an obscure show that I want to write about, think “there’s no chance that’ll be on YouTube”, go on YouTube and find that it is, get delighted at seeing the show again being able to write a piece about it. So big thanks goes to who had the foresight to record this show unlike me and put it on YouTube. vlcsnap-00479

The Strangerers is a long-forgotten science-fiction sitcom that was created and written by Rob Grant, who was the co-creator and co-writer of Red Dwarf. Two alien type-things Cadet Flynn (Mark Williams) and Cadet Niven (Jack Docherty) take the form of humans and land on Earth intent on finding out more about our way of life and taking over the world. vlcsnap-00480

Their only knowledge of Earth though is some 1940s films that they saw on their home planet so they dress as old-fashioned gangsters. They also talk in a very bizarre style and have difficulty grasping the basics of human life such as walking and straightforward rituals including sleeping. Their supervisor (fab funnyman Milton Jones) who came with them is decapitated almost immediately so they end up carrying his severed head around with them and having to fend for themselves. vlcsnap-00478

They have a lot of difficulty doing this, and all the people that they interact with soon notice that there is something unusual about them. Because of their bumbling they soon get caught up in all sorts of antics. There are two government agents Rina and Harry who are trying to capture them (Sarah Alexander and Mark Heap, who, if you are a regular on here will know I’m a big fan of, and once again he put in a great performance). vlcsnap-00477

Eventually another pair are after them. Seedy and Rats (played by Paul Darrow and David Walliams) work in a horrible hotel that the aliens stayed in and soon realise that capturing them could bring them a great fortune. vlcsnap-00481

By the end of the series, the super supervisor (Jack Docherty’s old Absolutely mate Morwenna Banks) arrives to try to find out what is happening and the show ends on an exciting cliffhanger that unfortunately was never resolved. vlcsnap-00482

The Strangerers was the first British sitcom commissioned by Sky One, 11 years after the channel launched. There were nine episodes, the first being an hour long and all subsequent episodes being half an hour. Although it was much hyped unfortunately it wasn’t much of a success, with there being no repeats, no DVD release and it didn’t do that well in the ratings, but there were some impressive special effects, lots of great comedy talent took part and it was an interesting and ambitious idea. While I appreciate that it wouldn’t sell in its millions it would be great if it was released on DVD and it was great seeing this show again for the first time in 15 years.

Fargle!

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