The Steam Video Company (ITV, 1984)
A while ago I wrote about the wonderfully odd sketch show End Of Part One that was written by Andrew Marshall and David Renwick. A few other shows that they have written have been released on DVD too, including the equally bizarre ITV sitcoms Whoops Apocalypse and Hot Metal. There is one of their shows that hasn’t come out though which is The Steam Video Company. Ever since I found out about it I have been intrigued to see it and thankfully every episode is on YouTube so thanks to the uploader “filmnet”.
The Steam Video Company is definitely another strange show. It was a somewhat farcical parody of low-budget horror films, plus various other elements of TV around at the time. The cast was a rather bizarre mix of the new wave of young alternative comedians, and veteran established ones of a more old-fashioned style. So we got the up-and-coming Jimmy Mulville acting out the crazy sketches alongside the likes of William Franklyn, Barry Cryer, and Benny Hill’s mate Bob Todd. We also saw Madeline Smith again, which is nice. The theme music for the show was done by Level 42.
Every episode had a theme running through it, and the writers created some amusing titles for them, including “Creature From The Black Forest Gateau” and “Amityville 2 – Luton Town 3”. Once again, whether even the actors knew entirely wheat was going on half the time definitely added the to oddness, but there were definitely some funny moments which again played around with ideas of how films and TV are produced.
Only six episodes of The Steam Video Company were made, and it was produced by Thames shown on Monday evenings on ITV in 1984. I can only imagine at what viewers thought of it. It could be said to some extent that the show was really the third series of End Of Part One, it was definitely in a similar style to that offbeat show and after finally seeing it for myself I do think that it was very good and it does deserve a DVD release.