Harry Hill’s TV Burp (ITV1, 2001-2012)
I have been a fan of crazy comedian Harry Hill for many years, and I’ll write more about how I got into him when I get round to reviewing his Channel 4 show. But after that show ended, Harry moved to ITV and had big success with this show that took an amusing look at the past week in the world of TV, with funny observations on soaps, drama, or just anything that caught the eye delivered in Harry’s distinctive style.
The show began with a pilot episode at the end of 2001, and just about all the familiar features had already been established. These of course included such moments as the amusingly odd observations about soap characters, the “TV Highlight Of The Week”, which was usually anything but, a big fight going into the advert break, some great sketches, and a special guest joining Harry for a big singalong to end the show.
TV Burp started out very quietly, with the first few series shown rather late at night, but as the word began to spread, it was moved to Saturday evenings, and it was at this point that it really began to take off, and although it seemed unlikely at first Harry’s style of humour managed to be enjoyed by a mainstream audience, with the show attracting very good ratings. What are the chances of that happening?
At its best the show was very good and one critic even said it should be on every week. However, the show began to run out of steam a little by the end. It was probably the moment when “The Knitted Character” turned up that the show was starting to look past its best, it was funny the first time, but referencing it in every subsequent episode became rather tiresome. And the way they used to mock that poor woman in EastEnders too. It also seems that after a decade Harry and his team had enough after having to watch about 1,000 episodes of Emmerdale five times over to spot odd things. But it takes little away from the overall greatness of the show, making such jokes as “chippy chips” an unlikely catchphrase.
So after 11 series and some Christmas specials, TV Burp finally came to an end, but it remained popular with viewers all the way through the run, and the show also won some awards. There was some merchandise released too, including DVDs featuring some of the funniest moments from the series, and a book. The show has also been repeated frequently on channels such as Gold, and, curiously, Cartoon Network. I am a big fan and the show was always great entertainment to pop open a tin of Sild to.