Harry Hill’s Shark-Infested Custard (CITV, 2005-2006)
The comedian Harry Hill has appeared on TV for over 20 years now. I don’t actually remember watching his first TV series Harry Hill’s Fruit Fancies (BBC2, 1994) so I shall have to have a look on YouTube one day to see if it’s on there for a future review. The first time I can remember seeing him on TV myself was when he was a regular contributor to ITV’s Saturday Live in 1996. Overall the show was considered a flop but I found Harry’s bizarre style of humour and distinctive look really funny meaning that for me he was always the highlight and since then I have followed his career with interest.
In 1997 Harry moved to Channel 4 and made three terrific series and it’s a great shame that they still haven’t been released on DVD because they are among the best things that he ever did. In 2001 Harry moved to ITV to launch TV Burp which was of course a big success, and also in 2003 the Channel 4 format was revived for The All-New Harry Hill Show, but this only lasted for one disappointing series. A couple of years though later the decision was made to try this idea again, but this time in a children’s TV slot.
So in 2005 Harry Hill’s Shark-Infested Custard came to CITV, which was an odd combination of jokes, characters and games. The show would start with Harry coming on and telling some of his trademark bizarre jokes, although some of these seemed to be lost on the young studio audience. (Also, the show’s title comes from the old joke “what’s yellow and dangerous? Shark-infested custard.”)
Among all the funny characters including the mighty Stouffer the cat and silly sketches there was also a game show element called Help The Aged, where a youngster had to play a silly game alongside a grandparent to try and win prizes. And at the end everyone would burst into song too, although there wasn’t any Savlon unfortunately.
Although I hadn’t watched CITV for regularly for years by the time Harry Hill’s Shark-Infested Custard launched I decided to watch it and I did enjoy what I saw. It was also shown on Friday afternoons so it was the final CITV show of the week and it reminded me of the times when I used to watch CITV on Fridays and was pleased that the weekend was about to begin.
Looking back a decade on I do still think that Harry Hill’s Shark-Infested Custard was a fun show but there was only one series, partly because it ended not long before the CITV timeslot left ITV and the CITV Channel was launched, although like TV Burp the show has often been repeated in more recent years on Cartoon Network. It was much better than the rotten revival of Stars In Their Eyes earlier this year though. What are the chances of that happening?