Man Stroke Woman (BBC3, 2005-2007)
Man Stroke Woman is a comedy show which featured a sextet who performed in various sketches, three male, three female. The three men were Nick Burns, Ben Crompton and Nick Frost who had appeared in various other memorable comedy shows including Nathan Barley, Ideal and Spaced. The three women were Amanda Abbington, Daisy Haggard and Meredith MacNeill. The basic theme running through the show was simply how to get through your life and interact with other people from both a male and female perspective.
There were also a few recurring characters. In the first series there was a sketch were Abbington wore a ridiculous outfit and Burns tried to explain this, leading Abbington to always conclude “you can never just say that I look nice, can you?”. There was also a good one-off where a judge is about to deliver a sentence in a high-profile case, and then someone runs in and says “it’s snowing!”, and everyone leaves the court overexcited.
Also featuring were someone who was mislaying his son Josh in ever more strange places, and two men who always end up doing something daft because “you said there’d be girls here!”. Every edition always ended with a sketch featuring some workers in a cosmetic shop who were rude to their customers, and in one edition the customer was played by Miranda Hart before she went on to have her own show.
The second series introduced more regular characters including a drunk uncle played by Frost who is always setting a bad example to his 12-year-old nephew, the woman who predicts shockingly bad futures for other people’s children before concluding “or… he’ll be fine!”, the musician who reveals on stage the rather dodgy stories the inspired the song that he is about to perform, and a giggling woman who is always prank calling her policewoman flatmate with ever more ridiculous made-up emergencies.
Man Stroke Woman was made by the same production team as The Office and it had a good cast who put in some consistently funny performances in some quirky sketches, and many of them went on to further success in TV and film. Another half-decent BBC3 comedy show, who would have thought it! If you make enough comedy shows I suppose that some of them will turn out alright and I definitely thought that this was one of the better ones.
Man Stroke Woman ran for two series which have both been released on DVD, and they also contain some behind the scenes extras. Although I don’t recall ever hearing anyone use the show’s catchphrases and it didn’t gain a huge following, it definitely had an impact on me, although I must admit this isn’t my all-time favourite BBC3 comedy, I’ll get round to revealing what that one is soon.