Punt And Dennis (BBC1, 1994-1995)
Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis have worked together as a comedy double-act since the mid-80s. Some of their earliest TV work included BBC1’s Carrott Confidential, and the popular Radio 1 show The Mary Whitehouse Experience alongside Robert Newman and David Baddiel which later moved to BBC2. When this show ended, the double-acts went their separate ways, with Newman and Baddiel going on to BBC2’s In Pieces, while Punt and Dennis got their own sketch show on BBC1 which they also wrote the majority of.
There were two series of Punt And Dennis, the first was actually called The Imaginatively-Titled Punt And Dennis Show. There has been a DVD release but it is rather disappointing, consisting of only a compilation of the first series, and nothing at all of the second series, so I decided to look for more on YouTube, and I came across a full edition from the second series which was uploaded by the team at the great website http://www.curiousbritishtelly.com which like this one reviews various famous and not-so famous TV shows from years gone by and is well worth a visit.
Various regular sketches in Punt And Dennis included the Gullible family who believed everything that they were told, the tiny horse racing jockeys, an irritating news presenter, and Mr Strange who had viewers saying his “milky-milky” catchphrase up and down the country for about five minutes. There were also lots of parodies of TV shows that were big at the time including Baywatch, Bugs and The X Files. And bonus points for doing a parody of the Grandstand Vidiprinter.
Watching an edition of Punt And Dennis from the second series online again brought back lots of memories. Firstly, I remember that the show was on BBC1 during the hot summer of 1995 which is now over 20 years ago. I also remember the rather scary title sequence which features some horrible Plasticine versions of Punt and Dennis. Unfortunately it seems that this series didn’t do very well in the ratings because the final edition was moved from 8pm to the much later 10:45pm. I tried to watch it but I nearly nodded off before the end, a third series wasn’t forthcoming and it was a shame seeing the show end on a low.
Perhaps one of the oddest things about the second series was that every show had a musical interlude, with songs being performed by successful bands such as Abba or The Beatles, which sounds impressive until you realise that they were actually tribute bands. In the first show the performance was accompanied with some facts about the band that were presented in exactly the same style as the Amiga graphics that were still being used on The Chart Show at the time, right down to the film camera/truck/pair of lips symbols and arrow pointer and so on, and I just thought that this was such an unexpected thing for the show to reference. (I can’t find a clip of this edition online unfortunately). However, this was changed in the next edition to general pop-up boxes, I wonder if they had a miffed Video Visuals productions on the phone?
Punt and Dennis still work together to this day, having had more success in recent years on BBC radio with their comedy shows, Radio 2’s It’s Been A Bad Week, and Radio 4’s The Now Show which is currently in its 50th series (not an exaggeration), and they have also toured the country performing sketches live on stage. Dennis has also appeared in various acclaimed TV comedy shows including BBC1 sitcoms Outnumbered and Not Going Out, BBC2’s satire show Mock The Week, and he also recently appeared in Dictionary Corner on Countdown. Maybe we’ll seem them on TV together again soon.