Coogan’s Run (BBC2, 1995)
After the success of characters such as Paul Calf and Alan Partridge Steve Coogan was a hot comedy talent whose career was on the up, and in the mid-90s he was given his own six-part series which featured a new group of characters who all lived in a small town called Ottle who starred in their own one-off sitcom. Coogan was among the writers and there were also appearances from his old The Day Today and Knowing Me Knowing You buddies Rebecca Front and Patrick Marber as various characters, and pleasingly Coogan’s Run was up to standard.
The first edition featured the established characters Paul and Pauline Calf who have just witnessed an armed robbery. The second edition featured the slick computer hardware businessman Gareth Cheeseman who has a right old disaster trying to pitch a new product at a sales conference. It was also reported that Cheeseman was going to be given his own spin-off sitcom but it never materialised.
The third edition was set in the early-60s and featured the handyman Ernest Moss who was trying to stop a new property development in his small village. The fourth edition featured the faded club entertainer Mike Crystal who hatched a plot to try and revive his career by inventing an alter-ego called Clint who demands that the club’s manager gives Mike a better deal.
The fifth edition featured the trivia-obsessed Crump brothers. After they lost on the game show Top Of The Class, 20 years later they try to gain revenge by playing the game again and hoping to win, even going so far as to track down the show’s host Jeremy Monkhead. The sixth edition featured the thoroughly boring Tim Fleck who is the curator at a failing museum which he is trying to stop from being closed and turned into a steakhouse.
Coogan’s Run was another great piece of comedy featuring a wide variety of strange characters which I laughed a lot at and it’s a shame that apart from the Calfs none of them were seen again. I would have to say that my favourite episode was the one featuring Guy Crump, mostly because it was based around game shows, with the Cheeseman and Crystal episodes not far behind. The show also had a great opening sequence and there was another good touch where the other characters would make cameo appearances in one another’s episode.
About a year after this Coogan would launch another new character who was Tony Ferrino but you really don’t need to know about him, and then he would go back to Alan Partridge for further success, before doing another unusual six-part comedy series called Dr Terrible’s House Of Horrible which I will review soon. Coogan’s Run has been released on DVD as is definitely worth a look.