The World Of Lee Evans (Channel 4, 1995)
Lee Evans is the stand-up comedian who has become known for his rather odd observations on life that were delivered in a very energetic style (of course he was usually referred to as “the rubber-faced funnyman”). By the mid-90s, he had become popular enough to be given his own series on Channel 4. While Lee’s later BBC1 sitcom So What Now often relied on his physical performance for laughs meaning it earned comparisons with Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, this show contained very little dialogue, making it seem rather close in style to Mr Bean.
The World Of Lee Evans(a Granada Production for Channel 4) featured six stories (that were all written by Lee himself), and most of them featured him getting into some rather awkward situations, which was a cue for plenty of comedy falling over (his character in every episode was called “Lee” too). But even if it is just a show that consists of Lee making silly faces for half-an-hour, then that’s still fine by me. There was also a great support cast, even though they had to be content with taking second place to Lee’s performance.
These included Caroline Aherne, Phil Daniels, Sean Lock, John Thomson, and Jo Unwin. There was also a brief appearance from Mark Heap, which is always a good move if you want to get me to watch. Lee would cause trouble wherever he went, whether it be at an all-night garage, trying to meet the parents of his pregnant girlfriend, making a train journey, or picking up a strange hitchhiker.
There were just four editions of The World Of Lee Evans which were shown on Friday nights, and although it received a mixed reception, it was nominated for a Bafta. There has been a DVD release, but it doesn’t contain any extras, and I don’t remember there being any repeat runs in more recent years. Lee definitely kept working hard throughout this period though, as his status continued to increase on the stand-up circuit, to the point that he then broke into film.
Lee appeared in various successful films including Mouse Hunt and There’s Something About Mary. Following on from this, a lot of his stand-up tours have continued to do well and have also been released on DVD (maybe he could be classed as a “fall-over” instead of a stand-up, ha-ha). And then in 2001, he returned to the sitcom format with So What Now (that I reviewed a while back).