This Morning With Richard Not Judy (BBC2, 1998-1999)
Recently I reviewed the mid-90s comedy show Fist Of Fun, which brought double act Stewart Lee and Richard Herring’s style to TV. About two years later, they returned for another series, and the first thing that has to be noted about it is the scheduling. Around this time, rather curiously, BBC2 had a slot for comedy shows on Sunday afternoons, and after The Sunday Show became a success, they decided to try out another one in the slot.
This Morning With Richard Not Judy was a 45-minute show that went out live, and Lee and Herring definitely picked up where they left off with their amusingly unusual style. The look of the show was a parody of daytime lifestyle shows such as This Morning on ITV, although this ended up going not much beyond there being a big sofa in the studio where most of the sketches would be performed.
There would also be a few pre-recorded features, including Pause For Thought For The Day, where a vicar would make some strange observations, Angus Deayton’s Authorised History Of Alternative Comedy, Men Of Achievement 1974, plus parodies of children’s channels, and documentaries, including one that seemed to only consist of someone constantly throwing a jar of beetroot everywhere (I suppose you had to be there).
Back in the studio, features included King Of The Show, where someone was pulled out of the studio audience and was treated as a star for the day, The Curious Orange, who always asked odd questions, along with comedian guests being interviewed, and Lee and Herring’s old mate Kevin Eldon helped out with a lot of the sketches. There was also the chance to contact the show via phone or email to have your views mocked, and you could take part in pointless phone polls if you liked throwing your money away.
There were two series of This Morning With Richard Not Judy, and it always managed to just about stay on the right side of descending into complete chaos. And also, there was a revised repeat on Friday evenings, condensing the best bits into a shorter 30 minute slot, which was probably an attempt at trying more make a little more sense of everything that had happened.
There has been no DVD release of the show, and following the struggle to get Fist Of Fun released, there almost certainly never will be, but all of the 18 editions are on YouTube. It was definitely one of the more unusual comedy offerings that was around at the time though. There was also a stage show, but Lee and Herring didn’t do much more together after this, and they have now gone their separate ways and have had further success in their solo careers. Maybe all that rowing about the washing up finally took its toll.