Planet Mirth (ITV, 1997)
This is a comedy show that I don’t remember from the time, but I was interested in seeing this one because of its premise and its cast. Planet Mirth was a late-night comedy sketch show that was described by Radio Times Guide To TV Comedy (they never did do another volume of that, did they?) as “a waste of space”. Is that harsh? Well this can’t be any worse than Dare To Believe can it.
Enough clips of this show have now turned up on YouTube for me to be able to do a review (credit goes to “tdrury”). As well as being a sketch show, Planet Mirth was science-fiction themed (and was a co-production between Carlton and The Sci-Fi Channel), with a quartet of performers, and among the cast was Milton Jones, whose work on the TV and radio I have enjoyed over the years, and this was rather early on in his career.
There were a few sketches that featured regularly. These included Every Single Morning, a parody of a daytime TV show that was supposedly watched by viewers on various planets, along with four people having adventures on a space caravan holiday. There were also aliens taking part in a game of Earth Invaders, and Susan Snape, who is originally from Venus, and is still trying to adjust to how things work on Earth.
This show was done on location, and there was no laughter track. The problem with the show wasn’t because of the cast really, but it was clear that Planet Mirth was made on a small budget, and because of its timeslot would attract few viewers. There were also plenty of writers who contributed, but somehow all of these people couldn’t create anything that amounted to much.
But surprisingly, there was only one series, and this ran to a huge 19 editions, meaning that many of the sketches were stretched too far. If this had been only six parts, maybe everything could’ve been better. At least they bothered, as there is very little original programming on TV late at night now, and it’s always good seeing Milton do his thing, however good or bad the show is. There has been no DVD release, and there isn’t even a Wikipedia entry.