The Weekenders (Channel 4, 1992)
This is yet another comedy show that I didn’t see at the time that I have wanted to review, because I think that this has an interesting story. Vic Reeves Big Night Out had been a big success of Channel 4, but after two series and several tours, Vic and Bob wanted to try something a little different. People had said that “comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll” around this time, and they were considered to be a part of this movement.
But what exactly would they do next? They decided to have a go at the sitcom format. Their surreal style is probably the ultimate in “you either get it or you don’t”, but I definitely have found their work amusing over the years. The Weekenders was a one-off sitcom made on location that they wrote and starred in, that was shown as part of Bunch Of Five, a series of comedy pilot episodes.
The plot is rather difficult to make sense of, even by their own standards, although there is a meat festival included, along with plenty of aliens, and general silliness inbetween. In Wythenshawe! There were also some guest appearances from Paul Whitehouse, Simon “bid again, Simon” Day, and John Thomson, who would all go on to contribute to The Fast Show. They all looked so young…
And there was also an appearance by The Human League’s Phil Oakey. They didn’t say their catchphrase “it’s slightly rippled with a flat underside” though. One thing that I do remember from the time about The Weekenders is that this was shown on my sister’s 18th birthday, and she was arguably an even bigger Vic and Bob fan than I am, so this was just the ideal present for her.
About two decades later, this was repeated as part of the Funny Fortnight season (not to be confused with the old comic Funny Fortnightly), when a lot of comedy shows from the Channel 4 archive were surprisingly shown in a late-night slot. A new introduction was made for this, with some reminisces about making this show from Vic and Bob.
And there was also a previously unaired comedy pilot that they made in the 90s shown was part of this season too, which this was just as odd was we’d come to expect. Despite being well received, The Weekenders got no further than the pilot episode, partly because Vic and Bob had decided to move to BBC2 not long after, and they wouldn’t return to sitcoms until Catterick many years later.