The Paul Merton Show (BBC2, 1996)
This is another one of those comedy shows that I don’t remember from the time, but I have been interested in seeing, and this has turned up online. I have already done pieces looking back at the career of Paul Merton, and how he started out on shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Just A Minute, and Have I Got News For You, and soon become popular with deadpan improvised jokes.
And his Channel 4 sketch show was released on DVD recently, but this ended up being botched, so it’s not really worth buying. But by the mid-90s, when he had established himself as a big comedy name, he decided to try and do something a little different. This included his ITV series where he performed some famous Galton And Simpson scripts, but this wasn’t very well received.
And then, he was given a comedy show of his own on BBC2. Now this could’ve been more of an opportunity to show off some of this improvisational skills, but this was actually an attempt at doing something more mainstream, in an entertainment format. This included Paul coming on to the big stage to tell some jokes, which were followed by some sketches.
But once again, this exposed the fact that he wasn’t that much of an actor, and he isn’t at his best when he has to perform scripted material either. He played a few characters, but he ended up being overshadowed by some of the guests who were invited to take part in the sketches alongside him, including Leslie Ash. Overall the ideas didn’t really gel together though.
What was considered by some to be the highlight of the show was when some fluffy glove puppets performed a famous film scene, meaning that the most surreal moment was the best, which probably wasn’t the plan. I don’t know if The Paul Merton Show was planned to be a one-off, or if there was going to be a full series, but this turned out to be the only edition.
Despite this disappointment, Paul must’ve been pleased that his mum Mrs Merton also had a comedy show on TV around this time though (probably). But about a year on from this, he would return with another one-off comedy show that was an attempt to try something new, would this fare any better? Find out when I’ll review that soon too.