More TV Memories – Canned Carrott.

Canned Carrott (BBC1, 1990-1992)

Jasper Carrott is the Brummie comedian whose career stretches over five decades. He first found fame in the mid-70s, when he had a hit single. This then led to plenty of TV work. His first comedy series An Audience With Jasper Carrott (not related to the later long-running An Audience With… series) was on ITV in the late-70s, and was one of the earliest examples of his style that combined observations, jokes, and music.

This was also repeated on ITV3 for a while, and I think that this was released on DVD too. He went on to feature in other ITV comedy shows, including Carrott’s Lib. By the mid-80s, he had moved to the BBC, and had the sketch show Carrott Confidental, which also featured some early appearances by double-act Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, along with adverts compilation Carrott’s Commercial Breakdown.

However, by this point, his routine about what was happening in the world seemed to be scrutinised rather regularly on Points Of View. But the series that caught my attention the most was Canned Carrott, partly because this was repeated rather frequently on Granada Plus for a while, a decade on from being shown on BBC1. Along with his routines, there were a few other regular sketches and features.

These included more advert parodies like the ones featured in Carrott’s Commerical Breakdown. There was also The Detectives, featuring two bumbling policemen, and this became popular enough for there to be a spin-off sitcom which ran for five series. Some of the more unusual moments were provided by the silent character Wiggy, who often got caught up in some Mr Bean-style antics. And some editions ended with Jasper getting his guitar out to perform a song that soon goes wrong.

There were two series of Canned Carrott, and after this, there were further series featuring his unique look at life, including 24 Carrott Gold, Carrott-U-Like, and Back To The Front, along with several compilations and tours. He also starred in the BBC1 sitcom All About Me. I don’t want to be too unkind, but put it this way, My Family looked classy by comparison.

A lot of his shows over the years were produced by Celador, who went on to be behind the earliest series of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Being involved in that company meant that he made a few pounds out of it too. Deciding to do something a little different, he became a game show host himself, and hosted the daytime game Golden Balls, where the contestants aimed to discover the large money amounts that were concealed within the shiny spheres.


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