The YouTube Files – Les Lives.

Les Lives (BBC2, 1993)

This is a comedy show that I don’t remember watching at the time, but the description intrigued me enough to look for more on YouTube. In the early-90s, Vic Reeves Big Night Out became a success with viewers, and made a big comedy star of the host, along with Bob Mortimer. But they weren’t the only ones who took part. Another regular was Les (Fred Aylward), their mute assistant who was bald and always wore big glasses.

And as it turns out, after Vic and Bob went off to BBC2 to launch a new comedy show, so did Les. It’s no surprise really to discover that this was a show that was rather unusual. Les Lives (which was shown as part of the DEF II strand) was a dialogue-free comedy which had five-minute episodes. I have noticed that some of the more curious comedy shows that I have reviewed over the years have either been dialogue-free or very short, so what would it be possible for Les to get up to in this time?

Before this, little was known about Les beyond the fact that he is rather fond of spirit levels. And we discover that Les lives in a rather unusual world, where trying to do the simple things is rather difficult for him. He always tries to fill the time somehow though. He can do whatever takes his fancy, whether it’s having a haircut (even though he’s bald, ha-ha), or maybe one day he’ll go to the moon, he’s not busy. And you thought that Mr Bean could be odd.

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Needless to say, everybody that he encounters ended up being caught in his chaos. I can definitely say that this lived up to my expectation that this was going to be something rather weird, Vic and Bob themselves couldn’t have done any better. Les Lives only ran for one series, and didn’t have a repeat run (and I don’t recall seeing the Les character on TV again either), but it seems that there was a VHS release.