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Tony Grist

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Ruddy Hell [Apr. 24th, 2007|11:11 am]
Tony Grist
Harry Enfield is back. I'm so pleased. It's almost as if he'd been written out of the story- as can happen with figures from the recent past. The Little England boys acknowledged a debt to Dick Emery, but did they name-check Harry? I don't think they did.

Harry's sketch shows of the 1990s- with Paul Whitehouse and Kathy Burke in support-  were the best. No comedian  has ever created so many unforgettable characters: Loadsamoney, Stavros, Wayne and Waynetta, Kevin the Teenager, Mr Cholmondley-Warner, Nicey and Smashey, Tim Nice-But-Dim- the list goes on and on. And it wasn't just comedy he was doing- it was also a kind of skewed social history. Harry was never political in the Ben Elton sense, but he was always showing us who we were- and what ugly little habits we'd got ourselves into. 

And  then- at the end of the decade- he moved from the BBC to Sky,  starred in a show that was quite bewilderingly coarse and unfunny and sort of went off the radar. Kaput!

But the new show for the BBC- with Paul Whitehouse as co-star- takes him right back where he belongs. He's wiped the slate clean- as he always does- and his new characters are as good as any from the back catalogue. I particularly love the boutique owner who sells over-priced tat to Sloanes with the catchphrase "I saw you coming" and the cartoon versions of Bono and the Edge, and the terrifyingly friendly American tourists and the evil Nelson Mandela and- well- you get the point. Too many funny men hit middle-age and stop being funny. Harry has had his mid-life crisis and he's out the other side.  I love Little Britain. I think Webb and Mitchell are terrific,  but Harry Enfield is still the guv'nor. Hooray!