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The definitive history of a golden age in British show-business, Sunshine On Putty is based on hundreds of interviews with the leading comedians of the era, as well as managers, agents, producers, directors, executives and TV personalities.
In the 1990s, British comedy underwent a renaissance – shows like The Fast Show, The Day Today, Shooting Stars, The League of Gentlemen, The Royle Family and The Office were hugely popular with critics and audiences alike. Just as politics, sport, art, literature and religion seemed to move towards light entertainment, the comedy on the nation's televisions not only offered a home to ideas and ideals of community which could no longer find one elsewhere, but also gave us a clearer picture of what was happening to our nation than any other form of artistic endeavour.
From Ricky Gervais' self-destructive love affair with dairy products to Steve Coogan's suicidal overtaking technique; from the secrets of Vic Reeves' woodshed, to the stains on Caroline Aherne's sofa; from Victor Meldrew's prophetic dream to Spike Milligan's final resting place, Ben Thompson reveals the twisted beauty of British comedy’s psyche.
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In the 1990s, comedians seemed to dominate every sphere of Britain’s cultural life. So perhaps it was fitting that in a decade when politics, sports, art, literature, and even religion threatened to become branches of light entertainment, the best British comedies—The Office, The Day Today, The Fast Show, Shooting Stars, Father Ted, I’m Alan Partridge, The League of Gentlemen, The Royle Family—offered the clearest picture of what was happening to the country. This provocative, very funny book unearths the true twisted beauty of British comedy’s psychic root system: from the stains on Caroline Aherne’s sofa to Ricky Gervais’ self–destructive love affair with dairy products. Ben Thompson writes for THE INDEPENDENT, THE FACE, and GQ.About the Author:
Ben Thompson's comedy career began in the winter of 1986-7, reading a photocopied Ronnie Corbett monologue to an audience of angry students. He never performed again, but later took the opportunity to parade his ignorance of the basic principles of stagecraft in front of a national audience as comedy critic of The Independent On Sunday from 1994-97. He has also written profiles of Britain's best known comedians for The Face, GQ, The Independent, Night & Day and The Saturday Telegraph.
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