A Bit of Fry and Laurie, the British sketch comedy television series written by and starring former Cambridge Footlights members Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
It started life in 1987 a 35 minute pilot episode. It returned in 1989 for it’s first full series, with the first three series being screened on BBC2, the traditional home for the BBC’s comedy sketch shows. The show ended up running for four series with the Fourth series being broadcast on BBC1. Twenty six episodes were made in total.
The fourth and final series was the least well-received, this is believed to be for a number of reasons: BBC1 not being the best place to showcase Fry and Laurie’s arch humour; it featured celebrity guests in all but one episode, the addition of which neither Fry nor Laurie approved; and it was shown not long after Stephen Fry’s nervous breakdown in 1995, which cast a shadow over the series.
Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie star in various sketches.
In a similar vein to The Two Ronnies, elaborate wordplay and innuendo frequently formed part of the material. It frequently broke the fourth wall, i.e. characters revering back to their real-life selves mid-sketch, or the camera would often pan off set into the studio (Mrs Brown’s Boys makes good use of the same thing here in 2015).
In addition, the show was punctuated with non-sequitur vox pops in a similar style to those of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, often making irrelevant statements, heavily based on wordplay. Laurie was also seen playing piano and a wide variety of other instruments and singing comical numbers, perhaps a starting ground for his Copper Bottom band of today?
BBC2 (series 1-3)
BBC1 (series 4)
Written and Created By: Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie
Original Transmission Dates:
Pilot: 26th December 1987
Series: 13th January 1989 – 2nd April 1995