Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Monday 29 December 2008

ooh, it’s bitter out!
bitter! yes, missus! bitter!
no!... don’t mock!... poor soul!

I had some DVDs for Christmas; the complete ‘Black Books’, and the complete ‘Up Pompeii’ (Hoorah!), as well as a £20.00 amazon voucher which I will no doubt squander on CDs by obscure Eastern European composers or German rock bands.
‘Up Pompeii’ is one of my all-time favourite comedy series, albeit merely a vehicle to showcase the sublime Frankie Howerd as the slave Lurcio. It is (althoughly cleverly written) a formulaic and deliberately crude farce, which shows Lurcio each week attempting to deliver ‘The Prologue’ only to be inevitably interrupted by Senna The Soothsayer and her perennial cry ‘Woe! Woe! And Thrice Woe!’, and then various members of the House of Ludicrus Sextus. Without Howerd, the show would probably not have even been made, and even if it were, would no doubt have been long forgotten. Frankie’s performance, even with the gaffs, the corpsing, and the occasional stutter, is a masterclass in comic delivery and, nearly forty years after I first saw it on BBC, still never fails to make me laugh out loud.

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