As Dad’s Army marks half a century of making mirth, this week we’re celebrating comedies past and present.
Saturday 4 August at 7:30pm
Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s classic comedy about the British home guard during World War II is definitely a golden oldie. With wonderful characters like the pompous Captain Mainwaring, the ever-so-polite Sergeant Wilson and the dour Private Frazer, Dad’s Army has found a special place in the nation’s funny bone, and this year has even been celebrated with a set of commemorative stamps. In tonight’s episode, Captain Mainwaring initiates a recruitment campaign to attract new blood to Walmington-on-Sea’s Home Guard – but makes the mistake of leaving Sergeant Wilson in charge of the poster.
Alan Partridge: Why, When, Where, How and Whom?
Saturday 4 August at 10pm
Ahead of his return to the BBC next year, this documentary celebrates the berk in a blazer that is Alan Partridge. Featuring previously unseen footage, the programme includes out-takes and contributions from Alan’s own Dr Frankenstein, Steve Coogan. Plus there’s contributions from some of the victims of those terrible Partridge put-downs, including Rebecca Front and Armando Iannucci.
Keith Lemon: Coming in America
Saturday 4 August at 10pm
From one brilliant comic creation to… Keith Lemon. This week, Keith’s odd odyssey across the States sees him in the running for his dream job. But there’s a problem with his work visa, which means he’ll have to take drastic action. Is that the sound of wedding bells?
Sunday 5 August at 8pm, 8:40pm and 9:20pm
Listen very carefully: everyone’s favourite downtrodden French café owner never fails to raise a laugh. Unfortunately for Rene, the joke is always on him. Tonight, Rene and his staff dress up as characters from horror films to fool Herr Flick. Is that likely to work? What do you think?
Who is America?
Monday 6 August at 10pm
Given the times we’re living in, it’s hard graft being a satirist when so much of the news seems beyond parody. But if anyone can step up to the satirical plate, it’s the creator of Ali G and Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen takes his souped-up characters on the road to interview such luminaries as Bernie Sanders and Sarah Palin. But will we really find out who is America?
Monday 6 August at 10:45pm
When this show first aired in 2012, it instantly became BBC Three’s most-watched comedy launch. Described by one critic as “wildly offbeat and comfortingly British”, Cuckoo has plenty of cross-cultural, generation gap material to play with. In the first episode of this new series, Dale is planning to propose to Rachel. One problem: he has to tell her father first.
Steptoe and Son
Drama (Freeview Channel 20)
Wednesday 8 August at 6:40pm
Written by the talented team of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, this 1960s sit-com followed the ups and (mostly) downs of a family rag-and-bone firm. While those who remember the original might look back on the show with nostalgia, younger viewers can get a glimpse of a Britain that no longer exists. Tonight, Albert and Harold hope cut-price lead will present the answer to their financial problems.
Birds of a Feather
Thursday 9 August at 8:30pm
This show falls into both the “then” and “now” comedy categories. It first aired on BBC One in 1989, and ended its run nine years later. Repeat showings testified to its enduring popularity, but in 2014 a new series returned to our screens, this time on ITV. The evergreen characters of Tracey, Sharon and Dorien have given us many laughs down the years, and that’s no exception in tonight’s episode: Dorien as a magazine agony aunt? This has to be seen to be believed!