In what is good news for fans of The Comic Strip Presents…, it was announced this week that it is to return for a one-off sixty minute special. It will air on Channel 4 later this year. Once again Peter Richardson and Pete Richens, who wrote many of the previous comedies in the series over the years, will write it. It is called The Hunt For Tony Blair, with Stephen Mangan (Green Wing, Dirk Gently and Episodes) taking the starring role. Additionally, Comic Strip regulars Robbie Coltrane, Nigel Planer, Rik Mayall and John Sessions will join him.
Described by Channel 4 as a 1950s-style ‘fugitive’ drama, the film will also feature Jennifer Saunders playing Margaret Thatcher. She also played the same role in a previous ‘Comic Strip’ called GLC. Harry Enfield will take on the role of Alastair Campbell. More details on the prodcution and cast will emerge later. However for now, let’s look at the show’s legacy.
Comic Strip Legacy
You can watch all of the old episodes of The Comic Strip Presents… on Channel 4’s online streaming service 4oD here for free (if you live in the UK). They’re also still available in a dvd box set from all good retailers. If you want a brief glimpse of what the show offered, here’s a nice fan-made trailer I found on YouTube.
The Comic Strip Presents… first season premiered on November 2nd 1982, the same night that Channel 4 launched. The first episode was called Five Go Mad In Dorset, and continued with more series and one-off specials over the coming years. There was a brief move to the BBC until a fifth series in 1993 seemed to have brought the collective collaboration to an end. However, they have subsequently reconvened for three more specials since then. They released Four Men In A Car (1998) and Four Men In A Plane (2000). More recently in 2005 there was …Sex Actually, a spoof of the similarly named British ‘rom-com’.
The Hunt For Tony Blair should air this autumn, on Channel 4.