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17 April 2014
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Canned Carrott

Jasper Carrott

This two-series run had content that would not have surprised, but would most certainly have delighted, fans of the prolific Jasper Carrott.

Each episode followed a fairly standard pattern, mixing stand-up, advert spoofs and most notably, two recurring sketches.

The first of these: Wiggy, adopted a silent movie style, with Carrott's bewigged halfwit having a series of misadventures. They took the form of instruction films, with Wiggy (badly) demonstrating, among other things, how to be a best man, make a birthday cake and be an ambulance driver; Enn Reitel's plummy narration often comically juxtaposed with the events unfurling on screen.

Pure farce, the sketches successfully showcased Carrott's expressive mugging despite the nagging feeling that the whole premise was rather too close to Mr Bean for comfort.

Nevertheless, Wiggy proved popular with audiences and the skits themselves never seemed to run out of steam.

The Detectives: featuring hopeless plods Briggs and Louis, was successful enough to spawn a full length spin-off.

Carrott persuaded his old friend Robert Powell to show his (hitherto rather neglected) funny side and the pair had great fun making a mess of law enforcement, much to the chagrin of their boss (a note perfect George Sewell).

Carrott's ability as a storyteller was wisely employed, with the titular host musing on everything from airports to witnessing childbirth.

None of the subject matter was necessarily ground breaking, but Carrott's material was bang on the mark and brilliantly performed.

There was also space for emerging talent, with relative TV newcomers Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis being given a healthy portion of screen time, enabling them to subsequently break out with their own vehicles.

Canned Carrott may well have inspired successful spin-offs, but as an entity itself it was a wholly satisfying, undemanding slice of prime-time comedy entertainment.

Cast

Jasper Carrott
performer
Robert Powell
performer
Steve Punt
performer
Hugh Dennis
performer

Crew

Jasper Carrott
writer
Steve Knight
writer
Mike Whitehill
writer
Paul Alexander
writer
Steve Punt
writer
Hugh Dennis
writer
David Smith
writer
David Treloar
writer
Ed Bye
director
Ed Bye
producer
Paul Smith
executive producer

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