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Series tracing the roots of light entertainment. This edition charts the comedian's rise to the top, from working men's clubs to Tony Hancock to 1980s alternative comedy.

In the 21st century, comedy is firmly at the very heart of light entertainment and, far from struggling for their art, comedians stand to make a fortune if they hit the nation's funny bone. Laughter is now a very big business, but it wasn't always like this - back in the early days of music hall, the comic was the lowest of the low in the showbiz world.

This episode charts the comedian's meteoric rise to the top, examining the careers and lives of comedy legends past and present. From the music hall antics of Edwardian surrealist comic Little Titch to the modern-day surrealism of Little Britain, it presents a unique insight into the lives and minds of the finest comedians the UK has ever seen.

It traces the enormous influence the northern working men's clubs had on British comedy, examines the alternative comedy movement which fought against sexism and racism, and uncovers the private sadness and inner torment of many of the greatest laughter-makers from Frankie Howerd to Tony Hancock.

Stars appearing include Victoria Wood, Bruce Forsyth, Stanley Baxter, Jo Brand, Bernard Manning, Freddie Starr, Roy Chubby Brown and many more.

1 hour


Role Contributor
Producer Mark Turnbull
Director Mark Turnbull
Series Editor Anna Gien


  • Sat 17 Mar 2012 19:00