Little Britain: Season 2
June 19, 2006
With Saturday Night Live sinking further into mediocrity, sketch comedy was in desperate need of some new blood. From out of England came two warped comedic minds, Matt Lucas and David Walliams and their brilliantly twisted sketch comedy show Little Britain, done in the same anarchic, taboo-smashing tradition as Monty Python only with a much more repetitive structure. The show follows a simple format that consists of a series of skits featuring a stable of oddball and eccentric characters. Each segment is in turn bridged by a voiceover provided by none other than Tom Baker (of Dr. Who fame) who also provides a hilarious commentary to what we are watching.
The second season brings back many of the beloved characters from the first one, like Vicky Pollard (Lucas), the motormouth teenage girl who tries to talk her way out of the trouble she gets into by speaking so fast that the other person either gets confused or exasperated with the situation. There’s Emily and Florence (Lucas and Walliams), two transvestites who constantly refer to themselves as ladies and dress up in frilly outfits as they try to maintain the illusion that they’re women despite the fact that one of them sports an obvious moustache.
One of the new characters introduced in this season is Bubbles DeVere (Lucas), a rich socialite who is running up an expensive tab at a luxurious spa and avoids paying by offering her obese body to the staff. Lucas wears a frighteningly vivid naked fat suit that definitely pushes the boundaries of good taste. Another new addition is a sweet elderly lady (Walliams) that projectile vomits up food she taste tests when she finds out that it has been made by someone who is gay or black. This character was seen as one of the more controversial bits of this new season as people were understandably put off by all the puking, not just the act itself but also how it was directed at hapless bystanders. However, the funniest new character has to be Carol Beer (Walliams), an office drone who denies her customers with the now classic punch-line, “Computer says no,” delivered in perfectly dry deadpanned style by Walliams.
Arguably the best recurring sketch of the show is with Sebastian Love (Walliams), the gay aide to the British Primer Minister (Head) who harbours a painfully obvious crush on his boss who is bafflingly unaware of his intentions (or in deep denial). Walliams plays Love as very flamboyant and is at his best when he gets insanely jealous of anyone who shows any kind of affection or even friendliness towards the PM.
Lucas and Walliams play well off each other and are fearless performers willing to portray all kinds of grotesque characters both externally and internally. Along with the League of Gentlemen, Little Britain kickstarted a new renaissance of British comedy that cleverly skewers all levels of its country’s culture. There is an impressive diversity to their cast of characters from all walks of life, age groups, and economic classes. If there’s one criticism of the show it is its repetitive nature. If it weren’t for the fact that the writing is so very funny and the acting so good, these characters would get tiring very fast. But they don’t and this is due to the talents of Lucas and Walliams who take the kinds of risks SNL is unwilling or unable to.
Not only can you watch individual episodes you can also watch all the sketches starring your favourite characters which is a really nice touch.
There are audio commentaries for every episode by Lucas, Walliams and the show’s producer Geoff Posner. They talk about the pressures of shooting on location with the general public watching. They also impart interesting behind-the-scenes information like how it took Lucas four hours to get into the Bubbles fat suit and what a hassle it was to keep it together while filming. They also touch upon the mini-controversy of the character that vomits all over people. These are funny, engaging tracks filled with decent observations on how this season was received and how it compares to the first one.
“Little Documentary” takes a look behind-the-scenes at how the show is put together. We see the cast rehearsing and see the sketches in their rough form and then footage of them being filmed in a fly-on-the-wall approach that works well.
Also included is a “Comic Relief” special that Lucas and Walliams did for charity with an optional commentary by them and their producer. They talk about what it was like working with guest stars like George Michael and Elton John in this very funny episode.
There is also a collection of deleted scenes with optional commentary. Lucas and Walliams liked these bits and found them quite funny but felt that after screening them before an audience that they were either too rude or too strange and so they were cut out of the show.
“Little Britain on the NFT” celebrates the ten years that Lucas and Walliams have been working together. They talk about how they met and their careers so far with their customary dry wit.
“The Chris Moyles Show Interview” features Lucas and Walliams being interviewed. They talk about how they met U2 backstage while doing the Jonathan Ross Show.
“The Jonathan Ross Radio Show Interview” was done just after their NFT appearance and starts off with Lucas admitting that he’s an Arsenal football fan which leads into a discussion about footie in general.
“Friday Night with Jonathan Ross Interview” features an appearance on this popular British chat show. Lucas and Walliams dispel the rumour that they are actually a couple and tell some wild and very funny stories as they promote the second season of their show.
“Richard and Judy Sketch” features these two daytime talk show hosts doing a parody of one of the more popular Little Britain sketches.
Finally, there is a bonus “Dafydd Sketch,” the self-described “only gay in the village” who tries out for the police department.