1 9 8 8 – 1 9 9 1 (UK)
18 x 30 minute episodes
“Who’s that fat bastard?”
After an ill-conceived sojourn alongside Chris Tarrant and Lenny Henry on ITV’s lamentably crude OTT show, bulbous Jewish Liverpudlian comic Alexei Sayle developed in the direction of alternative comedy television via guest spots on The Young Ones and The Comic Strip Presents… – notably in the segment of Comic Strip called Didn’t You Kill My Brother?
This solo show – created by Sayle – followed, mixing mock-reflective monologues with parodies of television itself.
But Alexei Sayle’s Stuff also had an edge of wry observational absurdism – such as a national film critics strike where the army is called in to pen all columns, even providing an emergency Barry Norman – that garnered plaudits and the 1989 Emmy award for Best Foreign Comedy Show.
Yet for all the shaven-headed, tight-suited surrealism, it was the precision of Sayle’s one-liners (referring to the neighbourhood Catholic girls’ school as “the virgin megastore” or claiming that Churchill’s real place in history was as “the last white man to be called Winston”) and his proletarian putting-down of the middle-class Observer readers who adored him, that truly hit the mark.
Alexei Sayle’s Stuff was followed by the All-New Alexei Sayle Show (two series for BBC2) which – title aside – was more of the same Stuff.
Those aiding Sayle onscreen included Angus Deayton and Jan Raven.