1 9 9 8 (UK)
2 0 0 2 (UK)
Whilst Britain was mesmerised by The Fast Show, a vastly superior sketch show appeared on BBC2.
Big Train was in the Monty Python mould, featuring sketches that started out as one thing before turning into something else, such as ‘Alfred Hitchcock’s The Working Class‘; a Saint style fight breaking out at a posh dinner party; a Western shoot-out between Chaka Khan and the Bee Gees; or Chairman Mao leaping off his deathbed to do a Bryan Ferry impression.
The cast threw themselves into proceedings with commendable straight-faced enthusiasm; Simon Pegg, Julia Davis and Catherine Tate later became major stars.
This was writing duo Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan’s first series since Father Ted and suffered by way of comparison.
Big Train deserved to be a greater success than it was, though it was possibly too oblique for mainstream tastes and a lot of it went over people’s heads.