1 9 9 4 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
Based on the BBC radio show On The Hour (1991), The Day Today brought a visual dimension to TV news satire, similar to Drop The Dead Donkey but with a stronger political desire to expose media manipulation and the degrading of newscasting standards.
The wincingly accurate news parody aired for just six episodes in 1994 but became hugely influential – both on comedy and current affairs coverage.
Steve Coogan, who played ignorant and inept Pringle-clad sportscaster Alan Partridge, found the show a boost to his already rising showbiz fortunes, later basking in Knowing Me Knowing You . . . With Alan Partridge (1994) and I’m Alan Partridge (1997).
Other featured characters included decapitated weatherman Sylvester Stuart (David Schneider); economics correspondent Peter O’Hanrahanrahan (Patrick Marber) – who was bullied into admitting his own ignorance on air by Chris Morris’ anchor; business affairs reporter Collaterlie Sisters (Doon Mackichan), whose nonsensical business news was delivered with intense conviction; and aggressively-eyebrowed American correspondent Barbara Wintergreen (Rebecca Front), whose gruesome reports satirised the prurience of local news in the US.
Front also played travel commentator Valerie Sinatra (“The M50 is clogged up again – that’s not my fault”).
Morris appeared under his own name as the argumentative Jeremy Paxman-like anchorman who took the viewers through a succession of absurd invented news items. Best of all was an interview in which Morris manufactured a war between Britain and Australia, which the programme’s reporters then exploited with relish.
The episode ended with a fake advertisement for a gloriously tasteless video, offering highlights of the war with a soundtrack of pop classics including You Really Got Me over images of the dead and wounded and Disco Inferno over shots of burning buildings.