Written by Paul Whitehouse who was the writing partner with Harry Enfield and Charlie Higson, The Fast Show (known in the USA as Brilliant!) is one of the best comedy programmes to have been produced in Britain in recent years. It was shown on BBC 2 in the UK from 1994 to 2000 and ran for three series, with numerous specials. The programme was finished off in style with a fantastically funny three part special, shown over the course of a week and a brief appearance on Comic Relief in 2001.
The programme itself consisted of an absurdly huge amount of short sketches, often fitting in up to 90 in a half hour show, and was inspired by the highlights films that writers produce when a series is in the making. These are then touted around to different TV companies, in an attempt to get their show on the air. Paul Whitehouse thought that these were often funnier than the finished product and decided to see if it was possible to extend this idea to come up with a complete show.
The humour is heavily reliant on a legion of catchphrase
s and repetition, but works none the less.
Many of the characters created for the show, have gone on to feature in several companies advertising campaigns, most notably Patrick Nice's appearance promoting Heineken, and some of the characters have had either their own hour long special, such as Ted and Ralph, or in the case of Ron Manager, a seperate show, Jumpers For Goalposts which is shown on Sky One
All the parts in the on The Fast Show are performed by a relatively small group of actors, which included Arabella Weir, Caroline Aherne, Charlie Higson, Eryl Maynard, John Thompson, Maria McErlane, Mark Williams, Paul Shearer, Paul Whitehouse, Robin Driscoll, Rhys Thomas, and Simon Day, with the odd performance by Ed Winchester who always played himself.