Comedy changes all the time - sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, when smut and swearing seem the “in thing,” writes Tony Spittles.
But standing the test of time is the quirky output from one funnyman, Spike Milligan, whose comedy capers from the late 1960s seem timeless when compared to some of today’s upstarts who seem to hog the limelight.
Viewers with a long memory - or new recruits after the real thing when it comes to madcap mayhem - will, no doubt, welcome Simply Media’s release of Spike Milligan’s Q Volume 1: Series 1 to 3, all eight hours of it, which still is funny 50 years on.
Spike Milligan’s Q was one of the most surreal sketch shows ever made and had a huge influence on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which launched six months after Q first aired in 1969.
Considered one of the best examples of the British Comedy Award winner’s eccentricity and “stream-of-consciousness” humour, Spike’s sketches in Q make outrageous leaps from one subject matter or location to another, stopping with no apparent conclusion, prompting one of his favourite catchphrases, “What are we going to do now?”
Aiding and abetting Spike’s surreal adventures were a host of TV favourites, including John Bluthal (The Vicar of Dibley), John D. Collins (‘Allo, ‘Allo), Peter Jones (The Rag Trade) and Margaret Nolan (Goldfinger) with seasoned satirists Richard Ingrams and John Wells prominent in the rarely-seen early episodes.
This landmark series, now getting its first-ever home entertainment release, comes in a three-disc set on the Simply Media label, priced £24.99. Volume 2, featuring series 4-6, will be released next year.