Christmas counter

Thursday, 28 October 2010

1991 Flashback: Drop The Dead Donkey

Another trip back to 1991, this time to an iconic Christmas special. Channel 4's Drop The Dead Donkey was a satirical comedy set in a newsroom, and for the first two or three series was scripted and acted 24 hours before transmission. It kept the comedy sharp and the satire fresh,
making it a must-watch for anyone looking for something a bit more substantial than what the BBC were offering at the same time.

The end of the second series was right next to Christmas, so a take on the office Christmas party was an obvious target for the writers. The first half showed the cast getting completely ratted and came complete with every office stereotype you can think of, from the smug tea-totaller lecturing about how much healthier he is, through the management trying to keep the staff working in a professional manner, to the almost inevitable drunken one-night stand.

The second half of the episode featured the aftermath, as people's memories slowly returned in sobering clarity, with the unseen events of the previous night revealing themselves through their consequences and damage trail. The meekest guy in the office turns out to be the centre of a whirlwind of drunken debauchery. And there's of course the massive payoff as the one-night stand resolves itself.

The Christmas party episode was the pinnacle of the whole run of Drop The Dead Donkey - soon after they phased out the up-to-the-minute satire, instead focussing on the relationships between the staff of the news company, losing the edge that made the series unmissable back in the day. Fortunately it's repeated often on the comedy channels on satellite TV, and the whole run is even on 4OD - including the Christmas episode. Well worth a look - for me it's still funny after several viewings and after all these years.

No comments:

Post a Comment