Robert Hampton

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23rd March 2010

Get into the Flashback Booth
Posted by at 4.58pm | Television | No responses

It was Autumn 1996 (I think) and your humble webmaster was flicking around the channels on his Telewest analogue cable box (Channel 7 is YOUR local channel!), alighting on the nascent Paramount Comedy. This was a time before the channel could rely on Frasier and South Park to prop up its schedules, and instead relied on two main sources of programming: old US sitcoms from the 1970s, and old US sitcoms from the 1990s which were cancelled after 7 episodes.

Amidst all the rubbish was the occasional gem, and the one I discovered that cold October night was It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, a wonderfully surreal sitcom starring the titular comedian and his neighbours. What marked this show out was that all the characters “knew” they were in a sitcom — cue much fourth-wall breaking and subverting of the genre. It wasn’t unusual to see the show play around with time (“It’s now two weeks later!”) or turn the cameras around to get the audience involved: one memorable episode saw the audience invited to Garry’s mother’s birthday party, only to give her a heart attack when they yelled, “Surprise!”

Running for four seasons from 1986-1990 (and originally screened in the UK on BBC2), it was somewhat overshadowed when Shandling made The Larry Sanders Show in the following decade, and nobody really seems to remember this show. There’s not even many dodgy clips on YouTube to jog the memory.

But I have found a morsel of Flash video goodness for you, so while you’re waiting for that essential DVD to arrive, here’s the ace opening titles in full, setting the tone for everything that follows:-

18th October 2008

The Hills are Alive
Posted by at 2.14pm | Television | No responses

Soap actors, tremble in fear, for Harry Hill’s TV Burp is back tonight!

It’s one of those shows that’s impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t seen it. Harry Hill shows clips of Coronation Street that look strange when shown out of context? What’s hilarious about that? Fortunately, I don’t have to explain, because there are loads of clips on YouTube to do it for me.

So, settle in for the first of a 25 (TWENTY FIVE!) episode run, tonight at 6.55pm on ITV1, but not before you’ve headed over to Amazon for what will surely be the must-have DVD this Christmas: Harry Hill’s TV Burp Gold

6th April 2008

All glory to the Hypnotoad!
Posted by at 12.13am | Television | No responses

Today I watched a new episode of a ludicrous sci-fi comedy, recently revived after many years off the air, and frankly, I was disappointed. But enough about Doctor Who, because my DVD of Futurama: Bender’s Big Score arrived today!

I won’t spoil it by going into details, but suffice to say: brilliantly clever, endlessly quotable, effortlessly amusing, and with lots of in-jokes and references for the die-hard fans. I can’t wait for the next three instalments (but I’ll have to, because they haven’t been released yet).

God bless you Matt Groening, you unpronounceably-surnamed genius.

25th December 2007

Dicing with death
Posted by at 11.02am | Fun | No responses

So, you’re spending Christmas with your family and at first it seems like a good time is going to be had by all: a shedload of presents, her Maj telling us what’s on her mind, the cheery prospect of Christmas dinner to come, and special episodes of Doctor Who and TV Burp to look forward to. But what happens after that, when things start to flag slightly and the prospect of Twelfth Night is actually starting to look appealing?

Obviously, it’s time to pull out that great family get-together standby; a game! Obviously the game has to be chosen carefully, lest an unholy Christmas-ruining family row break out. With that in mind, here’s my handy guide to the best games on the market today. Not literally today, of course, because the shops are shut. Oh, you know what I mean…

Read the rest of this post »

20th October 2007

A 100% complete change of topic
Posted by at 6.10pm | It's My Life | No responses

Two days after the postal strike is called off, the score is as follows:-

1 credit card statement.
1 letter from Sky saying that they’re changing (reducing) the channels I get in my package.

C’mon guys! Where’s that Family Guy DVD? If you bring it on Monday, I’ll let you come over and watch it.*

(* no I won’t)

14th October 2007

Go Wildcats! (not the High School Musical basketball team)

To: Liverpool’s striking postal workers
From: Robert Hampton (that’s me)

I’ve been fairly blasé about your unofficial industrial action up until now, but on Friday posted a couple of preordered items to me, and I’d like to receive them this side of 2008. So go back to work.

That is all.