John Walker's Electronic House

Blankety Blank – The Lost Episode

by on Aug.28, 2006, under The Rest

One of the best comedy sketches of all time, and you’ve never heard of it.

EDIT: Oh for God’s sake, Google, like YouTube, refuses to host this sketch. Nevermind the millions of hours of every television programme ever they seem to have no problems with, this obscure, utterly unavailable sketch, made for a charity using money exclusively paid by the public license fee is apparently unacceptable. So you can download it from here until the BBC announce to me personally their logic for attempting to keep it for themselves.

It’s a Blankety Blank sketch, shown during Comic Relief 2003, and stars anyone currently useful in UK comedy (only missing Mitchell & Webb).

Peter Serafinowicz is a perfect Terry Wogan, such that you forget it’s not Terry Wogan after a while. Then the panel of ‘celebrities’ are made up of the amazing Nick Frost as Willie Rushton, Matt Lucas as Su Pollard, David Walliams as Ruth Madoc, Martin Freeman as Johnny Rotten, Simon Pegg as Freddie Starr and super-pretty Sarah Alexander as Lovely Liza Goddard (and her perfect typography). Oh, and Paul Putner as a chauffer.

Then the contestants are Kevin Eldon and someone I can’t identify.

What makes it so remarkable is the darkness. It’s often silly, and plays on too obvious look-it’s-dated gags like mentioning Betamax, but throughout there’s a constant seam of malevolence that keeps it peculiarly uncomfortable. I suspect the silliness and token spoofery is the Trojan horse by which the distinctly un-Comic Relief moments slip through. This is never better than Su Pollard’s wretched agreement with Wogan’s anti-Communist speech.

It’s a sketch that manages to be very funny, while cruelly condemning the very most awful aspects of British television. Pegg’s Starr captures the awful man’s worthlessness, and Lucas and Walliams tap into why Hi-De-Hi actors deserved the loathing they received. Serafinowicz beautifully demonstrates the cowardly nature of Wogan types when faced with anything off-script, and I love how Rotten’s stereotypical cynacism is in fact the only honest perspective.


9 Comments for this entry

  • mathew


    I’ve been looking for this for ages. When I say “looking” I mean half heartedly recalling it when chatting to people about other things, not actually physically looking on the internet or something, but now I’ve (you’ve) found it!


    (I trust you also love Peter’s O! News sketch).

  • craigp

    The unidentified comedy lady is Fiona Allen of Smack the Pony.

  • The_B

    Oh yes! I remember watching this the first time. Love the bit at the end where everyone’s up and waving except the lovely Liza.

    I shall add my general Huzzahs! to this.

  • DAT500

    The unidentified female is not Fiona Allen, it’s Morwenna Banks.

  • Donald Rumsfeld

    “One of the best comedy sketches of all time” -don’t bother.
    I suspect the silliness and woefully outdated spoofery is the Trojan horse’s backside by which the distinctly un-Comic moments dribble out.

    The Blankety Blank satire that actually managed to be very funny, while cruelly condemning the very most awful aspects of British television, was done sixteen years previously on a show called Filthy, rich and Catflap, though, it seems, you’ve never heard of it.


  • admin

    Yes, my recognising the excellent writing and performance in this sketch means I’ve never heard of Rik Mayal and Adrian Edmondson’s post-Young Ones, pre-Bottom series… Oh wait, no it doesn’t. You chose your handle well.

  • Paul Ritchie

    Thank you very much.. You have no idea how much I looked for this sketch. You have made me the happiest guy in the world and I have never met you !

    Not that I regret buying the best of comic relief DVD last year in a desperate last ditch effort to score this sketch as after all the cash went to charity and I got a few laughs.. minus this sketch though it all seemed so tame..

    Thanks !

  • MHW

    The Beeb are a bit mad where copyright and YouTube are concerned. They’ve come down heavily on innocent stuff such as spoof ‘Next Time’ teaser trailers (the sort you see at the end of each episode of the Russell T Davies Doctor Who) for BBC owned programmes. It’s a bit mad, but there it is.