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The Comic Strip

The Comic Strip is a group of British comedians, best known to the world at large for their television series The Comic Strip Presents.... The core members of the group are Peter Richardson, Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, with frequent appearances by Robbie Coltrane, Keith Allen and Alexei Sayle.

Most of the group started performing at the Comedy Store in London's Soho, before setting up their own premises in a nearby strip club. There they came to the attention of Jeremy Isaacs, head of the newly-formed Channel 4. Peter Richardson negotiated a deal for six self-contained, half-hour films, using the group as comedy actors, rather than stand-up performers.

The Comic Strip Presents..., first broadcast on 2nd November 1982 (the opening night of Channel 4), was extremely anti-establishment in tone and tenor, frequently satirising topical issues. It was also well-known for its parodies, such as "Five Go Mad In Dorset", a parody of The Famous Five. "Bad News Tour" was a spoof rockumentary which had the misfortune to be upstaged by the movie This is Spinal Tap a few months later.

20 episodes were produced for Channel 4 between 1982 and 1988, as well as two feature films: The Supergrass (1985) and Eat The Rich (1987). In 1990, the show transferred to BBC2 for another 2 series and various specials, ending in 1993. In 1998 the original group returned to Channel 4 for a one-off special, Four Men In A Car, followed in 2000 by a sequel, Four Men In A Plane.

Over half the episodes were written by Peter Richardson with Pete Richens, and Richardson also directed most of the later films. Richardson, Edmondson, Mayall and Planer went on tour as Bad News, and released an album of thrashy rock songs, produced by Brian May of Queen.

List of Comic Strip films

Series 1 (1982-83)

Series 2 (1983-84) Special (1984) Specials (1986) Series 3 (1988) Series 4 (1991) Specials (1992) Series 5 (1993) Special (1998) Special (2000) Feature Films