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Big Train, series 1

I happened upon this early Graham Lineman show after I Netflixed The IT Crowd, and was doubly persuaded when I saw that it featured Simon Pegg. Big Train continues the British tradition of sketch comedy, building on the Python tradition but feeling a bit more like Kids in the Hall, but without the returning characters. It’s pretty funny, though not amazing. Some thoughts:

  • One of my favorite things about British television is its insular nature. Among the people I enjoyed seeing on Big Train: Simon Pegg (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and others); Mark Heap (Brian from Spaced); and Kevin Eldon (small parts on I’m Alan Partridge and Black Books). For a while I thought Amelia Bullmore was Fran from Black Books, but she was played by Tamsin Greig. Really, they look quite a bit alike.
  • The show has a running gag throughout involving the “Stare-off” contest in which two combatants stare at each other. It’s minutes of animated stillness narrated by sports commentators who “wow!” and gasp at the motionless competitors on the screen.
  • Overall, it’s pretty high quality sketch comedy, and worth a look if you like shows following Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Kids in the Hall.

Here are youtube clips of a couple of the amusing sketches.

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