The Armstrong and Miller Show

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For the Paramount Comedy and Channel 4 series, see Armstrong and Miller (TV series).
The Armstrong and Miller Show
The Armstrong and Miller Show logo.jpg
Series 1-2 title card
Directed by
  • Dominic Brigstocke (series 1 & 2)
  • Ben Kellett (series 3)
Starring Alexander Armstrong
Ben Miller
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 19
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Hat Trick Productions
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
Original run 26 October 2007 (2007-10-26) – present[1]
Chronology
Preceded by Armstrong and Miller
External links
Website

The Armstrong and Miller Show is a British sketch comedy television show produced by Hat Trick Productions for BBC One. It features the double act Armstrong and Miller and a number of notable scriptwriters including Andy Hamilton, co-creator of Outnumbered, and Jeremy Dyson, co-creator of The League of Gentlemen. It has run for three series and won two BAFTA nominations, winning one. A fourth series has been confirmed by Ben Miller, but will not begin production for a while due to both his and Armstrong's commitments to other projects.[1]

The series followed four series of Armstrong and Miller on the Paramount Comedy Channel and Channel 4 between 1997 and 2001.

Some recurring characters and jokes[edit]

  • Two World War II RAF pilots who speak in upper-class accents but have the language and attitudes of chav stereotypes, using colloquialisms such as "blud" and peppering their speech with "like" and "and shit".
  • Brabbins and Fyffe, a pair of Flanders and Swann-like musicians who sing bawdy songs, sometimes hastily censored by the BBC.
  • An insensitive but caring father (played by Armstrong) with the inability to sugar-coat difficult issues for his son (played by Tyger Drew-Honey).
  • Roger (played by Miller) who continually returns home early, oblivious to clues that his wife and best friend Pete are having an affair. He accepts the increasingly ludicrous explanations.
  • Two Neanderthals who negotiate their way anachronistically through modern social difficulties such as job interviews and baby naming.
  • Vox pops in which characters describe their quirks and mental illnesses and end with "so that's why I became a teacher".
  • A plain-speaking satellite navigation system that advises a driver to avoid certain roads for non-traffic, often 'right-wing' Tabloid related reasons.
  • Dennis Lincoln-Park, a TV historian (played by Miller) who accidentally destroys priceless historical treasures.
  • A man who tends to reveal too much information about his strange and disturbing hobbies while in polite company, following them up with "Was that a bit too weird?".
  • A dentist who recounts sordid tales of tasteless encounters to which his patient, whose mouth is full of dental equipment, is unable to object.
  • Parodies of public information films, voiced by Armstrong, whereby the obvious danger (a child standing on a stool and using a chip pan) is ignored in favour of a trivial change (using a chair instead of a stool).
  • Various characters (played by Armstrong) including a children's TV presenter with two puppet sidekicks and a marriage counsellor, who after other characters have left the room says the words "Kill them" into an intercom in a distinctly "evil" tone of voice. After the credits of the final episode of series one this character is played by the producer with the order directed at Armstrong and Miller themselves.
  • A Geordie window cleaner who gives a philosophical monologue before finishing with "but what do I know?"
  • Jim (played by Miller), on honeymoon in Hawaii alone after his wife left him for the DJ on their wedding day.
  • Striding Man, a businessman (played by Armstrong), who is pursued by a team of researchers providing him with apparently useless and random information. He is fired in the final episode of series 2, but returns in series 3 as a secondary school headmaster.
  • A guy who regularly wanders into an expensive-looking shop to browse, only to be told by the salesman on hand to "fuck off" if he's not buying anything.
  • An MI6 agent (played by Miller) is trying to do serious work, but his over-caring boss (played by Armstrong) makes light of these situations and forces the agent to partake in fun, children's activities.
  • Various suave male characters whose intentions are dashed when the other characters in the sketch notice their hairstyle, with the words "Ugh. Ponytail!", and start vomiting.
  • Miranda (played by Armstrong) and Pru (played by Miller) who attempt to run the Dandylions vegetarian restaurant, politely trying not to argue in front of the customers, until a customer's comment highlights their difficulties. A brawl is instigated by the proprietors with the words "Pru, it's kicking off!", perpetually ending with the same unfortunate customer being thrown out of a window.
  • A selection of Regency-era suitors and spinsters whose mid-dance conversational advances are unexpectedly explicit.
  • The British Prime Minister (played by Miller), who invariably leaves something vitally important behind after a successful meeting (such as his wife, or nuclear launch codes), but is too embarrassed to return and collect it.
  • Doctor Tia (played by Armstrong), who "lives in Botswana, saving lives. Do you?". He addresses the camera about his insights into local culture, and the fruits of his work, only for the camera to reveal that he is secretly despised by the people he is trying to help.
  • Various characters experiencing extraordinary success, only to reveal to the camera: "I'm wearing my wife's knickers."
  • Three children's TV presenters who are publicly humiliated for their inappropriate behaviour, and have to apologise and explain their actions to their audience in child-friendly language. The descriptions in the official YouTube channel suggests that these characters are a parody of Blue Peter.[2] The sketch performed for Red Nose Day 2011 explicitly referred to Blue Peter, as does the DVD release.[3]
  • A parody of Jeeves and Wooster, with Mr Stafford (played by Armstrong) and his butler Veal (played by Miller). Stafford is a bigot who acts with criminal disregard for others, and then asks for Veal's help sorting out the mess. Veal is horrified.
  • Tony Dorset, an old school football manager and former player who is employed by Russian Oligarch boss Dimitri. Tony lives in fear of Dimitri's fond spot for him, and his boss's Mafioso tendencies, and is never quite sure how to play the situation.
  • Two out-of-touch Dracula-like vampires trying to get virgin blood as though they're 'on the pull', yet often beaten by more modern Twilight vampires.
  • A series of dramatic or odd situations in which the climax is spoilt by someone remembering that they forget to put the bins out.
  • An accident happening to Armstrong, then Miller coming on screen as himself, saying "Um, this isn't funny, but it actually happened to a friend of mine, so..." He then makes slight gestures toward the viewers, such as shrugging his shoulders and raising his eyebrows.
  • Simpkins (Miller), a recent expatriate to France, who has forgotten his mother tongue. He eventually asks someone for twenty euros.
  • Wild Cooking with Flint and Rory, a show about a pair of Geordie campers who say that they are going to cook something from the wild, but opt out for an easier, modern alternative due to small 'problems' with the thing they were going to cook.
  • Couples being interviewed, which at the end of each one, reveals a fact that would end or cause difficulties in normal relationships.
  • A seemingly ordinary man (played by Miller) who suddenly acts out various inappropriate scenarios, imagining he is with his wife, Sandra, and children, Jessica and Oliver.
  • A serious and sometimes dramatic scene involving Armstrong and two women. At the end, Armstrong says, "Any chance of a threesome?" He then says, "No, ok," and agrees with whatever they were giving him in the scene.
  • Two middle aged, northern women (played by the leads) who own an Anne Summers style sexy lingerie store and rather than being discreet make cheeky comments about customers purchases (series 3 only).
  • Terry Devlin, a Royal reporter who is always armed with a glass of wine but with little factual information about his subject. This doesn't stop him from sharing his lengthy ‘expert' opinion on the happenings in the Royal household. He is often introduced by the news anchor after some unseen 'harrowing' report on a very serious tragedy, highlighting the often inane nature of royal 'news' in general.

Chronology[edit]

Series Episodes First aired
1 7 26 October – 14 December 2007
2 6 16 October – 27 November 2009
3 6 30 October – 11 December 2010

A special compilation episode was aired on 26 March 2011.

Awards[edit]

Visitors to British Comedy Guide voted The Armstrong and Miller Show the "Best Sketch Show of 2007".[4]

It received a nomination in the 2007 BAFTAs for Best Comedy Series before winning the actual award for the year 2009.[5][6]

  • The Armstrong and Miller Show won the "premios asylum de senscape" in 2011 in Argentina for the Best Comedy Programme of the decade.

Reception[edit]

The series has received widespread acclaim, with the RAF Pilot characters being the most popular from the show.

"Recommended last week, recommended this week. It's the funniest thing on television at the moment. If you didn't laugh at the experimental doctor or fighting grandads from the first episode, you're even more callous and humourless than we thought." - tvBite[7]

"Not many comedians could get away with spinning a sketch out of the differences between English and French sentence construction, but thankfully Armstrong and Miller aren't afraid to go somewhere a bit wordy and esoteric with their comedy. Awkward collisions between high and low culture, or the old world and the new, are their speciality: this week, their haughty 18th-century Viennese vampires fail to get into a West End club and are forced to go and skulk in Subway, while the slang-spouting Second World War officers attempt to skive off cracking the Enigma code." Sam Richards, The Daily Telegraph.[7]

"The trouble with sketch shows is that, as they average perhaps 30 gags per episode, they need an almost impossibly large supply of comic energy to keep them from slipping into the doldrums. Ben Miller and Alexander Armstrong are talented, and they do just about keep this show afloat" The Daily Telegraph[7]

"Sketch shows are a notoriously tough act to pull off but Saturday night's opener found Armstrong & Miller at the top of their game, with scarcely a dud in sight. Mitchell & Webb will need to pull their finger out to match them." Keith Watson, Metro[7]

"The Armstrong & Miller Show felt more consistently funny than before. Maybe their 300 writers, including Graham Linehan and The League of Gentlemen's Jeremy Dyson, are exerting more quality control this year." Paul Whitelaw, The Scotsman[7]

"This exceptionally witty, sharp and endearing duo do manage to serve up something for everyone, even if the majority of their material is aimed at the comfortably off whose biggest worry in life is whether or not they've correctly separated their waste for recycling." Jamie Steiner. On The Box[7]

"The boys keep up the high quality level that has been typical of this series, with hapless historian Dennis Lincoln-Park becoming a firm favourite. It might be the same gag week in, week out, but that's the absolute beauty of it. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face at the end of the week." [7]

"It's gentle, it's cosy, it's very British, and above all, it's a sketch show that's funny. Hurrah for Armstrong and Miller!"[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ben Miller Interview". Femalefirst.co.uk. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Armstrong and Miller YouTube Channel". BBC. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Armstrong and Miller are sorry - Red Nose Day 2011 - BBC Comic Relief Night". BBC. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Comedy.co.uk Awards 2007". British Comedy Guide. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  5. ^ BAFTA Television Awards 2009
  6. ^ "2010 BAFTA Awards: round-up". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 7 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Armstrong & Miller Show - Reviews and Press Articles - British Comedy Guide". Comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 

DVD releases[edit]

  • The 1st series has been released as a single DVD in Region 2.
  • The 2nd series has also been released as a single DVD.
  • Series 1 and 2 have been released as a box set.
  • The 3rd series has been released as a single DVD in late 2010, to coincide with the airing of the series.
  • All 3 series have been released as a box set.

Book[edit]

The Armstrong and Miller book was released in 2010.

External links[edit]