This Morning with Richard Not Judy

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This Morning with Richard Not Judy
TMWRNJ.jpg
Genre Comedy
Starring Stewart Lee
Richard Herring
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 18
Production
Executive producer(s) Jon Plowman
Running time 45 mins
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 15 February 1998 (1998-02-15) – 13 June 1999 (1999-06-13)

This Morning With Richard Not Judy or TMWRNJ /təˈwʌmrənə/[note 1] was a BBC comedy television programme, written by and starring Lee and Herring. Two series were broadcast in 1998 and 1999 on BBC2. The name was a satirical reference to ITV's This Morning which was at the time popularly referred to as This Morning with Richard and Judy.

The show was a reworking of old material from their previous work together (radio and TV) along with new characters. The show was hosted in a daytime chat show format in front of a live studio audience, although it featured a small proportion of pre-recorded location inserts. It was structured by the often strange obsessions of Richard Herring; examples include his rating of the milk of all creatures and attempting to popularise the acronym of the show (TMWRNJ) (in the style of Tiswas). The show featured (and acknowledged its use of) repetition, with regular and vigilant viewers being rewarded by jokes that would make no sense to casual viewers. The show seemed to oscillate between the intellectual and puerile. However, irony was often used, even though the citing of irony as an excuse was mocked by the show's stars in one of many self-referential jokes.

Kevin Eldon also reprised two of his characters from the earlier Lee & Herring series Fist of Fun, Simon Quinlank (the "King of Hobbies") and his portrayal of "the false Rod Hull" as a jelly fanatic with a false arm and giant chin. A run of sketches featuring Eldon as the false Rod Hull was filmed for the second series, but dropped when the real Rod Hull died just prior to the start of the series. A new sketch was filmed as a tribute and featured as the closing item of the last programme in the series. (Rod Hull had taken this in good humour and had featured in one episode of Fist of Fun as a guest, pouring scorn on the false Rod Hull.)

TMWRNJ was the subject of many complaints on Points of View, largely due to the surprisingly adult content for a programme shown at Sunday lunchtime. The Jesus sketches were much remarked upon on Points of View due to the time of broadcast and uncertainty as to whether they were making fun of Jesus or people's take on the scriptures themselves.[1] Like Fist of Fun it remains a cult series fondly remembered by fans.

Regular features: Series 1 and 2[edit]

The Curious Orange[edit]

Questions about life from a gigantic talking orange, played by Paul Putner. The name is derived from the album I Am Kurious Oranj by The Fall (itself a reference to the film I Am Curious (Yellow)), which was used to introduce each Curious Orange segment. At the end of the first series, having been revealed to be Richard Herring's illegitimate son, he was crushed to death and "juiced", but he was later reconstituted by a mad scientist. Throughout the second series his behaviour became increasingly sinister, and for a while he was replaced by The Curious Alien (in truth due to Putner's commitments elsewhere). By the final episode, he had mutated into a tyrannical character reminiscent of Doctor Who's Davros (though "just different enough not to infringe any copyright laws").

Histor's Eye[edit]

Ostensibly an extremely low-budget children's television programme featuring two pirate crows: the titular Histor (who concealed a multicoloured spinning eye beneath his eyepatch) and his hapless first mate Pliny Harris. Histor's ability to transport himself and Pliny through time ("as the crow flies") to view past events would be used to satirise current affairs, and the script would be peppered with deliberately weak but dense nautical- and bird-related multiple puns, which would increase in volume and weakness as the series progressed. (For example, Pliny would say 'Egg feather bird oeuf tit' in place of 'I've never heard of it', or 'Feather me wingers' in place of 'Shiver me timbers'.) Pliny's idiocy drives Histor to insanity and, eventually, he murders him by stuffing him with eggs until he bursts, as he keeps using the word "egg" so it has no connection or relation to the context of what Histor was saying, (only for Histor to be subsequently haunted by Pliny's equally pun-obsessed ghost). A running joke in this segment was that despite Pliny's apparent idiocy, he would occasionally counter Histor's right-wing views with extraordinarily eloquent and well constructed left-wing arguments. This would often result in Pliny being physically attacked by Histor or a third party (e.g. having a broken glass shoved into his face by a "lager lout" Saint George).

Another running gag not featured in the fictional show, but would be part of its introduction, would be a sketch in which Herring naively complains about a recent report in the media, only for Lee to try to correct him before realizing the best way to make him understand better is showing him "An educational film for the under fives" he taped from cable TV. After the segment Lee would ask Herring if that cleared the matter up for him, with Herring praising the crows for this saying he now understands. Indeed, Herring once points out that the same joke is always told every week before showing the latest episode, shortly after Lee told him that telling the same jokes soon wears off, with the episode of "Histor's Eye" being focused on that topic. The gag was less frequent in the second series.

Musical Interludes[edit]

Richard Thomas played keyboards every week on the show and in series 1 would play a hymn at the end of the show.

Pause for Thought for the Day[edit]

The Unusual Priest, played by Kevin Eldon, would present ethical dilemmas, dealing with them in increasingly ridiculous fashion.

When Insects Attack[edit]

A parody of the show When Animals Attack!, with a voice-over supposedly by actor Greg Evigan (actually Mark Gatiss). The last episode of this segment, in the first series, saw The Lettuce Family attacked by a slug – technically not an insect. In the second series this was replaced by When Things Get Knocked Over but as each week progressed, the segment's subject would vary. Eventually the title became When Things Get Knocked Over, Spill, or Fall Out Of Cupboards.

King (or Queen) of the Show[edit]

In each edition, a member of the audience would be crowned "King or Queen of the Show", either at random or as a reward for sending in an especially entertaining letter. After being crowned, they would be offered various items from a trolley- these items would be all be linked by the current theme of the show. The crown and trolley would be brought on by the normally mute ("we can't afford to pay you to speak") Trevor and Nathalie (Trevor Lock and Nathalie Brandon[2]) who would sometimes be dressed in outlandish costumes. At this point Trevor would invariably be mocked by Stew for having "a small face".

Richard Herring would use this segment of the show as an opportunity to swear live on Sunday morning TV. Each week it would be varied. For example he would chant "There's only one King. One King. Wan King. Wanking!" On another week, imitating a trumpet, "Fa fa fa fa, King! Fa fa fa fucking!"

Trevor And Nathalie[edit]

A man with 'an extremely small face', called Trevor (comedian Trevor Lock), and a woman called Nathalie, played by Nathalie Brandon, would appear on each show in non-speaking roles as slaves, often to bring in props or to usher in guests or other performers.

The Five Aims[edit]

Every week, Rich and Stew discussed 5 aims they wanted to implement before the end of the series, a parody of New Labour's pledge cards from the 1997 General Election. (The aims were different every week).

Regular features: Series 1[edit]

The Profit Making Phone Opinion Poll[edit]

Each week the show staged a phone-in which was purely designed to make money for Lee and Herring. The phone-in was hosted by 'Jo Unwin and The Actor Kevin Eldon' and tackled issues which dominated the week's news. The phone-in would present viewers with three options to the topical question, of which one would be phrased in a style similar to "I agree, but trivial phone opinion polls about such important issues are morally offensive."

The Ironic Review[edit]

A fly-on-the-wall documentary about a so-called cutting edge magazine. The item was ostensibly a satire of The Modern Review, with the journalists being in bitter competition to see who could write the most "ironic" article.

Men of Achievement 1974[edit]

A short item in which the details of an entry in the book of the same name would be read out. At one point, noted as the least popular part of the show, but kept in 'until it becomes so popular, it gets its own series'. Men of Achievement 1974 was first mentioned in the TV version of Fist of Fun as an item Richard Herring had shoplifted from a charity shop.

Two Very Different Teachers[edit]

A fly on the wall documentary focussing on two teachers and their attempts to teach English at a secondary school. Mr Harris (Herring) is an old fashioned teacher described as a 'good man' by the head master who is abused by his students and enjoys nothing more than marking. Mr Ian Kennedy (Lee) is a rogue teacher who constantly attempts to rock the establishment. He is described as 'a fuckwit' by the head teacher.

Roger Crowley[edit]

The self-styled most evil man alive, played by Roger Mann. During the first series he would regularly break into the programme to outline his latest absurd plan for world domination. Based on Aleister Crowley (evident in the costume's triangular hat).

The Organ Gang[edit]

Also known as TOG, in keeping with Richard's unhealthy abbreviation obsession – A spoof children's series, drawn by Joseph Champniss and narrated by Brian Cant, in which the characters were all organs of the human body, they would have some adventure and end up "laughing for a whole five minutes." It bore some resemblance to the real children's series The Garden Gang in which all the characters were fruit and vegetables. The final episode saw Brian Cant ranting at his duty of being the narrator saying I'm Brian Cant!.

Special Guests[edit]

The first series featured guests who were interviewed in a talk show fashion including Jenny Eclair, Peter Baynham and Jack Docherty (who claimed to have had sex with Morwenna Banks while she was dressed as her 'little girl' character from Absolutely).

Regular features: Series 2[edit]

Sunday Heroes[edit]

A series of sketches featuring Jesus and his disciples as the main characters, parodying a schoolteacher and his class. In one sketch per week a disciple would pose a question to Jesus (Lee), usually on a topic of importance that would split Christianity (e.g. Transubstantiation vs Transignification). Instead of answering directly He would make a vague comment (such as instructing them to "consider the lily"), pause, then say "ahh" in a mysterious manner, causing all but Matthew (Herring) to "ahh" along with Him, leading the disciple to become frustrated with the evasion ("This isn't an 'ahh' situation"; "Ahh!"; "No, not 'ahh' – you can't just say 'consider the lily'"; "Ahh!"; "No Jesus: Not 'ahh'.") Peter (Carlton Dixon) would insult Matthew for not understanding, insisting in a smug "class swot" manner that he "got it right away", and Judas (Eldon) would also laugh at double entendres, only to be admonished. The other Apostles were played by Paul Putner ("Doubting Thomas"), Trevor Lock (Thaddaeus) and TV's Emma Kennedy (the fictional Ian, who only started following Jesus as he misunderstood the phrase "fishers of men"). These sketches tended to cause some controversy given the time of the show and the day of its broadcast.

The Corrs Shrine[edit]

A shrine to the Corrs or more correctly 'The Corrs Shrine'. Essentially Herring's infatuation with Andrea Corr. The rest of them (particularly the Man Corr) he didn't care for, a joke based on the similar looks of the Corr sisters.

Extra Final Scene[edit]

This would take the form of a tacked-on ending for a different film each week, for example as extra final scene for Blues Brothers 2000 which saw Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman laughing and urinating on the grave of John Belushi before driving off in the Bluesmobile. Another was made for Titanic, in which Leonardo DiCaprio's character swims to the surface after Kate Winslet is rescued to celebrate finally escaping her clutches.

Angus Deayton's Authorised History Of Alternative Comedy (with Angus Deayton)[edit]

A satirical version of a BBC series that explored the boom in alternative comedy in the 1970s and early 1980s. The item would involve a comedian (either the portrayal of a real life person or a generic stand-up) reminisce about the "amazing times" they had, while shamelessly exaggerating their trailblazing influence. The characters would always be seen drinking from an SDP mug, a reference to the political party famously supported by John Cleese (whose picture appeared on the title screen) during the 1980s. Angus Deayton himself did not appear.

Curious Alien[edit]

In series 2 the Curious Orange was replaced by the Curious Alien as Stew becomes increasingly frustrated with the Orange's behaviour.

Rich's Robbie Williams Tattoo[edit]

Rich becomes obsessed with Robbie Williams as a result of his alleged relationship with Andrea Corr. In order to display his love for the former Take That member Rich draws a felt tip pen tattoo on his stomach in the shape of Robbie Williams.

Nostradamus and his horse David Collins[edit]

A regular feature in the second series, medieval seer Nostradamus (played by TV's Emma Kennedy with a false beard and, for no adequately explored reason, a Welsh accent) would give his predictions for the week ahead, which would often be either completely absurd or extremely vague. The start of the segment would look at the previous week's predictions, if they were not correct Nostradamus would be punished by a nipple cripple, or something similarly pseudo-sexual, by Richard. During one episode Richard obsessed about cress for a whole show, as a spoof of product placement deals. When Nostradamus only got 1 out of the 3 of his predictions correct, a barbecue of cress was burnt with a blowlamp.

Richard Herring's Food And Milk[edit]

A weekly segment in which Richard Herring would taste a different milk (shrew, tapir, blue whale, Jesus milk, American beaver milk, the milk of human kindness) and give a rating out of ten. Despite the name no solid food was ever featured in this piece (although Golden Grahams also featured elsewhere on the show several times, apparently to ensure this unloved cereal did not go unnoticed in the UK). He would end with the line "Remember, there'll always be milk".

Lazy Comedy Slags[edit]

Lee and Herring would discuss lazy comedy clichés, such as jokes ending with "and then I got off the bus", "28 years old I was!", "And that was just the teachers... aaah", "and then I was thrown out of the public library... ah", "and then I got out of the toddlers' paddling pool... ah", and "and then I was sacked as head of the girls school biology department" and jokes designed to play on the audience's sense of nostalgia for the 1970s. During one episode they also brainstormed lazy comedy ideas for the BBC. Their ideas would usually include characters called Ian – a running joke which also featured in Sunday Heroes, with one of the disciples being called Ian. Programme examples included:

  • Roll Reversall

Ian Roll is a driving instructor, Ian Reversall is a baker. Due to some kind of accident they are forced to swap jobs. With hilarious consequences.

  • Pie In The Sky

Ian Pie is the landlord of the Sky pub. In an attempt to attract custom each week he buys a different giant pie which goes wrong and ironically scares the public away. With hilarious consequences.

  • Myy Cup Upstairs

Ian Myy lives in a flat. His upstairs neighbour borrows one of his cups and then doesn't return it. The series details Ian Myy's contrived and failed attempts to get back the cup that is rightfully his.

  • Babes In The Wood

Two babies live in a piece of wood. Simple but brilliant.

  • Chalk And Cheese

Ian Chalk and Ian Cheese are two men. They are very different. As different literally as chalk and cheese. Consequently they don't really get on but occasionally they do something which makes them realise they are more similar than they initially thought and then Ian Cheese falls in a stream to break the seriousness of the moment.

  • Bent Coppers

Ian and Iain Bent are brothers who are policemen. One is corrupt and the other is homosexual. They both suffer from curvature of the spine, and they're made of copper – they're robots in the future.

  • Ay On The Ball

Adem Ay, who used to do the video game reviews on Live & Kicking, loses his legs in an accident. Zoe Ball feels guilty that he was sacked and so offers to carry him around on her back. Thus he is literally 'Ay on the Ball'. If Zoe not available then Johnny Ball definitely is.

  • Fruit And Nut

Ian Fruit, a flamboyant elderly raconteur, shares a flat with Ian Nut, a dangerous schizophrenic who has escaped from Broadmoor Hospital. Ian Fruit can only eat nuts, Ian Nut can only eat fruit, but they are both allergic to fruit and nut chocolate. As Ian Nut is mad he always secretly puts fruit and nut chocolate in everything they eat. With fatal consequences.

  • Honey I Swallowed Some Seamen

Rick Moranis plays a hapless professor who accidentally turns himself into a killer whale. Each week he attacks a ship and eats some sailors.

  • Men O Paws

It's about cats who can talk, going through the change of life. Possible Eddie Izzard vehicle.

Lazy TV Executive Twits[edit]

Lee and Herring discussed the laziness of TV executives after Rich received an offer from Channel 5 to make a programme about fishing due to his surname. They decided to submit some ideas to Channel 5 themselves, which included:

  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Huge Furry Wishing Stall

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tours the country in a gigantic mink lined stall granting peoples' wishes.

  • Fox watch with Dr Fox

Dr Fox hides a secret camera in the toilet of small American actor Michael J. Fox and watches him go about his daily ablutions.

  • Jeremy Paxman's Pacman

Jeremy Paxman goes round the country on a moped playing the early arcade game Pacman. He is not allowed to leave any town until he has clocked up the highest score for that machine.

  • Van Outen's Van Outings

Denise Van Outen goes out in a van and meets other people with 'Van' in their name and outs them as homosexual. Whether they are or not.

  • Dimbleby's Dim Bumble Bees

David Dimbleby presents a kind of candid camera programme for bees where the foolish insects are shown making mistakes like trying to collect pollen from artificial flowers.

  • Midge Ure's Midge Urine

Midge Ure travels around the country on a motorcycle looking at and sampling the urine of different species of midges.

  • Lemmy and Leeming's Lemmings

In which Jan Leeming and Lemmy from Motörhead tame wild lemmings.

  • Craven's Cravings

Newsround's John Craven talks each week about some of the things he has cravings for: food, alcohol and oxygen but mainly knitwear.

  • Johnny Ball's Balls

A specialist show for after the 9 p.m. watershed.

Similar to Johnny Ball's balls but involves expensive prosthetic make-up.

  • Woodward's Wood Wad

Louise Woodward, the clumsy nanny, is given a wad of money made from wood which she has to try and spend before her parents can steal it off her.

  • Seaman's Seamen

David Seaman goes round the country on a moped meeting different sailors.

  • Mel and Sue's Melon Zoo

Mel and Sue from Late Lunch appear in a fly on the wall documentary about a zoo they run where all the cages are full of melons.

  • Mike Reid and Mike Read's My Creed

Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read and EastEnders star Mike Reid travel around the country in a moped challenging each other's religious beliefs

Quotes[edit]

"Curse you God for making me this way!" – A feature of a recurring theme in the series, where someone would be laughed at (in a surreal fashion) due to a misfortune. The victim of the ridicule would always say this, while shaking his or her fists at the sky.

"My expectations were confounded and from thence the humour arose."

"Who is the real sick man in this so called society?" A question posed by Herring throughout the first series in order to justify his outrageously inappropriate and perverse personal anecdotes such as: "Wanting to make love to an animal with the body of Natalie Imbruglia's and the head of an ant." He would compare his activities to: "The businessman, in his Suit and tie having sex with the same woman, his wife, every day of his life for 40 years." It was always concluded by Lee that Herring was clearly the more sick.

"Look at his little face, it’s almost as if he understands."

"Saying it in a staccato fashion doesn't make it any more true."

"No, listen to the question and the words in it..."

Transmission details[edit]

  • Number of episodes: 18
  • Running-time: 45 minutes
  • Series 1 (8 episodes): 15 February – 5 April 1998 – BBC2, Sundays at 12.15
  • Series 2 (10 episodes): 21 March – 13 June 1999 – BBC2, Sundays, mostly at 12.15
  • Shortened (30-minute) repeats of the programmes were aired by BBC2 on the Friday following each original broadcast

Follow-ups, References & Reunions[edit]

Lee & Herring @ Tedstock (Bloomsbury Theatre), 5 February 2007[edit]

Stewart Lee and Richard Herring reformed their act after a period of eight years to perform a brief selection of their old material at Tedstock 2007, at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London. Self-mocking and sarcastic as ever, the pair opened with a pastiche of the Mitchell and Webb PC vs. Mac adverts shown that year, which then leads on to a rant by Rich that "It should have been us Stew!"

The show is available on YouTube[3]

TMWRNJ Reunion Show @ The Lyric, Hammersmith Nov 2008[edit]

Stew and Rich performed a forty-minute selection of their TMWRNJ material at a 'reunion gig' at the Lyric Hammersmith in November 2008. Their approach to the material was characteristically sarcastic and self-referential, with both comedians ruthlessly deriding their own their classic routines even down to points of language and grammar – despite Rich insisting that "You can't question the text! This is like Shakespeare!"

Both comedians fell into their old double act with relative comfort. Much humour was drawn both from the passage of time since TMWRNJ came to an end (Rich opens the set with "Old Mr Lee! Old Mr Lee! Can Stewart come out to play?") and the effective lack of a television career for either comedian since. (Stewart Lee has since returned to the screen on Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle on BBC 2).

Highlights of the reunuion show included a performance of the TMWRNJ theme song by TV's Emma Kennedy's band Vaginal Tap and the return of Paul Putner as The Curious Orange.

The show is available on YouTube.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Richard Herring would routinely pronounce the acronym as if the 'M' and 'W' had changed places (TWMRNJ) rather than pronouncing it as /təmˈwʊrən.dʒə/

References[edit]


External links[edit]