Crackanory (4 stars)


Iconic TV show returns for new series featuring Vic Reeves and the late Rik Mayall at his best

When Rik Mayall appeared in a 1986 episode of Jackanory reading George’s Marvellous Medicine, his idiosyncratic take on Roald Dahl’s tale was, inevitably, loved by the kids, and pooh-poohed by a small number of parents. ‘Dangerous and offensive’ they mewled, seemingly forgetting that stuff such as mass unemployment and leaking nuclear stations might have been more worthy targets for their concern at that point. Three decades later and the overriding emotion on the airing of his Crackanory edition will surely be sadness mixed with pleasure that his on-air career was able to go out on a high.

He shares the half-hour opening episode of this new set of Crackanories with another once-anarchic comedy hero, Vic Reeves, whose story is about a cleaner who finds herself aboard a spaceship which just so happens to be hurtling towards Mars. Mayall’s story, ‘The Weatherman’, focuses on a rubbish local TV meteorologist who has a portrait of Michael Fish on his wall and a litany of wrong predictions to his name. But soon, some powers he had no idea were inside him are unleashed, firstly for mischief, but then arguably for more dastardly reasons.

As you’d imagine, Mayall throws himself fully into his task, clad in denim jacket and white shorts, with his chair barely being able to contain the energy that he emanated. We can even forgive him a curious double mispronunciation of ‘dreich’ and simply feel glad that this force of nature entertained us for so long.

Dave, Wed 24 Sep, 10pm.

Crackanory - Official Trailer