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A Bit of Fry and Laurie: Series 1 Review

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The very beginnings of Fry and Laurie, before Bafta and being 'serious'.

★★★★

It shouldn't by now come as any great surprise to see the difference in a performer’s physical appearance between material they performed 20 years previously and today, but in the case of both Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, it’s still eyebrow-raising to see just how baby-faced the pair of them were when they embarked on the first series of their sketch show. Logically, this is most true of the pilot, where both look as though they could have stepped into the studio direct from a university revue. Alas, the material in that episode does nothing to dispel this impression, but once the series proper gets underway, the quality soars. Highlights include Hugh Laurie at the piano (especially when he’s trying to rhyme as many words as possible with “mystery”), the out-of-context vox pop interviews, and two Daily Mail reader-types bemoaning the modern connotation of the word “gay”. Fry’s trademark wordplay is suited to the intended 30-minute format, but can become grating on longer viewing sessions. Otherwise, it’s terrific – although, for all its verbal intricacies, the highlight is still Fry accidentally twatting Laurie too hard with a foam cricket bat.