Day Today, The Review

Day Today, The

by Adam Smith |
Published on

TV satire has, by necessity, always had a limited shelf-life, simply because of the immediacy on which it feeds.

Chris Morris, Armando Iannucci and the platoons of often un-credited writers who, in 1994, launched The Day Today have managed to pull-off the nearly self-contradictory — satire that stands the test of time.

Eschewing the passing fripperies of Spitting Image or whatever the Rory Bremner show is called these days, The Day Today attacked the idea of a news programme and the tropes and clichés that bedevil the form.

The skits themselves are Python-inspired flights of fancy: dogs as bombs, a stranded train’s passengers turning to paganism and cannibalism and ecclesiastical bullying.

But the show’s masterstroke was the exquisitely observed attention to technical form: beautifully studied recreations of badly-transferred CNN reports; grotequely self-important theme tunes that carry on a beat too long and excessive graphical intrusions. (Morris also reveals himself to be the greatest creator of character names since David Cronenberg — see Ted Maul, Calleterlie Sisters and Chapman Baxter.)

Consider that this both invented Alan Partridge and is the direct progenitor of Brass Eye, which with its paedophile special provided the single most important moment in modern comedy history, making The Day Today essential for any British comedy completist.

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