Chris Morris’ Brass Eye may be 20 years old, but it remains as cuttingly-brilliant today as it did all those years ago on Channel 4.
A follow-up to the similarly excellent The Day Today, Brass Eye took Morris’ biting brand of news satire to the next level with episodes tackling everything from sex and drugs through to the infamous 2001 special on Paedophilia.
The latter, in particular, remains as close to comedy perfection as you are likely to be find with almost every segment of the special, which took pot-shots at celebrity culture and the media’s approach to paedophiles, worthy of inclusion.
But Brass Eye was so much more than just the paedophile episode – though that episode did at least help bring the then-underrated series back into the public consciousness.
Here are just seven brilliant moments from the Chris Morris classic:
On The Streets
Morris happily risked life and limb in the name of comedy, as demonstrated in this clip of the comedian, in character, approaching drug dealers to see if they have the latest drugs on the streets.
What follows is near-two minutes of pure comedy, as Morris reels off a list of entirely made-up drugs, maintaining a straight face throughout as the real-life dealer begins to lose his rag. Clarkey Cat anyone?
Noel Edmonds Is Dead
Arguably the most insane gag from the entire Brass Eye run came as the show went to what was supposed to be a scheduled break. Instead, what viewers were presented with was a fake news segment revealing Noel Edmonds had murdered Clive Anderson and was currently on the roof of his home with a rocket launcher.
The highlight? The moment Morris tricked John Challis, aka Boyce from Only Fools and Horses, into believing it was real. “Mad” Frankie Fraser also had his say.
Peter Sutcliffe: The Musical
Another close-to-the-bone moment came during the episode Decline, in which Morris reported on the news that serial murderer Peter Sutcliffe was planning his very own musical in a segment deemed controversial enough to be cut from the original broadcast.
As the segment reported, Sutcliffe! promoter Tasscam Holiday hoped audiences would see the show “go away thinking maybe [Sutcliffe is] a really misunderstood man. Maybe that twenty years ago he was taking the piss.” John McCririck was unimpressed.
This hilariously send-up of the reporting surrounding issues of abuse and homosexuality in the Armed Forces – something that was regularly reported on in the 1990s – would fall flat in anyone else’s hands but not Morris.
Morris creation Sir Hugh Muhagh was the undoubted highlight, playing the role of stuffy navy officer, attempting to explain away strange marching practices and the repeated practice of dressing penis wounds onboard.
Me Oh Myra
Morris was never afraid of taking the piss out of the musical trends of the day and though he peaked on The Day To Day with Uzi Lover – the perfect pastiche of modern raps obsession with violence – his send-up of Jarvis Cocker and Pulp is a close second.
Sounding and looking just like the BritPop hero, this inspired tribute to Myra Hindley would not have been out of place on an actual Pulp album. More importantly, it’s a comment on music’s habit of shocking for the sake of shocking.
Cake – A Made-Up Drug
While the Paedophile special perfectly highlighted the way celebrities were willing to put their name to any “cause” if it meant air time and good PR, a similar segment in the Cake episode takes things even further.
A perfectly-executed piss take of attitudes towards drugs at the time, Morris is able to get shitbags like Rolf Harris, Bernard Manning and Edmonds to speak a load of made-up tosh about the effect of the “made-up drug” and it’s effect on a part of the brain known as “Shatner’s bassoon.”
He even gets MP David Amess to speak about it in Parliament.
You’re a bush dodger
While there are almost too many highlights to mention from the Paedophile special from shooting one sex offender into space only to find there’s a little boy up there with him to Richard Blackwood smelling a keyboard.
We’ve plumped for this brilliant bit of name calling in which Morris, in character, confronts Paedophile with a litany of nicknames. Altogether now “You’re a slot badger…”
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.