One of my earliest ever memories of watching comedy on TV was watching Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer host the panel show Shooting Stars. 25 years on Vic & Bob continue to grace our screens with their irreverent comedy which isn't for everyone, but it's definitely for me.
Last year they launched a new sitcom called House of Fools which following a very well received first series, and more recent Christmas special is returning for a second series to BBC Two, Monday nights at 10pm and I couldn't be more happy.
If you didn't watch the first series, House of Fools is a strange and whacky sitcom set in Bob's house, which he shares with his son Erik (Daniel Simonsen) Vic (Vic Reeves) and his jailbird brother Bosh (Dan Skinner). Oh and who could forget his next door neighbour Beef, played by Matt Berry and is just as wonderful as you'd imagine him to be.
Essentially Bob's has to try and keep his house in order from the fools around him. Hence the name House of Fools, and it's as traditional a sitcom as they come. There's a studio audience, who you see at the beginning and end of each episode.
The moments where the actors laugh are kept in, and what's more evident this time around is the occasional reference to the fact that they're in a sitcom. There's also a lot of singing in each episode, to the same tune each time, which if you watch more than one episode in a row, will get stuck in your head.
If you're not a fan of Vic & Bob, and you found Shooting Stars irritating, then there's a very slim chance that you're going to enjoy House of Fools, but that's fine, not everyone has to like the same type of comedy.
However if you are a fan of Vic & Bob, and somehow the first series slipped you by early last year, then you are in for a real treat. What I love about Vic & Bob is that you never quite know where they're going to go next, or how ridiculous the scene will suddenly become.
It's not all about Vic & Bob though, what I really admire about House of Fools is the very strong cast. Obviously Matt Berry is brilliant and more recently, with Toast of London his career seems to be going from strength to strength, and deservedly so. Matt plays Beef, their suave, eccentric retro-70's styled next door neighbour with a fetish for African ladies!
Dan Skinner, best-known for playing the character of Angelos Epithemiou in the final few series of Shooting Stars, plays Bosh, Vic’s dim-witted yet slightly threatening younger brother. For me, I think Bosh is the funniest character in the show. I've been a fan of Dan Skinner for a long time now and this part is perfect for him... and even though he ends every sentence with "...you twat." - I can't help but continue to find it funny!
Then there's the brilliant Morgana Robinson, who plays Julie, Vic & Bob's nymphomaniac neighbour who in this second series opens a bistro. Morgana is such a brilliant character actress and in the second episode of the new series she really gets her chance to shine as Julie gets botox... it can only go one way!
Julie's bistro plays a big part in the new series, at least in the first three episodes which I have had the pleasure to watch. In the first episode, Bob feels it is high time his 23- year-old son learns about the ‘birds and the biscuits’ and with Vic and Beef’s help, Bob arranges a blind date for Erik at Julie's Bistro with a girl called Rachel. Without giving too much away, the date goes well and Rachel, played by Ellie White becomes a new regular cast member and is the perfect match for Erik. They speak, think and act the same. A match made in some sort of weird heaven.
As I mentioned earlier, the second episode sees Vic test out botox on Julie with striking results. It's a big episode for Beef, as things take a turn for the worse when his saucy past catches up with him and he is forced to hide from the consequences of his actions. Cue a very special appearance by Johnny Vegas, who brings with him some very unexpected news.
Then in episode three, the bistro plays host to a big Danceathon. When Bob reveals that the three notorious Butcher Brothers will also be competing, Vic and Beef try any means to get out of the event and avoid potential humiliation... cue a lot of slapstick in which they try to break each others legs! Bob resigns himself to competing in the Danceathon alone, but Erik has found something very special which just might save the day for them all.
So all in all, House of Fools is by far one of the funniest comedies on the BBC and a real treat for Vic & Bob fans. It doesn't try too hard, it's not ashamed to admit that it's a sitcom and it doesn't pretend to be anything other than silly and ridiculous. If you're after clever comedy, this may not be for you. If you're looking for funny comedy, then it definitely.
Oh and whilst we're on the topic of Vic & Bob, I think it's about time for the BBC to bring back Shooting Stars, the show that rather obviously has inspired the likes of Celebrity Juice and 8 Out of 10 Cats.