What do the cast of O.T.T. think of it now?

For chatting about O.T.T. (Over The Top), the late night risque spin-off from Tiswas that ran for 13 shows in 1982.

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What do the cast of O.T.T. think of it now?

Postby Bert Thung on Sat Aug 26, 2006 12:16 am

Just intrigued to know. I saw alexei Sayle at a book signing and talk he did a few years ago and he was saying that it was a great disaster for him, and he was really thankful The Young Ones saved his TV career from ending before it had barely started. But he did seem to look back somewhat affectionately at some aspects of it. The bizarreness of Chris Tarrant liking him and Frank Carson equally seemed to amuse him greatly.

But how do the others think? I seem to remember Helen Atkinson-Wood wincing at its name coming up in an interview I saw with her a few years back. And didn't Lenny Henry get told off by Dawn French for its sexism?
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Re: What do the cast of O.T.T. think of it now?

Postby Peter Thomas on Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:50 am

Bert Thung wrote:Just intrigued to know. I saw alexei Sayle at a book signing and talk he did a few years ago and he was saying that it was a great disaster for him, and he was really thankful The Young Ones saved his TV career from ending before it had barely started. But he did seem to look back somewhat affectionately at some aspects of it. The bizarreness of Chris Tarrant liking him and Frank Carson equally seemed to amuse him greatly.


Frank Carson's one of those people that should put off alternative comedy fans, but not for me. There's something about him that is really likeable. His appearance on Banzai in the "it's a cracker" game had me in stitches.

I'm not surprised Chris liked Alexei. Chris did enjoy cutting-edge comedy as well as the old school working men's stuff.

Bert Thung wrote:But how do the others think? I seem to remember Helen Atkinson-Wood wincing at its name coming up in an interview I saw with her a few years back. And didn't Lenny Henry get told off by Dawn French for its sexism?


Lenny thought it was going okay, but overheard his family talking about it, saying what an embarrassment the show was.

"Some of it was bad because of the innate sexism there: the Benny Hill-type humour didn't sit right with an anarchic, pro-rock 'n' roll show." - Lenny Henry on O.T.T., 1999.
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Postby Ted on Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:12 am

I also always thought Alexei Sayle was unhappy with OTT, but in Alexei Sayle's Great Bus Journeys of the World he was quite positive about parts of it: "I was good, Lenny Henry was good, the show was packed with vibrant life... it was happy to come from Birmingham and not tainted with Londoniswhereitsatism... it was very popular, with 7-8 million viewers..."

It's certainly in contrast to a South Bank Show A-Z of comedy from around 1993: "I didn't get on well with the other people on OTT much at all, really...I'm sure the others hated me and thought I was a pretentious little bastard, cos I wouldn't be in their sketches or...things like sing the song behind the stripper, I was just saying "no" constantly". Lenny Henry was also saying how good he thought Alexei was on the show.

Chris Tarrant was also very complimentary about OTT on What Did ITV Do For Me? last year. I'd never heard him talk about it before and always had the impression that he'd rather forget about it.
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Postby Peter Thomas on Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:22 am

Ted wrote:I also always thought Alexei Sayle was unhappy with OTT, but in Alexei Sayle's Great Bus Journeys of the World he was quite positive about parts of it: "I was good, Lenny Henry was good, the show was packed with vibrant life... it was happy to come from Birmingham and not tainted with Londoniswhereitsatism... it was very popular, with 7-8 million viewers..."


Good attitude. I'm tired of the London-centric idealogy of UK media. And Lenny was good in it.

Ted wrote:It's certainly in contrast to a South Bank Show A-Z of comedy from around 1993: "I didn't get on well with the other people on OTT much at all, really...I'm sure the others hated me and thought I was a pretentious little bastard, cos I wouldn't be in their sketches or...things like sing the song behind the stripper, I was just saying "no" constantly". Lenny Henry was also saying how good he thought Alexei was on the show.


To see Alexei sing a song behind a stripper would be really out of place! It's not really in contrast to that Great Bus Journeys Of The World anecdote (published in 1989), just offers more of an insight to it.

Ted wrote:Chris Tarrant was also very complimentary about OTT on What Did ITV Do For Me? last year. I'd never heard him talk about it before and always had the impression that he'd rather forget about it.


Nope, he's always been proud of it, while recognising that it's perceived as something awful.
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Postby staplingmachine on Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:57 am

Alexei Sayle seems to be downplaying his involvement in the show. He appeared in quite a few of the pre-filmed sketches with the others - although I don't remember him appearing in many (if any) of the live sketches.

I believe the only reason he didn't appear in the last two or three shows was he had other commitments. Nothing to do with resigning or anything like that.

And Lenny Henry later appeared with him on the last ever episode of The Young Ones.

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Postby Ted on Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:08 pm

Originally posted by staplingmachine:
Alexei Sayle seems to be downplaying his involvment in the show.He appeared in quite a few of the pre-filmed sketches with the others - although I don't remember him appearing in many (if any) of the live sketches.


Yes, all I can think of is his appearance at the end of the That's Tough sketch in show 1, where he empties a bucket of water over Helen Atkinson-Wood.

Originally posted by staplingmachine:
I believe the only reason he didn't appear in the last two or three shows was he had other commitments.


That sounds right - he said on show 9 he was leaving to go to Australia, and IIRC The Comic Strip went on an Australian tour in spring 1982.

Originally posted by staplingmachine:
And Lenny Henry later appeared with him on the last ever episode of The Young Ones.


Was he the postman that delivered their exam results? "You have come bottom in the whole world..."
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Postby Peter Thomas on Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:09 pm

Ted wrote:Was he the postman that delivered their exam results? "You have come bottom in the whole world..."


Yes. A Nazi postman, too. Which made it funnier.
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