Brilliant! The Fast Show's quickfire comics return


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The Independent Culture

Lovers of The Fast Show will be heartened to know that the release of a second batch of internet-only episodes is due next week.

Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson's quickfire show set a benchmark for TV sketch comedy in the Nineties and the return of the series online is the latest in a succession of sponsored internet revivals that have, so far, included Alan Partridge and Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.

The Fast Show seems like the most obvious fit for the medium of all these shows but, before the launch of the latest episodes, Paul Whitehouse explained that it wasn't just a case of splitting one half-hour show into chunks.

"Originally they [the sponsors, Foster's] wanted five-minute slots but when you watch The Fast Show you want to see range, so we extended it to about eight minutes and got three or four characters in, and a couple of quickies. This way, you got the sense of a short episode and not just a cut down version."

The first episode of the second batch will feature many of the characters not seen in the first such as Brilliant, annoying office joker Colin Hunt, Roy and Renée, played by John Thompson and Caroline Aherne, buffoonish Bob Fleming, and Competitive Dad. The first series saw firm favourites including Ted and Ralph, Swiss Toni and the lecherous Suit You return. "It was quite weird playing Suit You," says Whitehouse, "I was thinking, 'My God, why am I still doing this?'"

"I totted up all the characters we have ever done and it was about 90," adds Charlie Higson. "I think we did 30 for this series, which was filmed over an intense two-week period. There were a couple of characters, like Unlucky Alf, we couldn't find anything new for, but some characters we knew we absolutely had to do like Suit You and Ted and Ralph."

Not all Fast Show fans, the duo admit, have worked out that their favourite show has been reprised and that, for example, Ted and Ralph are now agonising whether their servant and master dynamic could cope with becoming Facebook friends or that Ron Manager has taken to aping the sexist antics of former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys.

"It's difficult for some of our audience to grasp that it is actually on," says Whitehouse. "Not many days go by without people asking if we are going to do any more of The Fast Show, and I say, 'Well, were doing it now online' and they go, 'Yes, but are you going to do any more?'!"

'The Fast Show' continues on 16 February at 1pm at