Video: The Alfred Hitchcock The Birds spoof on Big Train

Big Train was as close as were able to get to a modern day Monty Python on TV. First aired in 1998 the UK sketch show only lasted 2 seasons but it packed in loads of laughs.

The show was very clever and surreal, and featured an amazing cast of comedy goodness from the UK including Simon Pegg, Mark Heap, Kevin Eldon and Catherine Tate. Comedic stars who would continue to tickle our collective funny bones in the years to come in hilarious TV shows Spaced and Smack the Pony, and the genius little zombie flick that was Shaun of the Dead.

Sketch highlights for me included the evil villains in mundane situations such as doing the vacuuming and seeing visitors in hospital, the tourist trying to find a local who speaks English, the army general imitating the sounds of war over night-vision footage, the guy afraid of spoons, the Zurich paper bikini distraction, the wealthy businessman wanting to rename the Ritz hotels to the Titz, and Chaka Khan Vs Bee Gees in a wild west shoot-out.

The show even had an animated sketch per episode in the vein of Monty Python which was called the World Stare-out Championship Finals. I couldn’t look away or I’d miss who had won!

David Mitchell of Peep Show fame also contributed to the show, and long time Simon Pegg collaborator Nick Frost also starred in the show.

Who featured in the amazing cast?

  • Simon Pegg (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Paul) – Co-writer of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Run Fatboy Run, and Paul and massive Star Trek fan
  • Mark Heap (Spaced, Green Wing, Love Soup) – also the voice of Brian in the amusing video game Fable III
  • Kevin Eldon (Nighty Night, Smack the Pony, Hot Fuzz) – has starred in all the top comedy shows like Black Books, Spaced, The IT Crowd, and Green Wing
  • Amelia Bullmore (I’m Alan Partridge, Ashes to Ashes, Shameless) – is married to actor Paul Higgins from the film In The Loop
  • Catherine Tate (The Catherine Tate Show, Dr Who, The Office [US]) – Will be loved and loathed for her show’s catchphrase ‘Am I bovvered?’
  • Julia Davis (Nighty Night, Gavin & Stacey, Human Remains) – is married to Mighty Boosh legend Julian Barratt and has worked with Steve Coogan, enough said!
  • Rebecca Front (Time Gentlemen Please, The Catherine Tate Show, Nighty Night) – she inconvenienced Al Murray by falling pregnant during the first season of Time Gentlemen Please!
  • Arthur Mathews (Father Ted, Harry Enfield and Chums, The Armstrong and Miller Show) – Big Train and Father Ted writer and creator

Was Big Train my favourite sketch show of all time? It was at the time, and I’ll always think of it rather fondly, but there are so many other shows to share the love with…

Chappelle’s Show, Little Britain, That Mitchell and Webb Look, and The Late Show [D-Generation].

Further Exploration:

Other samples you might enjoy:

Was Big Train was the best sketch show ever written?


About noisynoodle

I am a noisy noodle hailing from Melbourne, Australia who loves listening to noise in all forms, but preferably in music, TV and film. I’ve moonlighted on community radio at SYN-FM many years ago when I was still a “youth”. My mission is to promote live music (get off your bum and see something!), highlight interesting TV shows that are ignored by the ratings, expose some cool films and to not go deaf trying!

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