Video: Black Books – The Cleaner (BBC), featuring Kevin Eldon

Originally airing in 2000 the UK comedy Black Books ran for three very excellent TV series. It was impossible not to enjoy watching Bernard the depressed drunk humiliate trusty coworker Manny at every opportunity.

Shop owner Bernard Black (played by comedian Dylan Moran) and his assistant Manny Bianco (comedian Bill Bailey) ran a bookstore called Black Books in London. Their next door neighbour was scattered Nifty Gifty shop owner Fran Katzenjammer played by Tamsin Greig (Green Wings, Episodes, Love Soup). Black Books focused on the meaningless escapades of the three main characters and their nutty obsessions.

Winner of 2 BAFTA Awards for Situation Comedy (aka a “sitcom” for those of us less pompous), Black Books was recognised by peers and fans alike. I recall trying to purchase tickets to see Dylan Moran in his stand-up show soon after the show aired on TV and having to tussle with old ladies in the street. Okay, I might be slightly exaggerating but don’t try to tell me that lot of old folk do not gorge themselves on ABC  programs here in Australia.

Looking back one can now appreciate the UK comedy repertoire that appeared during the course of the series. It’s like watching The Young Ones many years later and seeing guests Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Lenny Henry, and Ben Elton (given, he did create the show!) pop up.

The Black Books series featured cameos from comedians David Walliams (Little Britain), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Spaced, Paul), Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Spaced, Paul), Peter Serafinowicz (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Smack The Pony) and Kevin Eldon (Big Train, Hot Fuzz, Nighty Night).

Originally created by Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd, Father Ted, Big Train), Linehan joined the show after watching the pilot and helped co-write the first series with Moran. Black Books was meant to be loosely related to that other brilliant Channel 4 sitcom, Spaced.

Here are a few of the fun moments on Black Books captured for your amusement:

Manny joins the rival bookstore and meets a Bully boss (played by Simon Pegg) worse than Bernard:

Manny discovers he has Jazz Hands:

Manny (inspired by 70’s TV series The Sweeney and high on coffee) chases after a crook:

Black Books is an absurdist’s wet dream.

Get your PJ’s on peoples and have a lie down …

Further Exploration:

Previously on Sampling Station:


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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