It pains me to admit it, but it was only recently that I realised the title of Ben Elton’s show The Man From Auntie was a play on the 60s TV show The Man From UNCLE. I just went with the notion of him being from the BBC, without noticing that other layer.
The show had two series, the first at the beginning of 1990, and the second in 1994. It enjoyed a couple of repeat runs too.
In the build-up to the first show’s broadcast, Ben gave an interview to The Daily Mirror, who gracelessly insulted him for nothing more than sadistic pleasure it seems.
A few days later, the same paper previewed the show like this (and for some reason asked a character from Neighbours to write about it):
On the day of broadcast, the Liverpool Echo ran with this:
For a paper that once employed Ben to write a weekly column, the Mirror seems unable to mention him without some sort of snark. Even Hilary Kingsley, a huge fan of all his work until this point, can’t resist a little jab at the end of an otherwise glowing review of the show.
Bill McCoid rather liked it too, as well as The Comic Strip Presents … GLC.
The second series in 1994 had a new look opening.
As well as being one of the most complained about shows of the year.
In 1998, the BBC announced the follow-up show, this time with a new title and with Paul Jackson’s involvement.