‘Lockdown? Suit you, sir!’ The Fast Show characters on the Covid era | The Fast Show

It’s been 26 years since The Fast Show first aired. Originally running from 1994-97, the frantic sketch show’s sex-mad car showman and innuendo-crazed tailors perhaps wouldn’t find their way on to TV today. But that hasn’t stopped Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse, Simon Day, Arabella Weir, John Thomson and Mark Williams reuniting for a one-year-late silver anniversary special packed full of “unacceptable” 90s humour. We caught up with the show’s best-loved characters to see how they are coping with the modern world.

‘Enjoy the ride’ … Charlie Higson as Swiss Toni.
‘Enjoy the ride’ … Charlie Higson as Swiss Toni. Photograph: UKTV/Adam Lawrence

Swiss Toni

Hi, Swiss. In what ways is turning 26 very much like making love to a beautiful woman?
For me, turning 26 was very much like making love to a beautiful woman – because I spent the day making love to a beautiful woman. In fact, as it was my birthday, I made love to three women … and what turned out to be a goat with a hat on.

Following #MeToo, is it still politically correct to lure women with the promise of fine wines, Belgian chocolates and the manly smell of a pipe?
What’s the alternative? A face mask, some compostable carrier bags and a scented candle? Anyway, I object to the term “lure”, I prefer “court”. Courtship is a dying art. These days it’s just swipe left, swipe right, bullseye!

In what ways is travelling by public transport while adhering to strict social distancing guidelines during a worldwide pandemic very much like making love to a beautiful woman?
I have absolutely no idea. I have never used public transport. I am a driver and always will be. To get me on to a bus they will have to prise the steering wheel out of my cold dead hands. But I have seen people using a bus on the television. It looks fairly straightforward, even if you’re sticking to the government guidelines. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s very much like making love to a beautiful woman. First, consider entering via the lesser-used rear entrance. The front entrance generally sees more traffic and can be a honey trap for germs. On entry, remember to smile with your eyes, it doesn’t matter what you’re really thinking because they won’t be able to see you behind your mask. Then simply enjoy the ride. When you get off, wash your hands and sanitise your PPE – your personal pipe end.

Ron Manager

‘Pandemonium isn’t it? Wasn’t it?’ … Paul Whitehouse as Ron Manager.
‘Pandemonium isn’t it? Wasn’t it?’ … Paul Whitehouse as Ron Manager. Photograph: UKTV/Adam Lawrence

The Euros, the Olympics and Wimbledon are all off! How are you coping, Ron?
Oh, isn’t it, the football? Hmm? Association soccer – the soccer experience? The piped-in chants of racial abuse, the empty stadia (notice how I used the correct term for the plural of stadium there?), sad, isn’t it? If a defender is nutmegged in a forest with no crowd to cheer, does it make any sound? Or something. But we will fight this virus, we are British after all, and unlike every other country in the world we won’t give in. We shall fight them on the beaches. Although I don’t think Churchill meant we should fight each other on the beaches like our lads are doing in Wales and Bournemouth – kicking each other up their ba (notice how I used the correct term for the plural of bum there?).

Oh, yes. This pandemic. Pandemonium isn’t it? Wasn’t it? Like the shadow of Hitler’s jackboot stamping its way across Europe. That was the last time the football was cancelled. Small boys, on the beach, oil-covered, rotting seagulls for goal posts. Isn’t it? Wasn’t it? And, quite frankly, I don’t give a toss about the tennis.

‘I Brexited all over the carpet’ … Paul Whitehouse as Rowley Birkin QC.
‘I Brexited all over the carpet’ … Paul Whitehouse as Rowley Birkin QC. Photograph: UKTV/Adam Lawrence

Rowley Birkin QC

Have you ever had an infectious disease?
COVID! Aaaaaaargh! 🧦 😷 💄 🏂🏼 🐊 I’ve had almost every disease known to mankind ☠️ 🍄 🐩 🍟 🎺. I believe it was either in Rio de Janeiro, or Dar Es Salaam, or was it Kettering…? Anyway, 🤧 🎉 🐌 🚀 🛁 I had running sores all the way up my inner thigh and up the back of my head 💣 💋 🦆👙 🐳. Extremely high temperature – the highest ever recorded for a human being 🌋 😓 👻 ☔️ 🌶 . I remember the beautiful painted floorboards … 🌲 🌈 🍼 🎯 💰 third in line to the throne 👑 🎲 🔮 🛒 🚽 … I was looked after by a beautiful Mayan woman. Interesting people, the Mayans – did you know they played the earliest team sport in the world?! With a brain 🧠 😳 ☎️ 🏉 🗑️ … not allowed to use their head, hands or feet! 👋🏼 😻 👀 🎩 💪🏻 Offside ref … 🤞🏻🤦‍♀️ 🐲 🌊 🦀 I got sicker and sicker and sicker and sicker and sicker and sicker 🐖 🤓 🐚 🐒 👵 and sicker … 😎 🦔 🍔 🕷 🥕and I Brexited all over the carpet 🤮 🧀 🍦 🏌️‍♂️ 🥊. I was quarantined for rabies, Ebola, Lassa fever and the foxtrot. 🙄 🦍 🌴 🎃 👾 Tintin Quarantino. 🤪 🦉 🐭 😾 ☝️And the upshot was to this day I still can’t. 😬 🦑 🐓 🍰 🥜. Is that all right? My grandchildren tell me I need to keep up with the modern world and use emojis. They did show me how, but I’m afraid I was very, very drunk.

Dave Angel

‘We are being stung by jellyfish’ … Simon Day as Dave Angel.
‘We are being stung by jellyfish’ … Simon Day as Dave Angel. Photograph: UKTV/Adam Lawrence

So, Dave, how are you coping with the virus?
We must track and trace. If you are showing signs of Covid get home and get the snooker on – the time will fly by. For me, putting on a mask took me right back to a sub-post office in Wicklow in Essex. Happy days, nobody got hurt and the insurance paid out.

Has lockdown has been good or bad for the planet?
There has sadly been a massive increase in single-use plastic, which is pointless and dangerous for the old globe. The turtles have been strangled just so you can have a tiny bottle of fake spring water sourced from a sewage works in Dagenham. And now we are being stung by jellyfish. Get down the cash and carry and get a barrel of water. Better still, drink TAP WATER! The planet enjoyed a break cos of Covid but we need a permanent one. Let’s go back to nudity and bartering seriously.

‘Do you wear a mask, sir? Do you?’ … Paul Whitehouse and Mark Williams as Ken and Kenneth.
‘Do you wear a mask, sir? Do you?’ … Paul Whitehouse and Mark Williams as Ken and Kenneth. Photograph: UKTV/Adam Lawrence

Suit you

How has your tailor’s shop coped in the lockdown crisis?
Lockdown? Ooh, suit you, sir. Locked right down sir. In a dungeon … Ooooh. Our shop has reopened, but it has all changed. You have to wear a mask.

Ken: Do you wear a mask, sir? Do you? Does it add a little spice to your life?

Kenneth: Ooh. Do you get your wife to wear a mask and pretend she’s someone else, sir – one of the Kardashians, perhaps, or even Kanye West? We’re all fluid in this modern world, aren’t we, sir, or madam, or non-binary person … I’m not fussy. I like all 227 genders. You can use whatever pronoun you like with me. Ooh, suit you.

People have been buying fewer clothes in lockdown. Isn’t fashion bad for the planet anyway?
Well, body shapes change sir. And we need to accommodate that. Now the large booty is in fashion.

Kenneth: Do you like the large booty, sir? Straining at the Lycra, showing every contour known to mankind, like a 3D map of Jupiter’s moons. Ooh, suit you! Sorry, what was the question again?


Aren’t the royal family brilliant? They only have four different names, Edward, George, Henry and George again. Oh yeah, and Charles, but he’ll never be king, not as long as Olivia Colman’s on the throne. The amazing thing about the British royal family is that they’re not really British at all. First they were Normans, which were a sort of French with funny helmets, then they were Scottish, then they were Dutch, then they were Germans and then they became British, just in time for world war two. Which was handy, cos it might have got confusing and we’d have been at war with ourselves. And I think they’re probably still a bit confused, which was why Harry dressed up with all swastikas and that. Anyway, she’s forgiven him, Meghan Sparkle, and now they live in Los Angeles, which is in Hollywood. Aren’t films brilliant? Except the ones that aren’t, which is most of em … In’t Prince Philip fantastic? He’s 325 year old and he’s not dead yet, bout the same age as Dracula … although some people reckon Prince Philip died years ago and was replaced by a robot or an alien or something. I’d like to be replaced an alien. Aren’t aliens fantastic? Nothing ever happens round here. Specially since lockdown. Except when we go to illegal raves in the park, take hippy crack and fight each other. In’t hippy crack brilliant? It’s like a drug you can also use to whip cream. Brilliaaaaant!

• The Fast Show: Just a Load of Blooming Catchphrases is on Gold on 29 August. Words © 2020 Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse, Simon Day.

Source: The Guardian

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