The Fast Show
featured many memorable characters. They are listed here by performer.
- Bob Fleming (Higson), the host of Country Matters, who has an extremely bad cough. Sometimes accompanied by one of his friends: sneezing Clive Tucker (Williams); hiccupping Murtagh Blethyn (Day); and, of course, Jed Thomas (Whitehouse), the man who can't stop saying "ARSE!". They released a CD of folk music, entitled Bob Fleming's Country Favourites and including such hits as "Are you going to Scarborough ... A - CHOO!", "All around my ARSE!" and "The Wild Rover" accompanied by a chorus of coughing, sneezing, hiccups and "ARSE!"
- (with Donna Ewin:) Friendly but naked newlyweds, who are invariably, and quite unabashedly, caught copulating.
- Colin Hunt, unfunny office practical joker.
- Colin Hunt's office trolley, geddit? *whack*
- Note: The writers claim Colin is based on those fans of comedy sketch shows who constantly repeat the catchphrases the next day. The name C. Hunt is also one phoneme away from a common insult applied to such people.
- Johnny Nice Painter, who goes insane at the mention of the colour black, much to the dismay of his long-suffering wife, Katie (Weir).
- Geoffrey Norman MP, the Tory politician who denies everything.
- Swiss Toni, a car salesman who compares everything to making love to a beautiful woman.
- Fitting a carpet is much like making love to a beautiful woman. You lay her out, pin her down and walk all over her.
- Note: Went on to star in a show of his own.
- I'm Sorry, I've Just Come, a besuited, well spoken character who appears in various situations, says a few lines which are suddenly halted with an embarrassed pause, followed by an apologetic "I'm sorry, I've just come...."
- Lord Ralph Mayhew, in the Ted and Ralph sketch. Ralph is a country squire who spends his time trying to get closer to the object of his desire, his Irish estate worker Ted. Most of Ralph's approaches are brushed aside with the words, 'I wouldn't know about that, sir,' or some muttering about the drainage on the lower field.
- Rowley Birkin QC, drunk old upper class man (presumably a retired barrister from the QC appellation in his name) tells mostly unintelligible stories at the fireside. Occasionally, his speech becomes intelligible for a short while, containing strange phrases such as "the whole thing was made completely out of rubber" or "Snakes! Snakes!" This character was also involved in an incredibly moving sketch where he rambled through his usual unintelligible commentary but it became obvious it was a painful memory of a woman he had met in the war. It ended with his catchphrase, but delivered entirely differently; with a long wait at the end of the story and a sad, painful expression. The character stared long into the camera and eventually said with no hint of drunkenness "I'm afraid I was very drunk". Some of the cast admitted later when they saw this sketch they actually cried.
- ... I'm afraid I was very, very drunk.
- Brilliant Kid, a parody of British Children's TV presenters who walks through a series of peculiar backgrounds describing various innocuous, everyday things as 'brilliant!'
- The Hearty Hiker. This is a character who thoroughly enjoys rambling. He once met a disturbed garage attendant (played by Mark Williams) and was chased down the road by said attendant, who was shouting: "STUCK DOWN A HOLE! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT! WITH AN OWL!"
- The 13th Duke of Wybourne, posh, rumpled dinner jacketed, cigar smoking Casanova, finds himself in unsuitable places
- Me, the 13th Duke of Wybourne, here? In a student nurses' halls of residence? With my reputation? What do they take me for?
- Archie the pub bore. Talks to people in the pub, and when they mention their profession, no matter what it is, he always claims to have had the same profession (which he had to give up due to a terrible back injury). Somehow he always brings the conversation round to his apparently only real loves; fishing and the songs of Frank Sinatra.
- Hardest game in the world... thirty years man and boy...
- Ron Manager, nonsense talking football pundit. Doesn't actually know very much about football.
- It's a far cry from small boys in the park, jumpers for goalposts. Isn't it? Mmmmm. Marvellous.
- 'Unlucky' Alf, the lonely old pensioner for whom nothing ever goes right. Often heard to utter the phrase "Awww bugger!"
- The "monster" who terrorizes a young woman in her bed in the middle of the night with betting tips. His physical appearance is based on Nosferatu, his voice and catchphrase is taken from football agent Eric Hall.
- Monster, monster!
- Chris the Crafty Cockney, claims to be an incurable kleptomaniac ("I'll nick anything me"). He is left alone with something valuable, and invariably steals it - including a child's Pokémon cards, the takings from a friend's market stall, and even a police car. Often says that he's "a little bit woah, a little bit wayyy, a little bit whooosh!"
- Does Anyone Fancy a Pint?, a beer-craving londoner, who in various (sometimes bizarre, surreal or completely inappropriate situation such as an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting) situations will say his punchline to end the sketch
- Indecisive Dave, Dave and his mates are often in deep conversation in the pub, and whilst his friends have very clear opposite views, when they question Dave, he will agree with both of them, constantly contradicting his own statements, and leaving his mates in a state of puzzlement
- Advertisements for cheesy peas.
- You like Cheese!? You like Peas!? Then you'll love Cheesy-Peas!!
- How queer! Where's me washboard?
- Ted, in the Ted and Ralph sketch. Ted is an Irish estate worker who is the object of Lord Ralph Mayhew's affections.
- Jesse and his strange diets, fashion tastes and experiments.
- This week, I have been mostly eating ... TARAMASALATA!
- THIS WEEK, I HAVE BEEN MOSTLY EATING PROZAC!!!
- This week, I aren't been 'ungry.
- This season, I shall be mostly wearing ... A THONG!
- 'You Ain't Seen Me, Right?' is scruffily dressed, and always appears in passing, pausing only to dispense his eponymous warning.
- Colin ('I'll Get Me Coat') always says, wears or otherwise does something inappropriate for the social situation in which he finds himself. Shocked, other characters stare at him before he delivers his line and ends the sketch.
- Patrick Nice, a man who may or may not stumble into amazing circumstances on a regular basis, but remains very calm. Wins lottery twice in a row, and sees R.E.M. perform an impromptu concert at the ceremony where his son is awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry.
- ...and I was rummaging around in the attic and I found the original copy of the Bible. Which was nice.
- ...and unfortunately I left my fingerprints all over the handle, so it looks like I'll be going down for the next 15 years. Which is a shame.
- 'Even better than that!' : Late middle-aged man returns from shopping trips with exotic and inappropriate products instead of the essential basics requested by his wife.
- As the unnamed head of a family who are perpetually rushing to get somewhere. Usually seen wearing a Birmingham City F.C. top, carrying parcels or suitcases, and urging the rest of the family to "Come on! Hurry up! We're going to be late!"
- As an unnamed, sadistic, cane-wielding public school headmaster. Very fond of telling stories about humiliating rituals performed on younger boys by their seniors
- As an equally unnamed elderly attendant of a remote garage, very eager to give out bizarre and increasingly loud directions
- Sadistic Doctor who ritually teases and humiliates his patients, e.g. by telling them they've got terminal illnesses, and then laughing at them that he's 'got' them with that joke. (Series 1 only)
- Squeamish Zookeeper who seems unable to cope with the natural bodily functions of the various animals in his care.
- Competitive Dad, who is over-critical and demanding of his kids, and always has to get one up on them. Day claims this character is based on an incident he witnessed at a public swimming pool, where a man challenged his two young children to a race and then swam away at top speed, leaving them struggling to catch up
- Dave Angel, Eco-Warrior, who's into saving the planet (with a somewhat dubious methodology), Mike Oldfield records, and swinging. A parody of a late-night magazine program presented by Mike Reid. His ditzy blonde wife Shirley innocently scuppers the implied message of his shows. The piece of music that accompanies this sketch is by Mike Oldfield and is entitled Moonlight Shadow
- Carl Hooper, Australian presenter of That's Amazing, a spoof on pop-science shows, where the exhibits invariably turn out be un-amazing. On the one occasion where a guest genuinely had an amazing tale to tell, he rendered it unbroadcastable by swearing excitedly throughout, with Carl unable to get him to calm down.
- Billy Bleach, pub know-it-all who gets it all wrong. Also appears in a sketch in which somebody will sit near him and he says "Someone's sitting there, mate", usually in utterly inappropriate situations. (This character starred in his own series, 'Grass' which was shown on BBC Three. Additionally, Day occasionally appeared on stage as this character in stand-up)
- John Actor, who plays Inspector Monkfish, the tough uncompromising cop ("You - fetch a body bag, you - find the murder weapon, and you - get your knickers on and get me a cup of tea!") A parody of television actors who play the same kind of cynical, hardbitten leading man in every production, he has also appeared as a tough, uncompromising doctor (Monkfish MD), vet (All Monkfish Great and Small), female cop (Prime Monkfish), interior designer (Changing Monkfish) and even two tough, uncompromising cops (Monkfish and Monkfish)
- Andy The Affair Man, a businessman who believes every woman (and some men) he meets is trying to ask him for sex.
- Tommy Cockles, an old-pro music-hall comedian and contemporary of Arthur Atkinson, who has been given the task of introducing segments of Atkinson's act. It gradually becomes clear that Cockles resents Atkinson deeply. "Arthur was very popular with his audiences, despite the fact that, off-stage, he was a git". He is a parody of presenters of TV history, especially Dennis Norden
- Gideon Soames, a white-haired, bespectacled television historian for whom things very rarely go right.
- The Builder seen perched (with his friend played by Mark Williams) on an RSJ suspended from a crane, eating his lunch and mouthing off about all and sundry.
- Did he f...
- Antonios Gubba, deep-voiced sporting news reader of Chanel 9 Neus, whose name is a translation of real commentator Tony Gubba's name into the non-specific Romance language spoken on Chanel 9.
- No Offense, a rude South African department store cosmetics sales woman.
- Insecure Woman, who appears in a variety of different locations, sometimes bizarre (including as a traffic warden, High Court judge and the fairy on top of a Christmas tree.) She constantly irritates people with demands for reassurance about her looks: "Should I have put my hair up?" "Do you think I should have chosen different earrings?" "Does my bum look big in this?" At one point she frightens away a mugger with repeated questions about his opinion of the shoes she's wearing.
- Trudi, advertised during a break in Chanel 9 Neus, releasing her album, Greatest Hits Von Trudi, which included the hits "Smoke on the Water," "Heth-Eth-Eth-Eth-Eth-Eth" and "Chris Waddle."
- Different With Boys, who acts in harsh and professional, "no-nonsense" way in front of female friends and colleagues but transforms into a giggling, ditzy, stereotypical "bimbo" whenever she is introduced to a man.
- HA!, an elderly woman who only ever interjects into family conversations with a sarcastic 'HA!'
- Rubbish Dad: Brilliant Kid's Father, who walks around moaning about everyday things that are 'rubbish', which seems to include everything and everybody except Des Lynam and Elvis Presley.
- Chip Cobb, the Deaf Stuntman, who mishears normal things as instructions to perform some dangerous stunt ("We just need to reset the wire ..." "Set meself on fire? OK!")
- Louis Balfour, presenter of Jazz Club (a very obvious parody of The Old Grey Whistle Test). Usually featured other members of the Fast Show team playing jazz, usually very badly.
- mmmmm, Nice! (once was altered to Indie Club featuring Simon Day in the role of unsmiling, stentorian presenter)
- We took this skull... from some other guy's lab (giggles)
- Roger Nouveau, a middle-class man who has jumped onto the footballing bandwagon of the 1990s.
- A full 6 hours in make-up. An actor who is only ever seen at the theatre dressing-table. Every role he plays requires, so he insists, 'a full 6 hours in make-up', but then he simply puts a wig on or a fake beard and nods that he is ready, despite only actually having about 5 seconds of 'make-up.'
- As an unnamed, Charlton Heston - style astronaut who rushes up to people and shouts "Where am I? What year is this? Who's the President? Aargh!" before running away again. (In The Last Fast Show Ever only)
- Checkout Girl, who comments on every purchase. "Microwave meal for one? Living on your own, are you? Awwwwwwwwwwwww."
- "Our" Janine Carr, teenage mum with a unique world outlook. She refuses to reveal who the father of her baby is because "it's not fair to grass on your headmaster" and, even though she claims to be a vegetarian, she thinks it's perfectly acceptable to eat sausage rolls given that "there's no such animal as a sausage"
- Poula Fisch, weather presenter on "Chanel 9" (see Mixed performances below).
- As a fish scientist who has no friends
- Linda the Landlady, pub proprietor who regales customers with long stories about her various doings and invites them to guess the very obvious outcome (eg. in one sketch she describes having heard a crash outside and seen a long line of wrecked cars: "and you know what that was, don't you? A car crash! Simple as that.")
- The presenter of a TV show called Worldview, who tells the viewing audience about her experiences of hearing foreigners mispronounce English.
- Ed Winchester, an American TV presenter, presumably of travelogues, who only gets to introduce himself.
- Hi, I'm Ed Winchester., except for the one episode in which he said "Hi! I'm Ed Winchester. And I'd like to take a moment of your time to talk to you about the love of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
- In one episode, someone else (Colin McFarlane) actually introduced himself as Ed Winchester. He then followed with "No I'm not. I don't know why I just said that."
- Another episode saw several other (presumably) American presenters follow Ed with similar introductions ("I'm Ramone Valentino..." ) before Ed squeezes back in again at the end with "...and I'm Ed Winchester"
- Kolothos Apollonia, one of the hosts on Chanel 9 news and compère on a variety show on the same channel
- Various "Straight Men", such as the 'Suit You' tailors' victim.
- Bono Estente, Hethethethethethe hethethethethethetheth, Sminki-pinki, Chris Waddle. Boutros Boutros Ghali. Bono Estente is the standard greeting; Boutros Boutros Ghali is used as the goodbye.
- Also on Chanel 9:
- * Meterologicos (the weather forecast) presented by Poula Fisch (perhaps a reference to former weather presenter Michael Fish), played by Aherne; the weather is (almost) always the same everywhere: hot ("Scorchio!"). One occasion when the weather was "Cumulio" resulted in mourning from the whole channel; on another occasion a forecast of "cumulonimbus!" sparked urgent, excited investigative reportage.
- * Advertisements for the 'Gizmo', an orange pump-action device (which is actually a plastic plumbing trap attached to the end of a squeeze mop). A number of these are advertised by bikini-clad women for a multitude of different purposes, in spite of the fact that the device is always exactly the same. Its features are described in terms of evocative phrases like "Novello proboscis - molto molto kinagrophos". The device is usually described as being "Un action pumpo".
- * Disco Baby, Sexy Baby song performed by Higson dressed as hairy overweight '70s disco star. Mikki Disco.
- * El Amoro I El Passionne, a soap opera about a stereotypical "macho" Mediterranean man and his long-suffering wife.
- Roy & Renée (Thomson & Aherne), endless chattering from Renée and her verbally challenged husband Roy.
- What did I say Roy?
- Ken and Kenneth, the "Suit you!" tailors who bombard potential customers with innuendo-laden suggestions about their private life, (Whitehouse and Williams).
- The Patagonians, a group of South American musicians who seem to never be able to get further than a few seconds into a song before it degenerates into a tuneless shambles. They play in bizarre locations, and notable instruments they use are pan pipes, an acoustic guitar and maracas.
- The Fat Sweaty Coppers, two heavily overweight and generally useless coppers who think about food before crime, they usually get in a variety of strange situations, and usually both get stuck in between doors.
- The Alcoholics, a family of alcoholics (mother, father, grandfather and son) who never seem to notice each other's very obvious drinking problem. They are in the habit of taking surreptitious swigs from hidden bottles of booze and then insisting "I'm not pissed!" despite clearly being drunk.
- Our Lord Jesus, a sketch invariably featuring most of the cast. A genial conversation will take place, which will lead to one of the characters proclaiming that something mentioned was a bit like the actions of Our Lord Jesus, who died on the cross for all our sins. At this point, the rest of the gathering move away to another part of the room.
One sketch proferred a variation on this theme, featuring two Jesus-obsessed police officers (Whitehouse and Williams).
- Ah-ha!....Shit! (Williams and Thomson) a sketch in which Williams is a lawbreaker or spy or some such, held in a police questioning room, not talking, but who is invariably tricked into revealing his true identity by Thomson's senior CID character. Thomson smiles, waves a finger, says 'Ah-hah!', Williams looks to camera and says, in a resigned manner 'Shit!'
- The Unpronounceables An ensemble piece, a spoof of black-and-white Italian-American mafioso-type films, whose characters' names are unpronounceable to each other. A take on the '30s-set Mafia film The Untouchables.
- The Soppy Businessmen, who start out full of professionalism, but eventually end the sketch in a childish manner, e.g. by cooing over a picture of two little puppies in a handbasket, or by rushing away from works on a building site because they've spotted a digger.
- We're from the Isle of Man a reedy voiced, miserable middle aged couple (Williams and Aherne) who are from The Isle of Man and various other zany characters
- The Nuns a piece of wordless slapstick in which a troupe of nuns run around, often in single file, like a group of automatons, eventually running into a brick wall or some such.
- The Indie Band with John Thomson as the record executive Mr Wells. The band and Mr Wells sit and listen to their new song...
- I don't want to be in your world, I don't wanna be part of your world. Mr Wells you're a twat, you're a sad old twa-at...
- Hello, We're Cockneys! A couple (Whitehouse and Weir) who go over the top to insist they are "Cockneys", despite their upper class (and decidedly not very Cockney) manner of speech and dress. In one sketch they go to a country pub and pick a fight with a pair of equally posh "Geordies", until a black gentleman, wearing similar dress, walks in and proclaims himself a "Yardie", challenging the "whities".
- Jack Pot & Tom Bowler (Day and Thompson) Silent psychedelic/surrealist duo (from the Isle of Man), who featured briefly during the credits of one episode, and also made brief appearances on Jazz Club and Chanel 9. Both have pudding-bowl haircuts, wear bright turtle-neck sweaters, and maintain odd physical postures.
Charlie Higson & Paul Whitehouse
- Ted & Ralph - diffident, repressed homosexual country squire Lord Ralph Mayhew (Higson) attempts to strike up an intimate relationship with his ageing Irish estate worker Ted (Whitehouse), who usually has to keep gently asserting that "I wouldn't know about that, sir." Frequently shown starting to ask Ted to do some work about the manor or the grounds - but ending up saying 'oh, no, actually Ted, I could do that myself' - often leaves unsaid feelings he's obviously got - which usually leads to both being embarrassed.
- Note: These two characters starred in their own made-for-TV movie Ted and Ralph in 1998, which starred Whitehouse, Higson and other Fast Show regulars. Whitehouse also put in a cameo appearance as Rowley Birkin QC. This spin-off also starred Kathy Burke as Ted's wife (who strangely was meant to be dead at the time, according to the series). Despite her close association with Whitehouse and Higson through working with Harry Enfield this is her only appearance in any programme directly related to The Fast Show.
- The Offroaders, Simon Bush (Higson) and Lyndsay Mottram (Whitehouse), filmed by their friend Baz while they try impressive extreme sports, but fail to hide the fact that they are disastrously hopeless at such pursuits.
- Gripped, Sorted, Let's off-road, and after one less than successful venture into bushcraft, I am the mushroom god!
- The Long, Slow Punch-Up, two characters engaged in a very tedious, drawn out fist-fight
- Lesbians, Dave A pair of builders/renovators who, in the traditional style, barrack passing women with wolf-whistles etc, and conclude, that when said leering is ignored, that the targets are lesbians.