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This Morning with Richard Not Judy

This Morning With Richard Not Judy or TMWRNJ was a British comedy television programme, written by and starring Lee and Herring (the comedians Stewart Lee and Richard Herring), made and broadcast by the BBC. Two series were broadcast in 1998 and 1999 on BBC2. The name was a satirical reference to ITV's This Morning which was at the time popularly referred to as This Morning with Richard and Judy.

The show was a reworking of old material from their previous work together (radio and TV) along with new characters. The show was hosted in a daytime chat show format in front of a live studio audience, although it featured a small proportion of pre-recorded location inserts. It was structured by the often strange obsessions of Richard Herring, examples include his rating of the milk of all creatures and attempting to popularise the acronym of the show (TMWRNJ) (in the style of Tiswas). The show featured (and acknowledged its use of) repetition, with regular and vigilant viewers being rewarded by jokes that would make no sense to casual viewers. The show seemed to oscillate between the intellectual and puerile, however irony was often used, even though the citing of irony as an excuse was mocked by the show's stars in one of many self-referential jokes.

The actor Kevin Eldon also reprised two of his characters from the earlier Lee & Herring series Fist of Fun, Simon Quinlank (the "King of Hobbies") and his portrayal of "the false Rod Hull" as a jelly fanatic with a false arm and giant chin. A run of sketches featuring Eldon as the false Rod Hull was filmed for the second series, but dropped when the real Rod Hull died just prior to the start of the series. A new sketch was filmed as a tribute and featured as the closing item of the last programme in the series. (Rod Hull had taken this in good humour and had featured in one episode of Fist of Fun as a guest, pouring scorn on the false Rod Hull.)

TMWRNJ was the subject of many complaints on Points of View, largely due to the surprisingly adult content for a programme shown at Sunday lunchtime. The Jesus sketches were much remarked upon on Points of View due to the time of broadcast and uncertainty as to whether they were making fun of Jesus or people's take on the scriptures themselves. Like Fist of Fun it remains a cult series fondly-remembered by fans. Despite rumours that the original tapes had been misplaced by the BBC, the series does in fact exist in full in the BBC archives, however, due to the topical nature of much of the material on the show, the chances of it receiving either a commercial release or a repeat run are slim.

Regular features

The Curious Orange

Questions about life from a gigantic talking orange, played by Paul Putner. The name is derived from the album I Am Kurious Oranj by The Fall (itself a reference to the film I Am Curious (Yellow)), which was used to introduce each Curious Orange segment. At the end of the first series, having been revealed to be Richard Herring's illegitimate son, he was crushed to death and "juiced", but he was later reconstituted by a mad scientist. Throughout the second series his behaviour became increasingly sinister, and for a while he was replaced by The Curious Alien (in truth due to Putner's commitments elsewhere). By the final episode, he had mutated into a tyrannical character reminiscent of Doctor Who's Davros (though "just different enough not to infringe any copyright laws").

Histor's Eye

Ostensibly an extremely low-budget Sky TV children's television programme featuring two pirate crows: the titular Histor (who concealed a multicoloured spinning eye beneath his eyepatch) and his hapless first mate Pliny. Histor's ability to transport himself and Pliny through time ("as the crow flies") to view past events would be used to satirise current affairs, and the script would be peppered with deliberately weak but dense nautical- and bird-related multiple puns, which would increase in volume and weakness as the series progressed. (For example, Pliny would say 'Egg feather bird oeuf tit' in place of 'I've never heard of it', or 'Feather me wingers' in place of 'Shiver me timbers'.) Pliny's idiocy drives Histor to insanity and, eventually, he murders him by stuffing him with eggs until he bursts, as he keeps using the word "egg" so it has no connection or relation to the context of what Histor was saying, (only for Histor to be subsequently haunted by Pliny's equally pun-obsessed ghost). A running joke in this segment was that despite Pliny's apparent idiocy, he would occasionally counter Histor's right-wing views with extraordinarily eloquent and well constructed left-wing arguments. This would often result in Pliny being physically attacked by Histor or a third party (e.g. having a broken glass shoved into his face by a "lager lout" Saint George). During the Histor's Eye segment the indent "KIDZ CHANNEL" would be shown in the top left of the screen, and this was similar to those used by many satellite broadcasters at the time.

The Corrs Shrine

A shrine to the Corrs or more correctly 'The Corrs Shrine'. Essentially Herring's infatuation with Andrea Corr. The rest of them (particularly the Man Corr) he didn't care for. The pictures were supposedly pasted up with flour and water with salt added as a binding agent.

Food and Milk

Richard Herring would taste milk from various sources not readily available - shrews, tapirs, blue whale... Ended with the line 'Remember, there'll always be milk'.

Extra Final Scene

This would take the form of a tacked-on ending for a different film each week, for example as extra final scene for Blues Brothers 2000 which saw Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman laughing and urinating on the grave of John Belushi before driving off in the Bluesmobile. Another was made for Titanic, in which Leonardo DiCaprio's character swims to the surface after Kate Winslet is rescued to celebrate finally escaping her clutches.

Sunday Heroes

A series of sketches featuring Jesus and his disciples as the main characters, parodying a schoolteacher and his class. In one sketch per week a disciple would pose a question to Jesus (Lee), usually on a topic of importance that would split Christianity (eg Transubstantiation vs Transignification). Instead of answering directly He would make a vague comment (such as instructing them to "consider the lily"), pause, then say "ahh" in a mysterious manner, causing all but Matthew (Herring) to "ahh" along with Him, leading the disciple to become frustrated with the evasion ("This isn't an 'ahh' situation"; "Ahh!"; "No, not 'ahh' - you can't just say 'consider the lily'"; "Ahh!"; "No Jesus: Not 'ahh'.") Peter (Carlton Dixon) would insult Matthew for not understanding, insisting in a smug "class swot" manner that he "got it right away", and Judas (Eldon) would also laugh at double entendres, only to be admonished. The other Apostles were played by Paul Putner ("Doubting Thomas"), Trevor Lock (Thaddaeus) and Emma Kennedy (the fictional Ian, who misunderstands the phrase "fishers of men"). These sketches tended to cause some controversy given the time of the show and the day of its broadcast.

Pause for Thought for the Day

The Unusual Priest, played by the actor Kevin Eldon, would present moral dilemmas, dealing with them in increasingly ridiculous fashion throughout the two series.

The Ironic Review

A fly-on-the-wall documentary about a so-called cutting edge magazine. The item was ostensibly a satire of The Modern Review, with the journalists being in bitter competition to see who could write the most "ironic" article.

The Lettuce Family

A bizarre sitcom in which the main characters were lettuce leaves.

Men of Achievement 1974

A short item in which the details of an entry in the book of the same name would be read out. At one point, noted as the least popular part of the show, but kept in 'until it becomes so popular, it gets its own series'.

When Insects Attack

A parody of the show When Animals Attack!, with a voice-over supposedly by actor Greg Evigan (actually Mark Gatiss). The last episode of this segment, in the first series, saw The Lettuce Family attacked by a slug - technically not an insect. In the second series this was replaced by When Things Get Knocked Over but as each week progressed, the segment's subject would vary. Eventually the title became When Things Get Knocked Over, Spill, or Fall Out Of Cupboards.

Roger Crowley

The self-styled most evil man alive, played by Roger Mann. During the first series he would regularly break into the programme to outline his latest absurd plan for world domination. Based on Aleister Crowley (evident in the costume's triangular hat).

The Organ Gang

Also known as TOG, in keeping with Richard's unhealthy abbreviation obsession - A spoof children's series, drawn by Joseph Champniss and narrated by Brian Cant, in which the characters were all organs of the human body, they would have some adventure and end up "laughing for a whole five minutes." It bore some resemblance to the real children's series The Munch Bunch in which all the characters were fruit and vegetables. The final episode saw Brian Cant ranting at his duty of being the narrator saying I'm Brian Cant!.

Nostradamus and his horse David Collins

A regular feature in the second series, medieval seer Nostradamus (played by Emma Kennedy with a false beard) would give his predictions for the week ahead, which would often be either completely absurd or extremely vague. The start of the segment would look at the previous week's predictions, if they were not correct Nostradamus would be punished by a nipple cripple, or something similarly pseudo-sexual, by Richard. During one episode Richard obsessed about cress for a whole show, as a spoof of product placement deals. When Nostradamus only got 1 out of the 3 of his predictions correct, a barbecue of cress was burnt with a blowlamp. The only prediction she got correct was that Reef would play live at the Royal Albert Hall.

King (or Queen) of the Show

In each edition, a member of the audience would be crowned "King or Queen of the Show", either at random or as a reward for sending in an especially entertaining letter. After being crowned, they would be offered various items from a trolley- these items would be all be linked by the current theme of the show. The crown and trolley would be brought on by the normally mute ("we can't afford to pay you to speak") Trevor and Natalie (Trevor Lock and Nathalie Brandon) who would sometimes be dressed in outlandish costumes. At this point Trevor would invariably be mocked by Stew for having "a small face".

Lazy Comedy Slags

Lee and Herring would discuss lazy comedy clichés, such as jokes ending with "and then I got off the bus" and "28 years old I was!", and jokes designed to play on the audience's sense of nostalgia for the 1970s. They would also brainstorm lazy comedy ideas for the BBC, based on real programmes. Their ideas would usually include characters called Ian - a running joke which also featured in Sunday Heroes, with one of the disciples being called Ian. Programme examples included:

Roll Reversal

Ian Roll is a driving instructor, Ian Reversal is a baker. They swap jobs, etc. With hilarious consequences.

Chalk and Cheese

Ian Chalk and Ian Cheese are two men. They are very different. However, they eventually become friends and realise they are not so different after all. With hilarious consequences.

Bent Coppers

Ian and Iain Bent are brothers who are policemen. One is corrupt and the other is homosexual. They both suffer from curvature of the spine, and they're made of copper - they're robots in the future. With hilarious consequences.

Fruit and Nuts

Ian Fruit and Ian Nuts are room-mates. Ian Fruit is allergic to nuts and Ian Nuts is allergic to fruit. Ian Nuts is a homicidal maniac. Consequently, he's always trying to sneak fruit and nuts into everything they eat. With fatal consequences.

Richard Herring's Food And Milk

A weekly segment in which Richard Herring would taste the milk of a different mammal and give a rating out of ten. Despite the name no solid food was ever featured.

Trevor And Natalie

A man with 'an extremely small face', called Trevor, and a woman called Natalie would appear on each show in non-speaking roles as slaves, often to bring in props or to usher in guests or other performers. Trevor is the same Trevor Lock who features on Russell Brand's radio shows and is now a stand up comedian.

Angus Deayton's Authorised History Of Alternative Comedy (with Angus Deayton)

A satirical version of a BBC series that explored the boom in alternative comedy in the 1970s and early 1980s. The item would involve a comedian (either the portrayal of a real life person or a generic stand-up) reminisce about the "amazing times" they had, while shamelessly exaggerating their trailblazing influence. The charactures would always be seen drinking from an SDP mug, a reference to the political party famously supported by John Cleese (whose picture appeared on the title screen) during the 1980s. Angus Deayton himself did not appear).


"Curse you God for making me this way!" - A feature of a recurring theme in the series, where someone would be laughed at (in a surreal fashion) due to a misfortune. The victim of the ridicule would always say this.

"My expectations were confounded and from thence the humour arose."

"Who is the real sick man in this so called society?" A question posed by Herring throughout the first series in order to justify his outrageously inappropriate and perverse personal anecdotes, e.g. wanting to make love to Nathalie Imbruglia's body with the head of an ant. He would compare his activities to that of "the businessman, in his Suit and tie." It was always concluded by Lee that Herring was clearly the more sick.

‘Look at his little face, it’s almost as if he understands.’

Transmission details

  • Number of episodes: 18
  • Running-time: 45 minutes
  • Series 1 (8 episodes): 15 February - 5 April 1998 – BBC2, Sundays at 12.15
  • Series 2 (10 episodes): 21 March - 13 June 1999 – BBC2, Sundays, mostly at 12.15
  • Shortened (30-minute) repeats of the programmes were aired by BBC2 on the Friday following each original broadcast

External links

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