That's Anarchy

The release of an alternative comedy bible in Australia includes exclusive Dwarf material.

25 July, 2003

Where does Red Dwarf fit in the history of British alternative comedy? And does it even belong in that category at all? Author Chrissie McDonald's new book That's Anarchy! is all about... well, let's let the lady herself explain:

That's Anarchy

"That's Anarchy! concentrates on the so-called 'alternative comedy' movement. But the book's more than a history of the genre, it also contains light-hearted episode guides to the shows - The Young Ones, The Comic Strip, Filthy Rich and Catflap, Happy Families and Bottom, and has chapters devoted to Saturday/Friday Night Live, Ab Fab, French & Saunders, Blackadder and Red Dwarf."

The Dwarf chapter includes interviews with many of the series' key players, including Robert Llewellyn and Doug Naylor. The project has been a labour of love for Chrissie. "I remember listening to The Goons, Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour from a very early age and I've always loved TV comedy - Benny Hill Show when I was little, and later on, Monty Python and The Goodies. When I first saw The Young Ones, well, I was totally blown away! It sucked me in - captured my imagination. I adored the madness of it, the rebellion, and the anarchy! But I love almost all comedy. My favourite shows of the last year or two are The Office, League of Gentlemen and Black Books."

Which still doesn't explain whether Red Dwarf is really an 'alternative' comedy show... "I was wondering if you'd ask me this! I believe it fits in to this era of comedy, albeit tenuously, because of its uniqueness. Red Dwarf, itself, was revolutionary and innovative. Like The Young Ones, Red Dwarf changed the face of television comedy; it was produced by Paul Jackson, who was responsible for bringing 'alternative comedy' to television in the first place; and some of Red Dwarf's cast were also involved in these shows. So yes, I think it fits in, although I know that the show's creators don't like it wearing the 'alternative comedy' label."

That's Anarchy! comes out on July 30th. It's launching in Brisbane on that day - Dymocks Bookstore, Queen Street at 5pm - and in Melbourne on August 8th, Borders Books at the Jam Factory at 6.30 pm.

You can order That's Anarchy! from the ABC Shop, available via our Links section.

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