The Mary Whitehouse Experience was a UK topical comedy show, both on radio and TV, in the late '80s/early '90s. Its main stars were David Baddiel, Rob Newman, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis.
It started in 1989 as a radio show, devised by Bill Dare, on BBC Radio 1. The two pairings of Newman and Baddiel and Punt and Dennis were central to the show - they would later have spin-off television series of their own. Guest performers included Nick Hancock, Jo Brand, Jack Dee, and Mark Thomas.
It had four radio series, building up an audience and moving to better time slots. After the fourth series, it was decided to move the show to television. The television run started in 1990 on BBC 2. It lasted two series, a total of 13 episodes including its pilot. A spin-off book of the show was also published.
The series was a mix of surreal sketches and monologues, in a format similar to shows such as Mr. Show and The Kids in the Hall. (The Kids in the Hall also had a sketch about a character who suffered from a disease that made him sound sarcastic much like this show's character 'Ray', although this appears to be coincidental)
The show was named after Mary Whitehouse, a prominent campaigner against what she saw as a decline in television standards and public morality. She became famous in the UK going after shows like Monty Python's Flying Circus and Doctor Who. She threatened legal action against the show for its name.
The television series has never been released nor repeated by the BBC. Episodes of the radio series have been repeated on BBC 7. An online petition has been set up to lobby the BBC to release the television series on DVD.
A book The Mary Whitehouse Experience Encyclopedia, which was a spin-off of the series containing references to some of the sketches on the show and much new material, was released in 1991.
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