Sketch comedy The Real McCoy comes to BBC iPlayer
James R | On 29, Jul 2020
Every episode of influential sketch comedy show The Real McCoy has arrived on BBC iPlayer today – the first time many fans will have been able to watch the show since it was originally on the air.
The iconic series was originally broadcast between 1991 and 1996, and was one of the first TV sketch shows to feature a primarily Black and Asian cast. The Real McCoy provided an early platform for comedy stars like Robbie Gee, Llewella Gideon, Curtis Walker, and Eddie Nestor, as well as Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Kulvinder Ghir, who went on to star in another sketch show Goodness Gracious Me, which was a spinoff of The Real McCoy.
Another star of the show was Felix Dexter, who specialised in lengthy, hilarious monologues. Dexter sadly passed away in 2013, and the BBC subsequently established the Felix Dexter bursary to help train and develop aspiring comedy writers from a BAME background by offering placements within the industry. Recipients of the bursary have honed their comedy writing skills on BBC shows including This Country, Mrs Brown’s Boys and BBC Radio 4’s Newsjack. 2020’s recipient of the bursary is stand-up comedian Athena Kugblenu.
The Real McCoy was much-loved in the early 90s, and featured many prominent guest stars, including footballer Ian Wright, newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald and boxer Frank Bruno. It has been cited as a big influence by some of Britain’s most popular comedians, including Judi Love, Mo Gilligan, and Gina Yashere, and its influence continues to be felt in modern sketch comedies such as BBC Three’s award-winning and much-loved sketch series Famalam.
Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning at the BBC, says: “This seminal sketch show broke down barriers and gave diverse comedy a crucial mainstream platform in the early 1990s. It laid the foundations for inclusiveness and representation that we’re continuing to build on today.”
The Real McCoy is available on BBC iPlayer until 20th July 2020