Rhys Thomas is an evil man, and though it’s something I’ve never ever agreed with before I can’t help but feel that it is time for the death penalty to be brought back. Why, you may ask? Isn’t his annual special “A Year In The Life Of A Year” not one of the few highlights of the Christmas tv schedules? Why yes, normally, but in this particular episode Thomas has committed a crime against humanity. This may sound overtly serious, but it’s true, for he has taken clips of the astonishingly delightful Paddington 2 movie and made it appear that said bear was buggered by Hugh Grant by mixing it with scenes and dialogue from the BBC’s A Very English Scandal.
Fine, fine, it is actually quite funny, but also bleak because I bloody love that movie and the idea of Paddington being put through such a thing is genuinely quite upsetting. But I guess Thomas doesn’t deserve to be executed this once as the rest of the episode is beautifully funny and inventive comedy. But if he fucks with Paddington ever again I will write him a stern letter filled with coarse language that would make the poor bear’s head explode if he was to ever read such a thing and only hope the same would happen with Rhys.
Fortunately the rest of the show is filled with moments which made me laugh from start to finish, including the pixelisation of what appears to be Noel Edmond’s penis, a great mash up off Piers Morgan’s Life Stories interview series which makes Mary Berry out to be a sex addict and suggests she was in a “Cocaine fuelled twelvesome with your co-judge Paul Hollywood” which made me childishly giggle an enormous amount, as did the idea of mixing the appalling Nine Lives film with House of Cards to suggest that when they killed off Kevin Spacey in the latter they replaced him with a talking cat. Thomas has a real skill at combining such shows and films in a deliriously strange but beautifully funny way, I’d happily watch an episode of this each and every week if such a thing were possible. I mean, getting Sir Derek Jacobi to read a children’s version of Trainspotting was inspired (with the accompanying pictures being somewhat wonderful) and it’s probably fortunate I don’t have children and never will or the temptation to show it to them, followed by my inevitable imprisonment, would be too difficult to resist.
A figure who has often gone unnoticed in the world of comedy, despite his superb Brian Pern mockumentaries, Thomas really does deserve to be applauded for coming up with such demented lunacy. Any show which sees a bunch of men stripping in front of an excited Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles deserves acclaim, as does his fake Black Mirror trailer which incorporates footage from a work by the world’s worst director, Neil Breen. In some ways it’s a shame that my list of best tv programmes has already been published on the site as this would have made the list and I’d have to take out something I really loved from it. In the past there’s been the odd sketch or scene which hasn’t quite worked but bar a bit which spoofed Gareth Malone’s music quiz that went on for a bit too long this isn’t true at all this year. Well, bar the Paddington one, but I might have to grumpily admit that most would probably find that funny too.
As well as Derek Jacobi, Simon Day and Lucy Montgomery also pop up in a spoof of Alex Horne’s tv show The Button, and Comedy To Watch favourite Tony Way makes an appearance as Thomas Markle, and all are a delight. There’s also satire of blockbuster movies and the fact that DC featured Batman’s penis for the first time in a comic this year, and so Thomas traumatises all by showing Popeye’s bumhole and Snoopy’s tits. It’s unpredictable, unexpected, and hilarious in all the best possible ways. Previously these specials were shown on BBC Four but given how great this was I hope that it’s been a ratings hit, and the channel gives him a huge amount of money to make whatever he wants. Or I might have to start a campaign to bring back the death penalty just for those who run the BBC.
You can watch the show on BBC iPlayer here.