October 9, 2008

An early one because I’m busy tomorrow and I need to ask y’all a question. How do I change channels on BT Vision? I don’t want to pause the program, or record one that’s on in two weeks–I want to sit there like a normal person and flip through channels. Does anyone known why my GOD-DAMN controller won’t let me DO THAT?
Thanks in advance! (You know I’m not shouting at you guys, right? Unless you work for BT in which case I AM SHOUTING AT YOU!)


  1. Your not missing anything … BELIEVE ME!

  2. IT Crowd tomorrowwwwwwwwww. Well, later today! I have to be up in 5 hours to get on a plane, woe is me. At least I’ve not be on a bus for the past 5 hours, with another 7 to go like the lovely Kirsten. Really appreciate the opportunity to go to see the filming, and what a bloody good excuse to meet up with a friend for the first time. Hope everything’s going to plan Graham!

  3. Since I’ll probably never get the chance to drunkenly shout “Drink, Feck, Arse” in your face, I would like to take this opportunity to say: Have you tried turning it off and on again?

    I’m so very sorry.

  4. No idea what BT Vision is, but it doesn’t sound very good.

    Loved the A-Ha video though!

  5. I’m no Bt expert so I can’t help I’m afraid.

    I do have a favour to ask much in the same vein as Johnny the lurker some months back. I am nearing the end of series 5 of the Wire and I’m terrified at the thought of life post-McNulty and company. I need something to look forward to that can fill such a void. Anyone any tips? I have watched and loved all of the Sopranos and the West Wing and am looking for something meaty to get my teeth into next (I have a wardrobe full of Comedy dvds too so drama recommendations are most welcome). Heros any good? Six Feet Under? Mad men? Studio 60?

    Is the Wire just too hard an act to follow? Should I take a break and watch some America’s Next Top Model for a while to lower my televisual needs.

    I leave you with a small gesture of good will…

  6. I don’t know anything about BT Vision, but I found this about switching channels on their website: http://bt.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/bt.cfg/php/enduser/cci/bt_adp.php?p_sid=OPM6qXfj&cat_lvl1=348&cat_lvl2=1154&p_cv=2.1154&p_cats=348,1154&p_faqid=10555

    Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  7. As sad as it may seem, I’m afraid that there is no return from ‘The Wire’. You may pop in ‘The Shield’ and think that that is a lot of fun. You might open yourself up to ‘Pushing Daisies’ and do a stupid, stupid dance. There is every chance that ‘Heroes’ may seem like a reasonable alternative to what has gone before.

    ‘Heroes’ is no alternative.

    ‘The Wire’is all that there is. Everything else is just Virgin Cola.

  8. hello there graham, just wanted to say there was a ted quiz in belfast a few nights ago and the winner received a massive tool as 1st prize. our team came joint 2nd though and as a tie-breaker we had to have a lovely laugh..off. top notch stuff. its just great to see the spirit of ted is still strong.

    btw ive got into ‘the shield’ since there is no more lovely ‘the wire’ action. kinda similar just a lot more action packed, its the best there is to compensate

    good luck with the filming mr. Linehan

  9. Clever:


  10. I hate audience laughter just as much as I hate canned laughter. So does everyone I know.

  11. what the hell is bt vision? Sorry to be of absolutely no help, I struggle with freeview most days.

    Somehow i’ve managed to figure out how to use the intywebs on my phone though. I am almost in london now. I’ve got about 2hours to go. The last 10 have just flown by… Just passed a sign for “road chef”. Are they not called little chef anymore? When did this happen?

    This comment is far too self indulgent. And I can’t even think of anything nice to link you to. Except maybe Christian the Lion on youtube again. Aww…

  12. Greetings Sir Graham of Linehan. Last time I was here you bitched at me to stop posting links. So I shall not.

    Since I last posted here I have become a hardcore addict of “The Wire” and have seen the lot, and bought every season on DVD. Never thought I’d find a show to dethrone “Twin Peaks” as my all time favourite show.

    So… Mr Serafinowicz… Am I missing something, or is he really your brother-in-law? Because if so, that’s very cool. Was just watching series 1 of “Black Books” again this week. “Shall I come Fran?”

    Episode six has possibly my favourite line from any show ever, where Bernard dejectedly tries to use Manny’s toy and cries “Without him it’s just a Yo…”

  13. @Graham: Trying turning it off & on. Seriously. I’ve work in I.T. support (3rd line) for over 20yrs now, and it’s embarrassing how often that clears problems. In fact, since I.T. Crowd, most end users usually now tell us that they’ve already tried that, it didn’t work, and they want it fixed – little do they know that we can remotely check to see that they *really* did do a reboot!

    Failing that, I have nothing to offer that Rachel hasn’t already posted.

    If you believe your STB is playing up, and no longer doing what it used to do, then contact BT. They’ll happily send you another box. Gone are the days of engineer visits. It’s more ‘cost effective’ to just replace the box.

    Personally, I use a 160GB Humax 9200TB PVR. It’s possibly my favourite gadget, and the one I used the most – what with me watching telly via it.

  14. I bitched, Drood? I hope not.

    Wow, Mandy, you and your friends sound like a right old laugh!

    ‘The Shield’ is to ‘the Wire’ what draughts is to chess.


  15. Graham,

    There’s a button on the remote that says “function” (I think, I’m in work right now), which makes the blue light flash in different ways. Trying pressing that, then channel up/down. I had problems with my BT remote, the manual is shit, but that magic button works wonders sometimes.

  16. Nathan, you’re a star.

  17. Hi Graham,

    Nathan is mostly right except the button in the bottom left is called the ‘Mode’ button. You can program the remote to control your TV as well as the BT Box. So you’ve probably got it in ‘TV mode’.

  18. Sbrugby, this may seem a weird suggestion but one of the most rewarding shows ever is the new Battlestar Galactica. Yes, it’s Sci Fi, but it’s played with the authenticity of Das Boot. Nothing, nothing, nothing like Star Trek or Wars.
    To follow it, you’ll need to start with the pilot mini-series. Otherwise, in the words of Charlie Brooker, “it will make as much sense as a wool piano.”

  19. Hi Graham

    Not related to anything posted above (or indeed much else)… is there any chance you could post your old ‘neon’ magazine columns somewhere on the web? they were trouser wettingly funny, i recall. i recycled all the mags and all i have left now is a small poster of a couple of priests dessed up as Star Wars characters…


  20. Dammit Graham, you beat me to the “The Shield is to the Wire as X is to Y” line! I guess I’ll have to resort to: I’ve seen the Wire. And The Shield, sir, is no The Wire.

    Flann’s got a good one though. Battlestar Galactica has a LOT going for it.

  21. Re: ‘Canned laughter’, my least favourite urban myth

    Seriously, good on ya for being so dedicated to the use of studio audiences, Graham. I’ve listened to you speak about them so positively on your DVD commentaries especially. Which I adore, by the way – your solo commentaries – and always meant to email you with appreciation, but, er… you know. No email address and that.

    I’m one of these young wanna-be comedy scriptwriters. And imagining the parallel universe in which my scripts might actually be accepted, I’ve started to think, when writing scenes, “actually, no, that’s too much location stuff for a studio audience”. So damn you and your influence! Thank you and your influence. And I reckon the use of studio audiences (i.e. laughter, damnit) in modern British comedy might’ve died out if it weren’t for your shows.

    Hey, and y’know the Jam sketch that was shown to a studio audience (the parents imperturbably discussing the recent grim fate of their little son) on the DVD? May I ask, was that your idea?

  22. “Here’s the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

    And none of it matters, so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket. And if she’s a good enough likeness of a loudmouthed Middle American archetype, as Sarah Palin is, John Q. Public will drop his giant-size bag of Doritos in gratitude, wipe the Sizzlin’ Picante dust from his lips and rush to the booth to vote for her. Not because it makes sense, or because it has a chance of improving his life or anyone else’s, but simply because it appeals to the low-humming narcissism that substitutes for his personality, because the image on TV reminds him of the mean, brainless slob he sees in the mirror every morning.”


  23. sbrugby: If you can find them (you’d probably have to order them from US amazon…or torrent them, depending on your feelings about these things) then there are two more David Simon things that’ll help ease the withdrawal pangs. ‘The Corner’ (a short precursor to The Wire) and ‘Generation Kill’, his recent dramatisation of Evan Wright’s book documenting his time spent embedded with the US Marines in Iraq. Both series only run to about 8 eps each, I think, and neither are quite as good as The Wire but they’re both better (for the same reasons The Wire was great)than 90% of all other tv drama. Including Studio 60, by the way – do not waste any time on that. It blows.

  24. I just wanted to say how great that sketch on the Fast Show is, where Mark Willams’ doctor keeps winding up John Thompson. I have no idea who wrote it (if it was an L&M job, may I say that it is an absolute work of art). Anyhow, I just remembered it, and how superb it is, apropos of nothing. Googlable via ‘fast show doctor dying’. Yep.

  25. sbrugby, These may have been mentioned already but here are some suggestions:
    Carnivale – only two series of it but have enjoyed what i’ve watched so far.
    Studio 60 is ok, it gets better further in but then there’s only one series.
    What i’ve seen of Deadwood i’ve liked.
    And if you’re a downloader then True Blood has just started on HBO and is very cool.

  26. Wire fans – there is nothing greater, sadly, for all us hoppers and corner boys out there. Tragically it looks like there’ll never be the Father Ted/The Wire crossover episode of our dreams.

    But you could get the classic ’80s miniseries Edge of Darkness on DVD. Increasingly barmy, inspired, brooding nuclear paranoia thriller.

    Or just start again with The Wire, but this time set the language to French, or turn the colour on your set down to B & W, or watch it upside down.

    The game stay the game.

  27. great article tip Matt, thanks for posting.

  28. let’s face it, that BT. WALOFS post was just a cheap ploy to get IT-support ideas for that show you’re always going on about. right? what do i win?

  29. The Wire is gone, we have to let it go. If Treme gets a series, I wonder if Simon will hire crime writers local to New Orleans- James Lee Burke perhaps?
    Meanwhile, forget The Wire and ponder this question- is Dutch Gunderson still up in Statesville Prison?

  30. Finishing The Wire makes me want to re-watch Lou Grant (which I reckon was ‘The Wire’ of its time) – but sadly it doesn’t seem to be on dvd and online versions can only be watched in the states. boo hiss.

  31. It has been pointed out that for Leo Benedictus to find the ‘canned laughter’ page by Googling his own name, you’d need the article to include his full name…

    One suspects that the name became lost in the red mist caused by the stupidity of his ‘canned laughter’ comment!

  32. OIT!

    I love The Shield!

    Although, to be fair, I’ve never seen The Wire, although it does sound very interesting.

    But hey, at the least The Shield is better than… Holby Blue… or something.


  33. […] BT. WALOFS An early one because I’m busy tomorrow and I need to ask y’all a question. How do I change channels on BT […] […]

  34. IT Crowd taping tonight was utterly fascinating. Makes me even more determined to move here next year. Employ me? Preferably as a runner, but I’ll happily take over from the warmup guy. Maybe it’s the film student in me, but I found his absolutely pointless comments more than irritating when I could be listening to you talking to the cast or crew. Sycophantic ahoy! Seriously though, he was just… not… good. Overexcited about the new series now, well worth the ryanairness of it all.

  35. Graham,
    Do you sometimes feel like a Politics Teacher?
    I think what I’m trying to say is, “Do you smoke a pipe and do your cardigans have leather elbow patches?”

  36. Well, maybe you didn’t like the warm-up, Graceful, but it’s a hell of a tough job…you try to keep a room full of people who’ve come to see something else happy while a crew does the necessary.

    And if people heard me talking to the actors, they’d know what we were going to do and we wouldn’t get or laughs (our precious, precious laughs).

    Thanks for the reminder on Leo’s name, Andrew. How did I miss that?

  37. That recording made me far happier than it probably should have. Actually, no, it made me happy as I expected it would. I’m now at Victoria Coach Station to go back to Scottishlands, but despite the lack of sleep and sore feet I’m still buzzing. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. The first two thank yous are for allowing people the opportunity to watch the magic happen, the third is for you just being brilliant overall and the fourth one was for that fantastic get-up you had Matt in. Those trousers… Oh my! Even more excited for the rest of the series now…
    Take care. X

  38. Hey Graham,

    There’s a free Irish comics day happening next Saturday 18th. Most comic shops in Ireland will be taking part and giving out loads of great Irish comics for free in an effort to get people into the Irish scene. Full details on the website: http://www.irish24hourcomics.com./

  39. I’m so stoked that your brother-in-law is using my site for his new project!


  40. Graham, I completely understand that a warmup is necessary so as not to ruin the laughs; a girl can dream. hereallywasproperbadthough

    Re: the props, I did a gasp at one of them, the thing tacked on the cupboard in the kitchen, as well as in the office, and then on the back of part of one of the sets as well. Odd that it’s around so much, I seem to remember you not being too fond of the humour of that specific… thing. Trying to be as unspoilerish as possible!

    Good luck with the other filmings, proper don’t need it though, it is goooooooooood shit. [/eloquency]

  41. Oh, it’s not a spoiler–I relented and put some XKCD stuff in. I like his map of the internet…I just hate the cutesy stuff. Maybe it was only one strip. Boy, I’m so judgey. I hate myself sometimes.

  42. You need to be judgey though, or else you’d just be a cloud of indifference. That sounded far less pretentious in my head.
    On a sort of related note, at the recording, it was so bloody surreal seeing the office (lower case ‘o’, the Times!) right in front of us. When I watch it on tv, I really just wanna have a nosey around and look at everything that’s just scattered there. I think of it as quite an achievement that I didn’t actually jump the rest of the audience and ruin the entire set by just having a look at everything! I also liked the fact that you have to walk round the back of it to get to the seats. I felt like Eddie Izzard hoping to be spotted by a director, “Hey, a creeping kid! For my new film… The Creeping Kid…”
    Christ, I probably need to get out more…

  43. I downloaded “The Secret Policeman’s Ball, 2008” specifically for the Roy and Moss bits.

    And they did not disappoint.

    Those few, brief moments of those two has made the long wait for Series 3 a trifle easier.

  44. This is so sweet, the toddler getting her dance on to The Buzzcocks. As a bonus her Mum looks totally hot….


  45. Although not related, but have to comment Harry and Paul has been a bag of laughs since it was on…Very on edge with some of the sketches (May I mention the Northener and slap me if i say it Philipino maid who are made to try and “mate” together)Although that was brought to the attention of the Philipino goverment who called it an outrage….I didn’t hear one northerner complain….including myself :)

    Also Graham….is there an air date for the new series of “The Amazing Adventures of Roy, Maurice and Jen!”?

    Speak later people :)

  46. The banner thing at the top of this page surprises me, hearing of you wanting to get away from the twinkly oied Irish thing. You’re seconds from sitting under one of those trees. I know you’re only mucking about with it though. I wish some comedians nowadays would just try to be FUNNY rather than smash you over the head with their national identities and religious bother. Why would anyone want to be an Iranian comic, or an Irish comic, when they could just be a comedy comic comedian?
    And did you know Peter Kay is from the north of England?! Got a nan and everything.

  47. I only found out after someone faxed me a photocopy of his birth certificate. He was delivered by someone called Barnaby Grum. Small world.

  48. I don’t know if you’ve seen this but it’s well worth reading. Christopher Hitchens outlines my views on the election to the very letter.


  49. Graham, if you’re jonesing a bit of Wire action… a good substitute is The Corner.


    Or even Homicide : Life On The Streets


  50. Oh, and while I’m here. This gave me a laugh…

  51. I just saw the IT Crowd on IFC here in the US. I think it is the first time it has been on here. I have a question, I have watched all of the episodes on my computer and the picture quality was excellent. On IFC the picture quality was pretty bad. Is there a difference in formats between US television and UK television that causes it to lose quality in the conversion?

  52. Well you didn’t really bitch. I probably just took it that way as I was under a lot of stress and stuff at the time.

    “‘The Shield’ is to ‘the Wire’ what draughts is to chess.”

    We ever meet, I am buying you multiple beverages of your choice. Hell, any Wire fans can have a drink on me (up to my running out of money, which wouldn’t take long).

    The Wire has ruined other TV for me. While I’m still a fan of “Lost” etc… And enjoy them, it doesn’t involve me or hook me as much. Nor do I find myself thinking of the shows when I’m not watching them, whereas I quite often find myself thinking of various aspects or characters or scenes from The Wire. Just got done season 1 for the second time. I think season 2 was the weakest. (And by weak I mean “slightly lower in awesomeness”) Though I think I might have to start it tonight. It’s like a drug. If I go for some time without it, I get withdrawal.

    Troy: Europe uses PAL as it’s format. The US uses NTSC. NTSC is an older/inferior standard. Just Google “pal vs ntsc” for an explanation. When I moved to Canada from the UK it took a while to get used to the inferior TV picture. (But then I’m a geek about such things.)

  53. Hi Drood – could I have a Kronenbourg please?



  54. http://widelec.org/zdjecie,microkosmos-czesc-4,2459.html
    Here are some more lovely close-up images of insects.

    Ayoade and O’Dowd were the best thing at the Secret Policeman’s Ball.

  55. Hello Graham. Last week I sent a script I wrote and some of my stuff to Happy Endings productions. Seamus Cassidy responded and I’m due to meet him soon to see how we can take things forward. I know you must have been in the same boat with him years ago…any advise??

  56. (I should point out, Seamus Cassidy was the man who commissioned ‘Father Ted’ for Channel 4.)

    Just remember that the idea is in its first stages, and whatever you’ve written might still benefit from rewriting. If you’re flexible about this from the start, you’ll be able to assess each of Seamus’s notes on their individual merits.

    Seamus always gave us free rein when we were doing ‘Father Ted’, and we responded to that by always trying to make the script better, better and better, better and better and better and better. If you transmit some of the same creative energy when you meet him, Seamus will pick up on it, as all the good ones do, and you will come away feeling refreshed and excited because your brilliant thing has become something even more brilliant.

    If he disagrees with you on some fundamental principle, examine that fundamental principle and see if you really do believe in it. If you do, stick to your guns. If you don’t, use your newfound information to make the script better. (You do not have to decide how you feel at the meeting!)

    Finally, shake hands, be friendly and don’t fart.

  57. Hi Graham

    Just found this guy’s artwork and thought you might like it.


  58. Thanks for all the dvd suggestions. Going to have a go at Battlestar Galactica v.2.0. Also bought David Simon’s book Homicide as a plan B in staving off Wire withdrawal symptoms.

    And, in other news:

    These Palin rallies look like great craic.

  59. Cheers Sir Linehan. I shall take that advise on board my ship of other useful advises.

    How’s the IT Crowd coming along??

  60. http://theendoftheblog.blogspot.com/

    shouldnt really link to my own blog but the picture is pretty funny..

  61. I have a couple of questions Graham if you don’t mind.

    1) How come you were only involved in series 1 of Black Books.


    2) Are you ever invited onto panel shows like QI, The News Quiz etc… And if not, why not, because you’re certainly funnier than some of the regulars I could name. (But won’t. Suffice to say the person I’m thinking of annoys me greatly because he laughs at his jokes and gets this smug look on his face when doing so.)

  62. 1. Some other time, maybe.
    2. Because they’re mainly dick-measuring contests. (Exception: Qi). Also, too many of them are cruel or rely on easy crowd-pleasing cynicism (exception: Qi).
    I was involved in one once, actually. I did a pilot for a radio panel game as host. I didn’t like one joke and asked the higher-ups if we could we think of a better one. “Just do it, Graham” said the higher-up. I did the joke, but only after silently deciding at that moment not to do the series.
    So that was my panel game show career.

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