The definitive history of a golden age in British show-business, Sunshine On Putty is based on hundreds of interviews with the leading comedians of the era, as well as managers, agents, producers, directors, executives and TV personalities.
In the 1990s, British comedy underwent a renaissance – shows like The Fast Show, The Day Today, Shooting Stars, The League of Gentlemen, The Royle Family and The Office were hugely popular with critics and audiences alike. Just as politics, sport, art, literature and religion seemed to move towards light entertainment, the comedy on the nation's televisions not only offered a home to ideas and ideals of community which could no longer find one elsewhere, but also gave us a clearer picture of what was happening to our nation than any other form of artistic endeavour.
From Ricky Gervais' self-destructive love affair with dairy products to Steve Coogan's suicidal overtaking technique; from the secrets of Vic Reeves' woodshed, to the stains on Caroline Aherne's sofa; from Victor Meldrew's prophetic dream to Spike Milligan's final resting place, Ben Thompson reveals the twisted beauty of British comedy’s psyche.
'Brilliantly insightful, warmly appreciative, and chock full of observations of the most alarmingly accurate kind … Thanks to the perceptive Mr Thompson, I know now what I’ve been doing wrong all these years.' Jonathan Ross
'If you are passionate about comedy you'll want to read this book.' Time Out
'An awesome compendium'. Arena
'Can't fail to become definitive.' Observer
'A brilliant book'. Jimmy Carr, Radio 4's Loose Ends
'Erudite and funny … Thompson demonstrates both an encyclopaedic knowledge of his subject matter and an astonishingly broad frame of reference.' Guardian
About the author
Ben Thompson's comedy career began in the winter of 1986-7, reading a photocopied Ronnie Corbett monologue to an audience of angry students. He never performed again, but later took the opportunity to parade his ignorance of the basic principles of stagecraft in front of a national audience as comedy critic of The Independent On Sunday from 1994-97. He has also written profiles of Britain's best known comedians for The Face, GQ, The Independent, Night & Day and The Saturday Telegraph.