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The Peter Serafinowicz Show

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Title: The Peter Serafinowicz Show  
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Subject: Bedford, Terry Wogan, Peter Serafinowicz, Paul Putner, Butterfield, Robert Popper, David Armand, Matt Berry, Benedict Wong, List of breakout characters
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The Peter Serafinowicz Show

The Peter Serafinowicz Show
Series logo
Format Comedy sketch show
Created by Peter Serafinowicz
James Serafinowicz
Starring Peter Serafinowicz
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 7 (to 23 December 2008)
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 4 October 2007 – 23 December 2008
External links

The Peter Serafinowicz Show was a BBC Two comedy sketch show written by and starring Peter Serafinowicz. The first series started on 4 October 2007 at 21:30 as part of the newly launched "Thursdays Are Funny" brand on BBC2 and Thursdays on ABC2. On 1 August 2008, American cable network G4 began broadcasting the show as part of their "Duty Free TV" block of international programming.

On 13 December 2008, a 45 minute compilation episode, The Peter Serafinowicz Show: Best Of aired on BBC Two. Serafinowicz impersonated Terry Wogan to host the episode. Although the series was culled from was aired without a laughter track, the audience reactions, which had been recorded at the time on all six shows but not used, were utilised on the clips in this special, presumably to establish continuity with the subsequent Christmas special, itself being broadcast with a complete laughter track. Serafinowicz and his brother James, believed the show would have been successful with the laugh track but ultimately decided not to use it to avoid ruining the jokes though some sketches used them to mock television programs.

One series has been made so far; the BBC has since decided not to produce a second series.[1] A Christmas Special was aired on 23 December 2008. Sketches from the special have been released online and include Mactini and iToilet.


The show was commissioned after Serafinowicz posted O! News, a parody of E! News, on YouTube, under the name "Immenstrides".[2] Robert Popper, who co-wrote, and co-starred in, both seasons of Look Around You with Serafinowicz, co-wrote four episodes of The Peter Serafinowicz Show and was a programme consultant for the entire series.


The show is a mixture of sketches based on parodies of British television, using Serafinowicz's and other actors' impressions of notable television personalities. Examples include Heads or Tails, which is a parody of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, using the same mannerisms as Chris Tarrant (Five have now created a real show based on the same principles).

In addition to Serafinowicz, recurring castmembers include Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Catherine Shepherd, Paul Putner, Alex Lowe, Bronagh Gallagher and Benedict Wong. Robert Popper, Sanjeev Kohli and Matt Berry also made onscreen appearances.


Episode Airdate Ratings Audience share
1 4 October 2007 1.5 million 7% [1]
2 11 October 2007 1 million 5% [2]
3 18 October 2007 800,000 4% [3]
4 25 October 2007 900,000 5% [4]
5 1 November 2007 900,000 4% [5]
6 8 November 2007 800,000 Unknown[3]


The show was cancelled after its first series by the BBC.[1] Serafinowicz posted a mock BBC News interview on YouTube stating he was leaving of his own accord due to being "unhappy with the BBC's decision to not recommission the series."

The series was released on DVD on 1 February 2010.

Recurring characters and sketches

  • O! News: A parody of E! News, featuring apparent programme teasers and celebrity interviews.
  • Acting Masterclass: A famous actor gives acting tips to a group of trainees. Actors featured have been Michael Caine, Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Robert De Niro, Ralph Fiennes (with the mannerisms and speech of a Rising Damp era Leonard Rossiter) and Marlon Brando (with the body of Jabba the Hutt). Serafinowicz plays the featured actor; Catherine Shepherd, Alex Lowe, Benedict Wong, Belinda Stewart-Wilson and Sanjeev Kohli play the students.
  • Brian Butterfield: An overweight middle-aged salesman who appears in various commercials for shoddy products and services of his own design, including a karaoke bar, a diet plan, a hotel, a firm of injury solicitors, a private detective service, and a speaking clock service, which usually gives out inaccurate times. He has a habit of mispronouncing words and using descriptive language instead of simple phrases when talking. This character is somewhat similar to the actor Basil Soper, who appears in real advertisements on British television for the Personal Injury Helpline. The character appeared as a panellist on the comedy panel show Shooting Stars on 29 August 2011. On 7 January 2013, he featured in his own sketch in the CBBC comedy programme Fit. Serafinowicz has revealed that a feature film is currently in development based around Brian Butterfield's detective agency.[4]
  • A Guide to Modern Life: A spoof on British self-help TV programmes of the 1970s. Advice is given on dealing with major life changes ('Let's... Get Married', 'Let's... Have a Baby', 'Let's... Get Fit', 'Let's... Have a Good Night's Sleep'), as well as more unusual acts ('Let's... Have an Orgy' and 'Let's... Pretend to Have Witnessed a Murder'). The husband-and-wife who feature in the segments are played by Serafinowicz and Belinda Stewart-Wilson respectively.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A parody of Sherlock Holmes (Serafinowicz) and Dr. Watson (Alex Lowe) involving slash fiction. Watson congratulates Holmes on solving a case, which ends in Holmes forcibly kissing and undressing Watson. The two are later shown in bed (Watson's reaction suggests he's been raped), where Holmes states that his emotions run high after he's solved a case.
  • Buy It Channel: A parody of shopping channels in which unusual problems arise, such as one of the presenters being a vampire, or both presenters trying to rid the studio of an ant infestation. The two presenters are played by Serafinowicz and Catherine Shepherd.
  • Michael-6: A robotic talk show host who attempts to help his troubled guests. Although equipped with technologically advanced systems, such as "gender scanning" and "lie detection", he has a tendency to malfunction at the end of every sketch, causing harm to studio members. His malfunctioning usually includes the secretion of white fluid, similar to that of the robotic life-forms in Westworld or the Alien series. The studio technician who always ends up getting choked by Michael-6 is played by Peter Serafonowicz's brother James Serafinowicz (also a writer/producer on the series).
  • BBN News: A newsreader attempts to improvise reading the news, only to be buzzed every time he says something incorrect. Thus the sketch becomes a battle to read the entire story correctly. It is based on ITV News, having a similar set and the same opening theme. The title of the sketch is also a combination of the abbreviations "BBC News" and "ITN".
  • Ringo Remembers: A documentary in which Ringo Starr reflects on particular (fictional) points in his career. During the course of the segments, Serafinowicz plays not only Ringo, but the other three Beatles as well. Benedict Wong also appears as Yoko Ono.
  • Sinister: A company that makes odd items. Examples include Internet Ham (a type of ham ordered online) and furniture advertised in the manner of the Marks & Spencer advertisements for food. The slogan of Sinister, "A family company", is the same as that of real company S. C. Johnson & Son.
  • Parodies of infomercials. One example, hosted by Lola Llarlagh (Belinda Stewart-Wilson) and Nancy Cholesterholes (Serafinowicz) is for "Gem Mania", a product that allows people to attach gemstones to anything, with a progressively better special offers which ends with the company offering an infinite number of the product.
  • A multi-part pop culture parody which runs through the entire episode. In one example, Star Wars character Darth Vader (Serafinowicz) falls for Commander Ada Larkin (Catherine Shepherd), a female co-worker wearing a pink version of his armour. The sketches cover his ill-fated attempts to court her; Paul Putner plays Ada's current boyfriend.
  • Various parodies of sex line advertisements featuring different types of call workers, such as pirates, cavemen, zombies, drunks and Basil Fawlty impersonators.
  • Parodies of adverts for partwork magazines, which give away collectable items with each issue, or parts of items that require assembly once all parts have been collected. Examples of the magazines advertised include elephants, trains, and a magazine about rings, wings, Bings, mings, stings, kings and tings.
  • Detective drama shows have been parodied, including Columbo and a multi-part parody placing Hercule Poirot (Serafinowicz) and Miss Marple (Bronagh Gallagher) together, in which they distract their assistants (Paul Putner, Alex Lowe) so they can "have it off" with each other. In the final part, when Poirot learns that he has made Marple pregnant, he runs out of a window.
  • A parody of Laurel and Hardy called "Soap and Water", where Stan Laurel (Serafinowicz) repeatedly says the word "fuck", resulting in him and Oliver Hardy (Paul Putner) being arrested.
  • Parodies of game shows such as The Weakest Link and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
  • Parodies of reality shows such as The X Factor and Big Brother.
  • A parody of the Cillit Bang commercials for a product called Kitchen Gun, which is a firearm that the host 'Derek Bum' uses to blast away at kitchen surfaces and appliances, and Toilet Grenade, a hand grenade covered in white paint that demolishes the toilet bowl to eliminate limescale.


For his performances in this series, Serafinowicz was awarded the Best Entertainer prize at the 2008 Rose d'Or ceremony.[5]

The series was also nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the 2009 BAFTA Television Awards.[6]


The series 1 DVD was released on 1 February 2010.


External links

  • BBC Online
  • Internet Movie Database
  • British Comedy Guide
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