Every episode of influential sketch comedy show The Real McCoy comes to 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 Angie Le Mar, Robbie Gee, Llewella Gideon, Curtis Walker, and Eddie Nestor, as well as Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar and many others, who went on to star in another sketch show Goodness Gracious Me, which was a spinoff of The Real McCoy.
“In a recent interview with Melan, Angie Le Mar confirmed rumours that The Real McCoy would soon be back on our screens..”
In a recent interview with Melan, Angie Le Mar confirmed rumours that The Real McCoy would soon be back on our screens, thanks to the die-hard fans who have been lobbying for episodes of the popular show to be aired once again.
The return of The Real McCoy right now could probably be attributed to the unflinching support of Davina Hamilton and The Voice newspaper, who in 2012 launched a Bring Back The Real McCoy campaign. Acknowledging the imminent return of the show, earlier this month, Davina wrote in The Voice: “Indeed, the demand for the show has been undeniable. And now, it would seem that audiences will finally get what The Voice called for back in 2012 – the return of The Real McCoy.”
We are grateful for all their efforts. A new generation will now get to see the super talents of our comic heroes. Including the likes of the late Felix Dexter, who specialised in lengthy, hilarious monologues on The Real McCoy. 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 Famalam, This Country, Mrs Brown’s Boys and BBC Radio 4’s Newsjack. 2020’s recipient of the bursary is stand-up comedian Athena Kugblenu, which we wrote about earlier this year.
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.
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 90s. It laid the foundations for inclusiveness and representation that we’re continuing to build on today.”