Stewart Lee's history of stand-up on TV

Thinking inside the box with the maverick comedian

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Iconoclast comedian Stewart Lee knows TV's delicate relationship with live comedy better than anyone. Ahead of his Comedy Central series showcasing leftfield comics he outlines the history of stand-up on television…

Picture credit: Steve Ullathorne.

'O.T.T' (1982, Central)

An over-excited Chris Tarrant reveals his inner rugby club social sec, hosting this Janus-faced late-night aberration featuring anti-Thatcher pop bands and communist Alexei Sayle alongside race-hate poster boy Bernard Manning and gratuitous 1970s female nudity. During which the young and unique black British comic Lenny Henry and the Oxford fine art graduate Helen Atkinson-Wood wilted like whipped dogs.

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