A reunion? Absolutely!

(Well, probably, as sketch team mark 20th anniversary)

The cast of cult television sketch show Absolutely are reuniting to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

The group are in talks to headline a live recording of Radio 4’s Sketchorama in April – their first time on stage together since their Channel 4 series ended in 1993.

Chortle understands that from ‘early discussions’, at least five of Gordon Kennedy, Jack Docherty, Morwenna Banks, Moray Hunter, Peter Baikie and John Sparkes will appear at the recording, in Glasgow’s Oran Mor venue.

Producer Gus Beattie said: ‘I’m keen to evolve Sketchorama as not only a sketch group showcase but a place where sketch fans can hear one-off performances from classic groups such as Absolutely.’

The team did reunite, privately, to record a commentary for the DVD box set, released in 2008, when Docherty hinted at a comeback, saying: ‘Our one big regret is that we didn't do any live shows. We were never all available at the same time. We are talking about the possibility of doing something live, either a tour or maybe something on television. But we'll see.’

However nothing came of that.

Sketchorama’s first series was hosted by Humphrey Ker and featured the likes of Idiots of Ants, The Noise Next Door, Jigsaw, Frisky & Mannish and Pappy's.

The second series will broadcast in May and June next year. It is produced by Glasgow’s The Comedy Unit, which also makes Fags, Mags and Bags and for Radio 4, as well as Limmy’s Show, Gary: Tank Commander and Burnistoun for BBC Scotland TV.

Absolutely ran for 28 episodes and four series between 1989 and 1993, until Kennedy was appointed host of the National Lottery Show and the group agreed to disband. It spawned two short-lived spinoffs, the sitcom Mr Don & Mr George on Channel 4 featuring Hunter and Docherty, and the pilot for a BBC Two series, Mac, featuring Docherty as McGlashen, an unhinged Scottish nationalist.

Docherty, who returned to the screen for the first time in more than a decade in the BBC Scotland pilot Scot Squad recently, has spoken of reviving McGlashen in the run-up to the vote on Scottish independence in 2014.

He told the Scotsman: ‘I think he would probably die of a heart attack as it gets closer and closer. He would be terrified, because deep down he would believe that it’s not going to happen.

‘The comedy of a character like that is that it’s almost best to keep having the dream, and never face up to the reality that it might never happen.

‘I was thinking of doing something with that character. I was thinking of maybe doing a live show or McGlashen’s take on what is happening in Scotland. I haven’t got that far with it, but I’m thinking about it. The time is right.’

- by Jay Richardson

Published: 15 Dec 2012

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