Crackanory 1

A new comedy show on Dave (yes, an actual new programme, rather than an oxymoronic “new repeat”), this is a delightfully dark series of short comic stories narrated by various talents, accompanied by acted scenes and cartoons.

A parody of the classic children’s show Jackanory, which featured people reading children’s stories, Crackanory features comedians and actors reading black comic tales. Each of the twelve stories is narrated by a different person, and the stories are written by a team of six writers which include The League of Gentlemen’s Jeremy Dyson and Hebburn’s Jason Cook.

In the opening episode, the appropriately gloomy Jack Dee starts proceedings with Nico Tatarowicz’s “Bitter Tweet”, in which an average guy with a small Twitter following who sends an ironic comic tweet to a Justin Bieber-like pop star, which results in him becoming the most hated man in the world and being violently attacked by loyal fans.

Later Smack the Pony and Miranda star Sally Phillips reads Toby Davies’s “What Peebee Did Next”, a charming yarn about the most kind and generous toy maker in the whole world. Sadly, said toy maker Peebee passes away, but he comes up with an interesting way to make sure his family and loyal manservant will never forget him.

This series makes use of many different elements. First you have the comic narration from the stars of the programme. Then you have the acting which is very well done by a group of actors collectively known as the “Crackanory Players”. On top of this you also have the animation which also tells the story in a more child-like element, albeit with an adult twist too. The stories also seem to vary wildly. The story told by Dee has a satirical bent to it, while Phillips’s tale is the more macabre dealing as it does with death. So you have a wide variety of comic themes to entertain you.

It is hard to review the whole series given that all twelve stories will vary from each other, in terms of themes, ideas and hosts. The other readers in the series are Harry Enfield, Richard Hammond, Jessica Hynes, Stephen Mangan, Rebecca Front, Hugh Dennis, Sharon Horgan, Charlie Higson and Kevin Eldon. However, the content so far seems to show that Crackanory certainly has the talent to be a cult hit.


Crackanory starts on Dave at 9pm on 13 November