Alfresco was a British television series starring Robbie Coltrane, Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Siobhan Redmond and Emma Thompson, broadcast by ITV (produced by Granada Television) between 1983 and 1984. Running for two series, it totalled 13 episodes.
The programme was a sketch show which was scheduled as an answer to the BBC's highly successful Not the Nine O'Clock News. The main writer was Ben Elton, with Fry and Laurie receiving writing credits by the second series.
After a three-part pilot series called There's Nothing To Worry About! in 1982, which featured Elton, Fry, Laurie, Redmond, Thompson and Paul Shearer, a first series of Alfresco was commissioned, replacing Shearer with Robbie Coltrane. The first of the seven transmitted episodes in 1983 was in fact a compilation show of the pilot series, featuring some additional material.
The sketches of the first series had a very odd and surreal mood to them. In the second series in 1984 the overall style changed slightly. A linking device in form of a 'Pretend Pub' was created, and the sketches themselves were less dark than in the first series. The sketch style from double act Fry & Laurie formed during both series, who would continue the format with their own series A Bit of Fry and Laurie a few years later. (from Wikipedia)
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