With Four Lions, a comedy about a group of terrorists from the North of England set to be released nationwide on May 7th. I thought it would be right to take a look at the previous work of the film’s director, Chris Morris.
For those of you who are unaware of Chris Morris, he is the co –creator, writer, and performer of some of the most important satirical comedy of all time. In this article, I shall highlight some of his finest moments.
‘The Day Today’ – War
In 1994, Chris, along with Armando Iannucci created The Day Today, a television adaptation of their critically acclaimed radio show, On the Hour.
The Day Today was a spoof news programme featuring every aspect that one would expect to find in a serious news broadcast.
Of its many greatest moments, few stand out more than its depiction of how a journalist can and often does manipulate a guest in order to reach a news worthy conclusion. In this case, war.
‘The Time The Place’
Chris’ style can best be described as that of a satirical anarchist, a great example of this can be seen in this clip from 90s daytime talk show The Time The Place where Chris managed to convince host John Stapelton, along with the entire production crew that he was in fact an academic expert on the subject of sex.
Chris Morris really achieved infamy in the late 90s and early 00s thanks to his television creation Brass Eye.
A series of mock expose documentaries in the vein of shows such as panorama, Chris not only spoofed the style of programme, he also managed to convince a large number of household names to sign up for campaigns fighting among other things, drugs and paedophilia.
For the episode ‘Drugs’ Chris enlisted celebrities including Noel Edmonds, Bernard Manning and Rolf Harris to join the ‘charity’ Free the United Kingdom from Drugs (aka F.U.K.D) and to announce to camera, “Cake is a totally made up drug” highlighting the ridiculous and idiotic nature of people who mean well, but do not understand the subject they are taking a stand against.
Such was the genius of Chris campaign to highlight society’s intention to get involved with a campaign if they think it will benefit either themselves or the greater good, Chris managed to convince Conservative MP David Amess to raise his concerns about the dangers of ‘cake’ in the Houses of Parliament.
The video of Brass Eye’s ‘Drugs’ episode can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwylBRucU7w
For all of the controversy that Chris Morris caused with the Brass Eye ‘Drugs’ episode. Few people would have predicted the reaction to his 2001 Brass Eye special Paedophiles, in which his target for satire was not paedophiles or victims of paedophilia, but rather the media and their reaction to the subject.
Chris again convinced a number of high profile figures to join his fictional campaign, with the most memorable contribution coming from DJ Neil ‘Dr’ Fox who announced to camera:
“paedophiles have more genes in common with crabs than they do with you and me. Now that is scientific fact — there’s no real evidence for it — but it is scientific fact”.
The memorable moment can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEolSjlcqng
Chris’ latest venture into the world of satirical comedy sees him move behind the camera for his feature film debut Four Lions, a film in which the ridiculous nature of human beings is examined through the actions of a group of Islamic terrorists from the North of England.
If his previous work is anything to go by, the controversy that Four Lions will create may very well see one of the biggest political furores of the year, which isn’t bad work for an election year.