November 12, 2008


Clive Pringle

In each episode, Clive walks slowly through the city back home, which is located in a tower block of high-rise flats. He arrives home (sometimes months or even years) late and when questioned by his wife as to his whereabouts, his excuses swiftly collapse into the plots of well-known fiction. Examples include The Lord of the Rings, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dune, 24, a specified episode of The A-Team, the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty and the song "Hotel California" by the Eagles. When his long-suffering wife coolly points out his obvious plagiarism, Clive is forced to reveal his actual whereabouts. This usually involves something sexually degrading, such as bestiality or S&M, and, on one memorable occasion, "trying to fill a bath with my own cum".

Prior to being humiliated, his desperate catch-phrase is: "... and that, darling, is what really happened!" As the series progresses, his wife eventually reaches the point where she cuts him short in one episode (she is due to meet her friend Janice in five minutes), and in another she cuts him off as he is about to reveal a spoiler for the next episode of 24, which she hasn't seen yet. As soon as Clive arrives, she barks out: "Excuse?" Clive: "I got lost on the common!" "Theme?" "Scott's Polar Expedition 1910-1912!" "Reality?" "I was getting tag-fucked in a pub toilet." In the final Liar Clive skit, she has actually left him at last, and it is revealed that he is delivering his pathetic excuses to only himself in a mirror, meaning he can finally smile ironically and conclude; "I knew you would believe me!"

Liar Clive's skits are always prefaced by him walking home at night to the sound of "Lovely Head" by Goldfrapp.

Ivan Dobsky

Ivan Dobsky is a supposed notorious criminal, known as "the Meat-Safe Murderer", held in custody in the high-security H.M. Prison Crowmarsh. Despite his repeated protests that he "never done it" and that his confession had been coerced by various methods of police torture and brutality, he was convicted for killing a typist at a meat-safe in 1974 by strangling her with a pair of ladies' pants. Dobsky bears more than a passing resemblance to the true case of wrongly-convicted Stefan Kiszko.

Dobsky has the mental age of a four year old child, speaks in a soft, flowing North East English accent, and generally gives the impression of being a completely harmless simpleton. However, the prison warders describe him as the most dangerous man in Western Europe, and keep him in strict confinement, restrained by methods very similar to those used for Hannibal Lecter in Jonathan Demme's film version of The Silence of the Lambs.

Early episodes depict him being pardoned and released when DNA evidence exonerating him comes to light. During his time in custody he has been oblivious to changes taking place in the world outside the prison walls, and thus when he attempts to rejoin society he appears as a throw-back to the 1970s. He joyfully rides out of jail on his space hopper (called "Mr Hoppy") only to find things have changed too much for him to understand. After deciding he'd rather remain in prison than to face the modern world, he ends up actually committing a murder in order to be reincarcerated.

Mr. Hoppy seems to have a mind and will of his own, carries on conversations with Dobsky, and often encourages him into violent action. The two characters are implied to represent different manifestations of a multiple personality disorder, in which Dobsky is an unwitting innocent and Mr. Hoppy a sociopathic monster. For the most part Dobsky is able successfully to remain in control, until the conclusion of the first series ends with his mind snapping and him dismembering the prison staff to construct a horrific space hopper made from bits of their bodies (on which he rides to freedom to the music of "Sunrise" by Pulp).

In the second series Ivan marries a prison visitor who then becomes the object of Mr. Hoppy's jealousy and is brutally murdered by him.

Many celebrities campaign to free Ivan from prison, including Brad Pitt (hired to play Ivan in a Hollywood movie), Billy Bragg, Manic Street Preachers, Bono and Nelson Mandela.

In the first episode of series three, Mr Drummond, the prison superintendent and Dobsky's chief caretaker, becomes enraged at factual inaccuracies pertaining to himself in the film version of Dobsky's life and joins Ivan and Mr Hoppy in a murderous rampage.

Divorced dad (with Timmy)

Timmy usually lives with his mother and Roger, his mother's new boyfriend. Each week Timmy comes to visit his father but always just talks about what Roger has done for him. The dad doesn't feel that he can impress him and ends up committing suicide each episode, but as he goes off to kill himself, in truth Timmy is deeply fond of his Dad but this is revealed too late. Roger remains an unseen character until episode 4, when Timmy shows his father a photo of him - revealing that he looks like an older version of Timmy himself, complete with ginger hair. Realising the truth, Timmy's father decides not to kill himself but to be a good father to Timmy anyway. In the last episode featuring these characters (during series two), the divorced dad is enthusiastic about a forthcoming visit from Timmy because they have not seen each other since Timmy and his mother moved to a rough area several years previously, but on discovering that a now teenage Timmy has begun to dress, talk and act like a yob in order to fit in with the local kids, the father commits suicide for the final time out of sheer desperation. (This turns out to be Timmy just showing off, and in fact he longs to be how he used to be with his father -- alas, too late, as always.)

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