I haven’t pushed my cultural leanings on you in a while, but like a persistent case of herpes, I return. This time, to bring you a parody of 80s sci-fi/horror shows. In all of its glory, I heartily recommend Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.

It is a commentary-within-a-show format, with contemporary (2004) interviews provided by cast as the (80s) episodes progress. The premise of the original Darkplace is that the team (led by author/star/director/composer Garth Marenghi) work in a hospital that is a sort of hell mouth. But the show’s limited budget means that they get menaced by things like staplers and cutlery as a manifestation of evil. Or, you know, women who are actually alien broccoli.

The excessive adoration of Marenghi’s talents is juxtaposed nicely with his ability to craft prose that relies on “balls to the wall” action to keep the reader’s interest.

There are only six episodes in the series. Scotch Mist—‘dealing with bigotry by being a bigot’—is probably my favourite, but they’re all pretty good. I implore you to watch this 1:40 clip of Marenghi recounting his experience of Glasgow. If you do nothing else today, please just do this:

Most of the actors have since appeared in The IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh. Holness, who plays Marenghi, has been pretty quiet since the series aired. He co-wrote and starred in Man to Man with Dean Learner, a follow-up to Darkplace. Recently, though, Holness writes parody (?) of crime pulp fiction. If you like Raymond Chandler and Kinky Friedman, it’s probably worth a look. A teaser for the film is here.


Now that we have that out of the way, what’s your comfort viewing? Foofy’s is clearly unicorn-related (and it kills me that I will never look as majestic in my Darkplace outfit). Come on, tell me your secrets…