Belfast Telegraph

Enfield 'feared rise of Gervais'

Harry Enfield has revealed how he feared Ricky Gervais had killed off his TV career.

The comic, whose characters have included Kevin the Teenager, Loadsamoney and Tim Nice-But-Dim, said Gervais and Stephen Merchant's documentary spoof The Office made him feel "past it", and sounded the death knell for sketch shows.

But Harry said he was given fresh hope with the rise of David Walliams and Matt Lucas' Little Britain in 2003 which encouraged him to continue.

The 49-year-old, back on TV this week with comedy partner Paul Whitehouse for BBC2's Harry and Paul, said: "I love Little Britain, I wouldn't have started doing all this again if it wasn't for Little Britain.

"I thought we were past it, because everything was so cool. With Ricky coming up with his amazing, just so well-observed, comedy. I think what we did was well-observed too - but he got the ultimate thing to observe, an office, that I just thought it was much cleverer.

"It didn't have any jokes, it was just painfully truthful and embarrassing and really really funny so I thought 'that's it, I'm over'."

Harry added: "Then Little Britain came along and that was fantastically uncool and everyone loved it so I thought 'oh good', so we got back into it."

The comedian found fame in the 1980s doing stints on Channel 4's Saturday Live and then wrote and starred in Harry Enfield's Television Show, which went on to be called Harry Enfield and Chums.

In 2000 Enfield left the BBC - his home for many years - to make a sketch show with Sky, Harry Enfield's Brand Spanking New Show, without Whitehouse or his other leading collaborator Kathy Burke. It was not well-received by critics and got poor viewing figures.

He relaunched on the BBC in 2007 with Harry And Paul, which begins its third series on Tuesday.

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