from the ashes of The Mary Whitehouse
Experience, Robert Newman and David Baddiel wrote and starred
in this series of 6 episodes and 2 specials that aired in the second
half of 1993 on BBC2. The show was a blend of stand-up and sketches
with recurring characters such as Jarvis, The Poltergeist and Albert
the elderly stuntman. It also featured a number of serialised sketches
such as People of Restricted Seriousness,
Safety First, and the feuding professors of History
Today transferred from MWE and continued throughout the series.
The opening title animation featured Edvard Munch's The Scream
(right) with the two shadowy figures in the left of the painting being
revealed to be Newman and Baddiel.
The series was retitled Newman and Baddiel Rest in Pieces when
the shows were repeated and sold overseas. The opening credit animation
for the repackaged series was set in a graveyard. Below a headstone
saying 'Newman and Baddiel' a coffin lid closes over caricatures of
Rob & Dave and on the lid it says 'Rest in Pieces'.
stand-up portions of the show were usually done solo in their allotted
quarters and often interspersed with filmed pieces to punctuate the
jokes. Baddiel's set was largely the bedroom in his flat featuring
a large bed, satin sheets and a huge photograph of himself hanging
above the bed. Newman's set was in a sparsely furnished dilapidated
building, also containing a large bed as well as an easel where he
would often paint (in a children's paint between the lines book) to
The pair had bumped into each other several times whilst they read
English at Cambridge in the mid-80's. It wasn't until they met
again writing for Radio 4's Week Ending, bonding over a cricket
sketch, that they started to work together. In 1988 they signed a
management deal with Avalon and wrote for Patrick Marber's Hey
Rrradio and Spitting Image whilst also pursuing stand-up.
In 1989 they started work on The Mary Whitehouse Experience
on Radio 1 which lasted for 4 series before transferring to television
for 2 seasons on BBC2. They toured together after the success of MWE
and released 2 live videos, Live at The Shaftesbury Theatre
(1991) and History Today (1992) which featured the three
History Today sketches from MWE as well as a live episode recorded
at the Edinburgh Playhouse.
Their partnership lasted 8 years and culminated with them being the
first comedy act to play Wembley Stadium in December, 1993. This too
spawned a video, the rather disappointing Newman and Baddiel Live
and In Pieces. The split was reportedly acrimonious, the pair
had openly admitted their difficulties in working together. Both continued
their stand-up and writing novels.
Newman released his first novel, Dependence Day, in 1994 for
which he won the Betty Trask Award for romantic fiction. There was
also a live stand-up video of the same name recorded during Newman's
sell-out national tour. In 1998 he released a second book, Manners,
which too met with good reviews and this year he released another
video, Resistance Is Fertile. (For more information see
Baddiel has had success with his former flatmate, Frank Skinner, in
Fantasy Football League. He also released a live video in 1998,
The Too Much Information Tour and the novels Time For Bed
and Whatever Love Means. In 2001 he began two new ventures,
the sitcom Baddiel's Syndrome and fatherhood with the birth
of his daughter (with co-star and partner Morwenna Banks).
Eight years on from the duo's split the ill will seems to have dissolved
into mutual respect, with both now successful in their own right.