Cult TV Essentials: The Day Today
In 1994 people got confused about the news! Was it real? How could they report this? Who would let this on the air? There was mass confusion! This was The Day Today!
The show was created by Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris and spun off from their radio show On The Hour. It consisted of six episodes which were broadcast from 19th January to 23rd February 1994 on BBC2 in the UK.
The Day Today was presented to the TV audience as a real news programme which each episode presenting a combination of over-the-top news stories that were covered with a serious, pseudo-professional attitude.
Each episode revolves around one or two major stories which unravel through the length of the programme. Other stories often popped up through th show to break up the programme. In addition, the programme dips into other channels from time to time, presents clips of fictitious upcoming BBC programmes, and conducts street interviews with members of the public, in a segment titled “Speak Your Brains”.
The programme frequently comments on other programmes, most often a spoof soap opera called “The Bureau”, set in a 24-hour bureau de change, incorporating clichéd soap opera-style plots, which apparently produces and airs 2,000 episodes between the first and third segments of The Day Today and becomes a hit in Italy.
Furthermore, the programme also contains clips from a spoof documentary series called “The Pool”, featuring a public swimming pool and its neurotic staff, Morris’ character explaining that The Day Today has funded a documentary on every public building in the country. The final episode features reports from the fictitious documentary “The Office”, which follows office workers as they go on a retreat with an efficiency expert. Other non-news segments of the programme include the occasional “physical cartoons” of current events set in the studio.
Chris Morris frequently parodies entirely separate channels, including “RokTV” (spoofing MTV); reporting on the fictitious and psychotically violent African-American rapper “Fur-Q”; and “Genutainment”, a segment which reports on a sheepdog averting a helicopter disaster (a parody of the real-life rescue show 999).
It also featured a Sports Caster by the name of Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) – wonder what happened to him?