Black Books

Channel 4 (ended 2004)



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Show Summary

Black Books is a second-hand bookshop in London run by an Irishman named Bernard Black. He is probably the planet's least-suited person to run such an establishment: he makes no effort to sell, closes at strange hours on a whim, is in a perpetual alcoholic stupor, abhors his customers (sometimes physically abusing them) and is often comatose at his desk. Help comes in the lumpy shape of Manny Bianco, a hairy, bumbling individual who becomes Bernard's assistant. Manny is not exactly great at the job either but he is a million times better than Bernard. Next door is Fran, an anxious, frustrated woman who runs a sort of new-age shop selling the most unlikely bits of arty junk. Fran is friends with Bernard and, through him, with Manny; together the trio become embroiled in escapades that are sometimes extreme, fantastically ludicrous, and always bizarre. The show has won two BAFTA awards and one Bronze Rose award.

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    • Bring me my lolly!!

      Half ten??! Half ten!?!!? What happens at half ten?!?! Black books happens at half ten, and every other half and full of the day. If you don't want to walk away from a show with the urge to take up smoking, drinking wine and generally unsociable then you probably shouldn't watch this show. Dylan Moran at his best!!
    • One of my favourites shows ever.

      (Pardon my English please) Black Books is british show with highly black, sardonic humor based on personality of great stand-up comedian Dylan Moran. Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd) participated on the first season.

      Every time I'm depressed, i just turn on Black Books, swear a little (a lot) with Bernard Black, get drunk with my friends and shout quotes from this show behind a corner of the lastly visitid pub after midnight in my hometown (Pardubice). The best line of BB:

      "After years of smoking and drinking you do sometimes look at yourself and think... you know just sometimes inbetween the first cigarette with coffee in the morning to that 400 hundredth glass of cornershop piss at 3 am you do sometimes look at yourself and think -

      ........(breat out the smoke)...........

      - This is fantastic. in heaven!

      I love this show. Bill Bailey (Hot Fuzz) is acting his best performance and Tamsin Greig (Episodes) is so much better than Jen in IT Crowd.

      Read a book, kids.moreless
    • A quirky little British sit-com which never quite proved to be an equal match for sister show "Spaced"...

      Irish comedian Dylan Moran ("How Do You Want Me?" & "The Actors") and writer-director Graham Lineham ("Father Ted" & "Big Train") reunite under the auspices of Big Talk producer Nira Park for this surreal sit-com which won the 2001 and 2005 BAFTA for Best Situation Comedy and a Bronze Rose at the Festival Rose d'Or of Montreux in 2001.

      Misanthropic bookshop owner and chronic alcoholic Bernard Black (Dylan Moran) reluctantly recruits failed accountant Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey) to help him run his little shop at the instance of neurotic neighbour and only friend Fran Katzenjammer (Tamsin Greig) in the simple set-up to this inventive comedy series.

      IFTA and British Comedy Award-nominated Dylan Moran puts in a powerful central performance and generates pitch perfect chemistry with bumbling comic sidekick Bill Bailey and decidedly unromantic female interest Tasmin Grieg as well as a heap of familiar British comedy guest stars that pop-in in the futile attempt to purchase a book.

      Season one starts strongly and proceeds apace with Graham Lineham and Nick Wood directing some hilarious episodes that see Bernard slowly assimilating Manny into his and Fran's acerbic little world, with guest appearances from Martin Freeman, Kevin Eldon, Nick Frost, Peter Serafinowicz, David Walliams and Lineham himself.

      Season two sees new director Martin Dennis and co-writers Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley and Arthur Mathews picking up following Lineham's departure with some variable episode that feature more material for the now unemployed Fran and guest appearances from Johnny Vegas, Ricky Grover, Rob Brydon, Mark Donovan and Jessica Stevenson.

      Season three sees director Martin Dennis and writers Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley plodding on in much the same vain but to less effect as the series becomes somewhat formulaic (as seen in the brilliant "Black Dolls" extra) with guest appearances from Simon Pegg, Lucy Davis, Olivia Colman, Annette Crosbie, Sam Kelly, Keith Allen and Julian Rhind-Tutt.

      Moran dominates the series with his sarcastic one-line put-downs whilst Bailey and Grieg are left to deal with the standard comedic situations in a somewhat more pedestrian series than incredibly inventive sister show "Spaced" that nonetheless never ceases to raise a laugh with it's uniquely British surrealist character comedy.

      Do you know nothing about modern culture, Bernard? Beckham, Posh, Pokemon...moreless
    • Watch this now!

      One major reason this show did so well, and then perhaps the reason for its only 3 series run, was the absolutely brilliant casting of Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Grieg who in the case of the first two are best comics in Britain and Grieg is a great comic actress. But being so good means that they are also busy people and so this is probably why it stopped. No bad thing though as it means the show never tired and ended on a high, like all the best shows shoul, but don't always.

      So the basic premise is simple, Bernard Black, played by Moran, owns a book shop called "Black Books" and hires Manny (Bailey) as his shop assistant. Fran (Grieg) is Bernard's best friend I guess, quite possibly his only friend. She used to own the shop next door but that seems to stop and the next 2 series she's just around, and doesn't seem to have a job. Basically this is the background for all the high jinks they get up in this shop.

      Anyway, the other reason this show is so good is the writing. It's funny and sharp and the plots, although surreal at times, also seem like they could happen, and that's good comedy, cause we often laugh at what we recognise. (One thing I find is that I've actually been in shops that are simillar to the one in the show for it's chaotic look, so I realte with this.) It is also of course brilliantly executed by the actors.

      At less than 9 hours long for the entire series 1-3 it's very easy to watch in a day. So you've got no excuses for not watching this as soon as you can.moreless
    • dylan moran makes me want to smoke and drink red wine out of the bottle at 10am. bill bailey makes me cry with laughter.

      dylan moran makes me want to smoke and drink red wine out of the bottle at 10am. bill bailey makes me cry with laughter. each season is a delight and i wish they made more. british/irish humor at its best. my favorite episode is the one where they house sit for a friend. there are a few hilarious allusions in that episode. i want to own a bookstore that has mollusks on the pipes and i want to eat scrambled egg out of a shoe with a comb. if you like bb, you should check out bill's stand up. he is an incredible musician.moreless

    More Info About This Show




    odd couple, Sitcoms, Dark Comedy, unlikely friendships, horrible people