Johnny Depp is a self-professed fan of the show and has described his cameo appearance in the finale as "... absolutely one of my proudest achievements. No question. It was one of my favourite things, to have been on the last Fast Show."
The Fast Show was only ever intended to be the show's working title, as both Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson disliked it. However, the title went unchanged through production and was eventually adopted as the final title.
Simon Day based the Competitive Dad character after a man he saw challenging his two young children in a race at a public swimming pool.
Paul Whitehouse based Rowley Birkin QC after Andrew Rollo, a man he met whilst on a fishing trip in Iceland.
Paul Whitehouse fell over, whilst walking across a field, when filming a Brilliant Kid sketch for the 1st series, which was not scripted. Paul Whitehouse remained in character, by improvising "Fell over, brilliant!" which was kept in.
The identity of the mysterious gangster-like "You Ain't Seen Me, Right!" character (Mark Williams) was never revealed.
In 2010, chef Jamie Oliver advertised his forthcoming cookery series (examining the cuisine of several European/Mediterranean countries) speaking in the made-up language used by Chanel 9 News.
Arabella Weir's Insecure Woman character was suggested by Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson.
Arthur Atkinson is a parody of 1940s music hall entertainers such as Max Miller and Arthur Askey.
The Chanel 9 musical nativity play, "Holy Sprog" parodied the celebrity Xmas special genre and the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar".
Two scenes involving Uncle Alf and one involving Brilliant Kind was filmed in Ashington, Northumberland and Brilliant Kid was filmed on Station Road there.
For the third series, the production extended abroad to Iceland. Some scenes with Brilliant Kid and Billy Bleach were shot in Iceland's volcanic landscapes, waterfalls and hot springs in the background.
The Singing Ringing Binging Plinging Tinging Plinking Plonking Boining Tree sketch from Series 3 is a spoof of the film The Singing Ringing Tree (1957).
In the She's Diffrent With Boys - Doctor sketch in the 6th show of Series 2. If you listen carefully, Simon Day can be heard laughing off-screen, when Arabella Weir quotes "It's just that my furry front bottom hurts a bit." Simon Day's laugh was unintentional, but it was kept in.
The characters of Ted and Ralph and the sketches were created and written by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, who later created the popular Irish sitcom "Father Ted".
Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson didn't want to call their character sketch comedy show "The Paul Whitehouse Show" and very much wanted to do a old-fashioned team comedy in the tradition of "Monty Python's Flying Circus".
The setting for the Monster Monster vampire sketches is a parody of the classic horror film Nosferatu (1922). The vampire's voice and catchphrase "Monster, Monster" are based on Eric Hall.
The show ended in 2000, with a three-part "Last Ever" show, in which "Fast Show" fan Johnny Depp had a guest-role as a customer of The Suit You Tailors, after three seasons and a Christmas special. However, in 2011 "The Fast Show" returned as an online only series, with the cast, but Mark Williams did not return.
Redcar was used for scenes with the Brilliant Kid walking along the beach. Also Mark Williams appears in a caravan sketch near South Gare, with the steelworks in the distance.
Whitehouse improvised the Rowley Birkin sketches, which were unscripted and unrehearsed. For the filming of each sketch, Whitehouse would be shown a random image off-camera and he would then simply riff from that while being filmed.
Charlie Higson modeled Colin Hunt after actor Colin Baker who played The Sixth Doctor in Doctor Who (1963). Colin Hunt has curly hair and wears a multicolored shirt. The Sixth Doctor had curly hair and wears a multicolored jacket.
Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson asked actress Minnie Driver to be a regular performance in the show, but Minnie Driver declined and was replaced by Arabella Weir.
In the Suit You Tailors Summer Suit sketch in Series 1, Simon Day and Arabella Weir were trying not to laugh, when Paul Whitehouse and John Thomson were making a rude nose. If you watch it very carefully, Arabella Weir is seen covering her mouth with hands and Simon Day smirked.
Ted and Ralph went on to have a one-off, hour long spin-off feature, with Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson reprising the characters, with cameos from a few other characters.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) Jack Sparrow quotes the show. Johnny Depp is a fan and had a cameo role in the farewell special.
The "Shore Leave" sketch, the sketch where Chris the Crafty Cockney steals the woman's suitcases And some of the Sir Geoffrey Norman MP sketches were shot in Newcastle upon Tyne. One Ed Winchester scene was near Monument station. One scene from the Brilliant Kid showed him in Exhibition Park. Many scenes involving Janice Carr, filmed in greyscale, were used in the backdrop of the concrete flyover and underpasses of the junction of the A167(M) and the B1318 of the Great North Road in Jesmond. A few scenes were filmed inside the Newcastle City Library.
In the first draft of the script for the pilot, the Brilliant Kid character was called Eric and was described as "a young Yorkshire man", but in the series he is never named.
At the end of a Rowley Birkin Christmas sketch, the caption revealed that he died "Rowley Birkin QC 1918 - 2000". However, despite his on-screen demise, the character appeared in the online specials.
Charlie Higson's character, the car salesman Swiss Toni, is the only non-original character in the show and had appeared in the second series of The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer (1993), which was produced by Higson and featured cameos from many members of "The Fast Show". And Swiss Toni went on to have his own short-lived sitcom.
The Running Family sketches were filmed in various locations around Darlington town centre, including the Cornmill Centre. The Cornmill Centre and the High Street were also used to film some Brilliant Kid sequences.
In Hartlepool, One Unlucky Alf scene had him sitting in the empty Rink End Stand of Hartlepool United's ground, Victoria Park. Also, one Ed Winchester scene was in front of the Mill House Stand. Some of the Brilliant Kid scenes were also filmed at nearby Seal Sands.
The docks in Middlesbrough were used in hard of hearing stuntman scenes, other scenes were shot on the Transporter Bridge and the Riverside Stadium.
The Spanish City, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear were used for a couple of scenes involving Brilliant Kid. The Swiss Toni scenes were filmed at a car showroom on Norton Road in Stockton on Tees.
Arabella Weir later turned Insecure Woman into Jackie Pane, heroine of her novel "Does My Bum Look Big In This?".
The seafront amusement arcades in Seaton Carew was used for one "You ain't seen me right?" scene which had the main character sitting on a child's ride.
In the Chanel 9 - Willy Ton Bastardo cartoon sketch in (#3.1). Charlie Higson provided the voice of the little girl in the blue dress with red spots and Simon Day provided the voice of the orange devil with red horns.
The song Ron Manager and Tommy Buxton sing in the final Ron Manager sketch is "Back Home - England Squad" by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter. This is an unusual choice as the Tommy Buxton character is Scottish and would not sing an England football team song.
A 14-year-old Amy Winehouse appears in a Competitive Dad sketch in the episode 2 of of Series 3. It was her only acting role.
The "Mr. Wells" song from the Mr. Wells sketch from Series 2 was performed by Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson. In the late 70s, Whitehouse and Higson were members of a punk band at University.
In a documentary on "The Fast Show". Charlie Higson and John Thomson were crying, when they talked about the Rowley Birkin sketch, which the retired barrister told about a sad story about a woman he loved, in the last show of Series 2. Because it was about tragedy and Paul Whitehouse's acting was brilliant.
Inspiration for the Fast Show came from Whitehouse and Higson's viewing of a preview tape of Harry Enfield's show "Harry Enfield's Television Programme", for which they both made writing contributions. The highlights tape showed only short clips from the show and Whitehouse and Higson decided they wanted to create a sketch show consisting of very short, quick-fire sketches.
A significant proportion of "The Fast Show" was shot externally, unusual for a sketch show. Early on in the series, much of this done around the Tees Valley, Yorkshire Dales and Newcaster upon Tyne in the northeast of England.
The theme tune of the Dave Angel Eco Warrior sketches is "Moonlight Shadow" by Mike Oldfield and Maggie Reilly.
The Cute Disabled Man sketch from Series 2 is a spoof of the film "Forrest Gump". The movie is visible in an "Our Janine" sketch in a Rental Store.
In the That's Amazin! - Jack Off sketch in (#3.1) Paul Whitehouse, whilst in character as Jack Ofuf smirked and nearly laughed, when Carl Hooper (Simon Day) says "Great name, Mate!". Whitehouse's smirk was unintentional and remained in character and continued acting.
The Offroaders paintball sketch at the3rd show of the 2nd series, which Simon (Charlie Higson) and Lindsay (Paul Whitehouse) run out of a shed, opening fire with ends in a freeze frame, which gunshots are head mocks the ending of the 1969 western "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" which saw Paul Newman and Robert Redford's title characters running out of a building, opening fire, ending in a freeze frame, which gunshots are heard.
Many of the musicians who appeared on "Jazz Club" were named after stations on the London Underground. The deaf stuntman "Chip Cobb", was named after a meal on a menu, in a restaurant John Thomson was eating at, during filming.
The "Jazz Club" guest Jeremy Quee, who performs the song 'Car Pollution Hypocrisy' was a parody of jazz/funk singer 'Jason Kay' of Jamiroquai, who has recorded several songs about the environment but is, at the same time, an enthusiastic and self confessed "petrolhead" who owns and drives a range of luxury and high-performance sports cars .
In the title sequence in Series 1, Kenny Valentine (Paul Whitehouse) was seen performing "Release Me" by Engelbert Humperdinck. But, Kenny Valentine was dropped from the series and was replaced by a new title sequence from Series 2 - onwards, which was a montage of the regular characters. The music is still the orchestral build up to the start of the song.
The main joke of the sketches which Simon Day and Mark Williams played builders on a high-rise, The sketches would end on something like "And was he? Was he F-" and cuts to another sketch. The BBC was known for it's policy for not allowing show and programmes to use the 'F' word. One sketch in Series 1, a character cussing the 'F' word was BLEEPED out. In the 1996 Christmas Special, a character was seen cussing the 'F' word, but was drowned out by the loud noise of a car engine and 1 sketch was removed from broadcast, due to a character heavily using the 'F' word. However, a sketch from "The Last Fast Show" which guest star Johnny Depp cusses the 'F' word was not BLEEPED out from broadcast.
The That's Amazin - Earthquake sketch from the 1996 Christmas Special was removed from broadcast due to a heavy use of the 'F' word by Paul Whitehouse's character, but the sketch was reinstated for the DVD.
The goodbye montage of the regular character at the end of "The Last Fast Show Ever" was missing in the TV1 broadcast in New Zealand. Some sketches in the show were cut for time and for censorship.
In the Bob Fleming guns sketch from (#1.4). A woman could be heard off-camera screaming when Bob shoots with the loaded shotgun in his right hand, which was unscripted.
The music track used in the French Art House Film sketch in the Christmas Special was different on the DVD.
Mark Williams declined to return for the 20th anniversary special and the online series due to his commitment on "Father Brown".
In the Suit you Tailor restaurant sketch in the 4th show of Series 2. Arabella Weir almost cracked up laughing and tried not to laugh when Mark Williams popped his head out from under the table when he said his line "Tongue, sir!" and smiled back at Paul Shearer and it was kept in.
The one-off spin-off Ted & Ralph (1998) (TV movie) is a prequel that takes place before the Ted and Ralph sketches.
The Fast Show Live (1998) and The Last Fast Show Ever (2000) were not released on DVD in Australia and New Zealand.
Sketches were omitted in the TV1 broadcasts in New Zealand for time and for censorship.
John Thomson's characters in the The Last Fast Show Ever all had goatees as he was partway through filming Cold Feet at the time and his character, Pete Gifford, had one and he was unable to shave it off.
Caroline Aherne played Irish nun Sister Mary Immaculate on the Manchester comedy circuit. Regular writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews would go on to create and write the popular Channel 4 Irish sitcom Father Ted (1995), which is about three priests exiled on a island off the coast of Ireland.
It is not known who played the little girl in the Chris the Crafty Cockney sketch in the 1996 Christmas Special. However, it has been speculated that the child actress could had been Robin Hood (2006) star Lucy Griffiths who was 9 - 10 years when the sketch was filmed.
Paul Whitehouse was bit in the groin for real in the Unlucky Alf - Geese sketch in the 6th and final show of Series 1. Paul Whitehouse remained in character and improvised the line "Bugger! Did I realize that was going to happen?". It hinted that it was unscripted.
The Unlucky Alf - Lottorey ticket sketch was the only Unlucky Alf sketch which Unlucky Alf does not quote his regular catchphrase "Oh! Bugger!".
In The Fat Sweaty Coppers sketches, Arabella Weir plays a policewoman named Tennison, an obvious reference to DCI Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) from the ITV crime drama Prime Suspect. The Fat Sweaty Copper sketches are themselves a parody of the long running police drama series The Bill (1984).
Whitehouse modelled the look of Lindsay the Offroader on Gerry Austin from the New Zealand road movie Goodbye Pork Pie (1980).
The Tommy Cockles (Simon Day) character first appeared in London Underground (1990). When Day was approached by the Fast Show producers to be part of the series, they asked him to bring the Tommy Cockles character with him. They then added the Arthur Atkinson parts of the sketches.
Charlie Higson presented the Writer's Guild of Great Britain award to Paul Whitehouse at The 2003 British Comedy Awards.
The look of Bernardo (Paul Whitehouse) the painter in the Chanel 9: Big Show sketch The Fast Show: Mixa (1996) was loosely modeled after Mario, the protagonist of Super Mario Bros. (1985). Like Mario, Bernardo wears a cap, overalls and has a mustache.
In the Chanel 9 A.R.S.E. awards sketch, the giggling bikini clad weather girl (Louise Brill) is called Ulrika, mocking presenter Ulrika Johnson. Ulrika Johnson began her TV career as a weather girl on "TV-AM" and during one broadcast, Ulrika Johnson giggled presenting the weather.
Ralph from The Ted and Ralph sketches was inspired by a documentary on film director John Boorman where he struggled to have a conversation with his Irish gamekeeper.
Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Harry Enfield were offered to be regular performers and writers on the show, but they declined.
In the original BBC2 broadcast of The Fast Show: Quart (1996), an extra sketch was showing during the closing credits. In the extra sketch, the newlyweds (Charlie Higson and Donna Ewin) turn up at the doorstep of their neighbor (Mark Williams), which they ask him if they could borrow a bucket of cold water. The extra sketch during the closing credits is omitted from the Series 2 DVD and was also omitted from the TV1 broadcast in New Zealand.
The music track used in the Ted and Ralph sketch which Ted tells Ralph about how he got his scar which he got burnt in fire is "Cantus in Memoriam Benjamain Britten" by Arvo Part.
According to John Thomson, Jazz Club host Louis Balfour is "across between Whispering Bob Harris (Old Grey Whistle Test) and Roger Moore".
The camera pulling away from The Brilliant Kid whom stands in the middle of a field as he waves goodbye to the audience in The Fast Show: The Last Fast Show Ever (2000) was influenced by the ending of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) which the camera pulls away from Max (Mel Gibson) whom is standing in the middle of road on the desolate highway of post-apocalyptic Australia.
During the closing credits of the 2nd show of Series 1, Simon Day appears as a character called The Annoying Irishman and he tells the audience that his name is Timotei and he washes his hair everyday. Timotei is a shampoo brand owned by Unilever.
In the United States, the show's title is "Brilliant!", which is Brilliant Kid's regular catchphrase.
In the first "Sorry I just Cum" sketch, Charlie Higson plays a librarian. Charlie Higson later became a author and wrote the Young Bond book series for younger readers and a series of post-apocalyptic zombie-horror book series for young adults.
In a quick sketch during the closing credits of the 2nd show of Series 1, Simon Day plays a character called The Annoying Irishman whose name is Timotei and that he washes his hair everyday. Timotei is a brand of shampoo.
Ted and Ralph. Ron Manager. Billy Bleach and Swiss Toni were the only characters to get their own spin-offs.
The song Ted and Ralph sings in the Tina Turner and Restaurant sketches in Series 1 and 2 is "River Deep Mountain High" by Ike and Tina Turner.
According to Mark Williams in an interview, the Jesse's Diets sketches came about when he returned to England from New York sick with a nasty bug and he dragged himself out every now and then to get something to eat, which he went to a supermarket and bought pre-cooked chicken, which he had thought to himself "This week I'll had been mostly eating chicken".
According to Charlie Higson, Swiss Toni was based on his attempts to do an impersonation of actor Sean Connery.
Mark Williams based the mysterious You Ain't See Me Right gangster after a train driver on a train which pulled into Clapham Junction.
The Chanel 9 weather sketch which Poula Fisch is seen standing on a floating map of Spain in Series 2 parodied the weather segment on This Morning (1988) which weather presenter Fred Talbot is seen on a floating map of the British Isles as he reported on the forecast.
It's never explained in the Johnny the Nice Painter sketches why the character doesn't like the color black.
It's speculated the Johnny the Nice Painter character (Charlie Higson) could be suffering from Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that is characterized by disturbances in thought such as delusions, perception and behavior. In the sketches, when Johnny is reminded of the color black, he squeaks "Black! Black!" and wildly shouts about the despairs of mankind.
During the closing credits in 1 show during the first series there was a quick sketch which Arthur Atkinson and two other characters and seen bending over and saying to the camera "I'm ready!". The joke of the quick sketch is that the 3 characters are ready for anal sex which is sexual activity involving penetration of the anus.
The Professor Denzil Dexter sketches mocks the science programs on Open University.
Robin Driscoll whom played one of the Fat Sweaty Coppers in the Fat Sweaty Coppers sketches and as Andy's boss in the Andy the Affairs Man sketch was the co-writer of Mr. Bean (1990) and had appeared in the ITV sitcom as different characters.
ITV announcer Jim Pope's moving and touching tribute to Coronation Street (1960) (TV Series) actress Pat Phoenix whom passed away on September 17th 1986 may had been the inspiration behind the sad Rowley Birkin sketch in the final show of Serie 2 which Rowley Birkin tells a sad story about a women he once loved which left him with loss and regret.
In a Ron Manager sketch, Ron Manager calls entertainer and artist Rolf Harris an "a***hole." In 2014, Rolf Harris was tried and found guilty of 12 charges of indecent assault which he sexually attacked several women which the youngest was 7.
Most Roy and Renee sketches in Series 1 apart from the Chanel 9 news sketch which they get interviewed about a cloud in the sky were excluded from the TV1 broadcasts in New Zealand.
When Caroline Aherne left the show, all of her characters were dropped for the show but were reinstated when Caroline Aherne returned for the web series and BBC2's 50th anniversary before he death in 2016.
Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson asked Simon Day to be a regular writer and performance in the show and that wanted Tommy Cockles to be a regular character in the show as they liked the character and they had the idea of Tommy Cockles introducing the Arthur Atkinson sketches.
An online series of The Fast Show was commissioned by Fosters, led to six weekly episodes launched on November 10, 2011.
In the title sequence, Kenny Valentine's (Paul Whitehouse) head morphs into a Conehead (an obvious nod to Coneheads (1993)) starring Dan Aykroyd and then his head and his ears morphs into the shape of a Mogwai (an obvious nod to Gremlins (1984)).