(Un)Natural Acts


In honour of the 10 year Anniversary of The Mighty Boosh radio series in 2011, we’ve brought you a handful of special posts to mark the week!

In this post, Velveteer Helen brings you the ins and outs of (Un)Natural Acts as one of our Forgotten Favourites.

The six episodes of (Un)Natural Acts were made in 1998, for the Paramount Comedy Channel and have never been repeated. The sketch show format features some well-known and less familiar faces, including the first joint tv appearance of the very youthful Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt and Rich Fulcher. The show was written by Julian Barratt, Seán Cullen, Rich Easter and Rich Fulcher, with additional material by Noel Fielding, John Irwin, Paul Pownall, Russell Young and Andy Darling. The title and original music was written by Julian Barratt.

There are episode guides below, interspersed with the actual episodes. Normally at TVO, we would encourage you to buy the DVD of the show, but unfortunately this is all that remains.

© Paramount

Episode 1

Starts with the famous ‘School Outing’ sketch, featuring Rich as the Headmaster ‘outing’ teachers and pupils.

Next up is Julian as a translator, who doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves.

Following this is the first appearance of Julian’s recurring character of a man selling stuff out of a suitcase, this one is the ‘£2 earrings’.

The next sketch reminds me a little of ‘Snuff Box’, featuring Rich and Julian, drinking brandy in a gentleman’s club and being bullied by the Maitre d’.

Followed by the first appearance of a man who is impatient for attention, played beautifully by Rich Fulcher.

This episode also has the first ‘gay policemen’ sketch, featuring Julian as a policeman and Noel as a man whose wife has gone missing.

Next is the first sighting of some familiar looking zoo Keepers, who are named Alan and George, but look a lot like Howard and Vince. Watch out for the peanut whale.

Next Rich and Jessica Stephenson are trapped on an Escalator, will they survive?

After this is a sketch featuring a poor old lady, who makes several appearances in the series and doesn’t have much luck.

Next up are the comic stylings of Derek Swailstone, (Julian). He’s not very good!

This is followed by a rather disturbing sketch in which a supermarket checkout man, (Julian) is starving, and then an incomprehensible one about Hurley Burley Pretzel and fabric softener.

There’s another appearance of Derek Swailstone, followed by a ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’ sketch. This episode finishes with another School Outing.

Episode 2

This one starts with Rich Fulcher as a psychologist, followed by Julian’s street trader selling a dancing chick.

Ambrose school of English studies award, starring Rich Fulcher as Prof of Linguistics.

Mr Trill next door makes his first appearance, he’s done a bit of DIY and the neighbours aren’t happy. Mr Trill is an inspired character, I thought he was very funny!

Next up is a ‘family’, Rich as Mum, making a great lady as usual, and a naked council man. Playing a weird game of ‘Hide and Seek’.

Next up Rich and Sean have a bit of car trouble, which spells bad news for Mother.

Mr Trill now has a window box, and he likes to keep it watered.

Jessica is has a strange encounter in a changing room.

Next is Mr Trill in a rather disturbing position. Followed by more gay policemen.

This is followed by more zoo keepers, discussing a bloke, velcro monkey suits and windows to the mind

Mr Johnson visits the psychologist, then Jerry likes to dance, but Mr Trill isn’t impressed.

The weird woman has an encounter in the toilet.

Next up is the family who like to keep leeches as pets, who are not impressed by Greg’s new kitten.

Digby (Rich) is flat sitting, he’s instructed to feed the cat and water the plants, but his singing isn’t appreciated.

Psychologist Rich takes his patient on a virtual holiday.

Digby again, and this time his singing ruins everyone’s evening!

Next another lighthouse keeper sketch, then the conclusion of the zoo keeper running sketch.

This episode finishes with the creepy woman in a supermarket.

Episode 3

The wedding photographer is a bit rude in this episode.

Julian Barratt tries to sell a man for £2

There’s a couple that take nothing seriously who look a lot like Sean and Rich

Our old friends the Myopic couple again, it’s their son’s birthday.

Couple that take nothing seriously defending in court

Myopic couple, off on holiday.

Bernard Hill, makes a guest appearance in another gay policeman sketch.

There’s a nasty mugging incident, will anyone take it seriously?

Another appearance by our favourite zoo keepers, they mention someone called Bob Fossil, and remark that you must never tremble with a newt.

Julian appears as a very tall alien much to Rich’s alarm.

Mr Mitchell (Rich), makes an inappropriate phone call.

The old lady is unlucky again.

Rich again, yet another inappropriate phone call occurs.

Chuck calls his Mum.

The sarcastic couple is at the bus stop, followed by the Lighthouse keeper, playing hide and seek, it might take him a while to find the kid!

The next sketch is a very famous one, very scary featuring Julian who is about to go on holiday.

The photographer is back and he’s not getting any better!

Episode 4

The start of this episode features a young Jessica Stephenson (Hynes) as a woman who has a near death experience, and is happy to be alive.

I really have no idea what is going on in the next sketch, there is someone in the barn.

After this is our first visit to a really bad restaurant with Rich Fulcher, don’t ask for the soup!

Julian’s street trader sells his biggest item of all, £2  for a city on a string!

Next up Mr Pemberton has an  interview, it doesn’t go quite to plan.

This is followed by a yellow man on a bus singing the baby squirrel song.

Another visit to the bad restaurant follows.

The next sketch is one of the longest and strangest featuring Julian as  Inspector Hackett, who insists on seeing Sir Charles.

The accident prone woman survives another near death experience.

It’s the unfortunate myopic couple’s 15th anniversary. Do you think they’ll have a great time at the restaurant?

This is followed by more squirrel song, then Jessica bumps into man on bike in park, she survives but for how long?

Mr Pemberton again, Julian hiding behind table-cloth, hops round room and out.

Welcome to the Meat and Greet restaurant, where the waiters are ‘dying’ to serve you!

Mr Pemberton, is back and he’s topless, looking a bit like our Booshy friend ‘The Moon’. Not to be outdone Mr Richards has a trick of his own.

Back at the Meat and Greet, there is the need for an ambulance!

The next sketch takes place in a caravan, not sure what is going on!

Someone has lost their keys and everyone is searching, then at the bad restaurant the chicken is tough.

The Old lady is visiting the  butchers, it doesn’t go well.

They are still searching for the keys, and at the Meat and Greet someone is trying to do a runner.

The keys are still missing, will something else do? Meanwhile the Lighthouse keeper is having a game of table tennis.

It’s the zoo keepers, this time tracking an escaped animal, and they’ve brought a cage.

Last visit to the bad restaurant, it’s time for dessert.

Episode 5

This episode features Julian working at an advertising agency, and also as the man selling a £2 magic pea.

Noel shows he’s a real animal lover.

Rich discusses Star Wars at the pub, and the Gay Policemen are back.

More from the zoo keepers, there’s a Mexican red kneed tarantula, or is there? One of them says “don’t touch me”, they go outside with some tea towels.

Next up Julian is on the bus wearing his  beads of invisibility.

The Old lady goes shopping for biscuits, then the mystery of the dead chickens is solved.

You can get Happy yellow custard from a farm.

Rich goes on a visit to the Museum of Art, using an unusual audio guide.

Mr Rutherford brings something round in a jar to show the lad.

Back at the lighthouse the wind is whistling, you might recognise these events from Charlie.

Finally Rich is still getting chased by the guard, his visit to the toilet, gives him a glimpse of some unusual behaviour!

Episode 6

This episode starts with Rich smoking a pipe and reading the paper, but all is not as it seems.

Another court sketch sees Rich as the Judge, with Sean as a very bad lawyer, followed by more of Julian’s street trader.

Following this another visit to the myopic couple, where their son seems to have had enough!

There’s another visit to the court, then Rich has trouble in a restaurant with a dog.

Another job for the Gay Policemen, but things don’t go to plan yet again. They we’re back in court.

The next sketch is another complex one, I’ll let you decide about it.

Back at the zoo, our favourite keepers are discussing very familiar subjects, including a mention of the famous Jimmy Lazers. A lady asks for the lion enclosure so our helpful keepers let her in. There’s a discussion about being caught in a thermal, a baguette and the right trousers.

Back in court the lawyer isn’t improving, and at the restaurant, Rich’s dog is still trapped.

Next up is a really funny sketch about kidnapping – really!

The next sketch is a bit strange, concerning tickets to Oliver.

We’re back in court, and the lawyer is still useless.

The kidnappers have a bit of a catering problem, and the myopic couple meet a lady in the park.

At the Airport, the emotional baggage is taking up a lot of room. Followed by the final visit to the court where it seems to be going well.

Finally Rich rescues his dog.

4 Responses to “(Un)Natural Acts”

  1. Mr. H August 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    I just wondered where the source material for these episodes comes from. I know they are from the paramount comedy channel, but it might just be that they originate from the VHS tape I used to record them during the first run back in 1998 and subsequently transfered them on to discs to sell on e-bay.. around the time of the first series of the Mighty Boosh. Maybe I am mistaken, but it could just be that the world has me to thank for the rediscovery of these little masterpieces. If anyone thinks I am deluded and wrong about this then please let me know your evidence to the contrary.


    • Michael G July 31, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Do you have any of the transferred DVDs available still? I’d love to see the whole series.

    • Ruby October 9, 2014 at 5:31 am #

      Will there ever be a way to get this on DVD?

  2. Mr. H November 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    Well, I suppose 2 more comments after well over a year is better than nothing. I decided to stop selling the discs after I received an order from a Mr. Henry Normal — I returned his ‘baby cow productions’ company cheque after fearing I was about to get prosecuted, but sent him a copy anyway.

    I still have the original VHS tape and suppose I could use it to make another disc, Michael, but I think the others who bought them wasted no time in putting them on youtube (a move I wish I had originally made) I think they are all on there.

    I remember being 15 in 1998 when this show was on and instinctively recording it off the Paramount comedy channel. I raved about it to my friends but they’d never heard of it (or weren’t as enthusiastic after I showed them). It seemed for years it was just me and my immediate family knew it existed and we couldn’t understand how something so funny could disappear. Then in 2004 I stumbled on ‘the ape of death’ episode of the ‘boosh’: when I saw it also had Fulcher in it I first thought it was just a ‘new’ Unnatural acts.

    Anyway, I’m just curious to know whether my copy is the only one left? All the youtube footage I see of it has that old sky tv ‘snow’ effect and VHS quality sound from my tape before transferring it to blank dvd’s. Paramount Com chan dissolved and I’m not sure if they wiped all their master footage. I’m not looking for a medal, but I’m curious to know whether the only current existing footage originates from my old video tape?
    In which case, Ruby, you’ll never get an official DVD, only a VHS transfer of it as it currently is thanks to me!

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