Wednesday, 6 January 2016
315 Dave Allen at Large
First viewed : Uncertain
I haven't much time for the "guilty pleasure" concept as a rule but it certainly did apply in this case. My father used to bring home the Catholic newspaper The Universe and my C of E mother would read it, probably more attentively than he did. There would frequently be letters or comment pieces lambasting this particular show. Now despite marrying one, my mum still had a fair amount of anti-Catholic bias ( being married to my dad might have actually reinforced it ) inherited from her Freemason father ( dead before she met my dad ) and frequently succumbed to the temptation to sneakily let me see some of this when he wasn't looking. I'd have been surprised if he knew who Dave Allen was to tell you the truth.
The bone of contention of course was that Dave ( actual surname O' Mahony ) , brought up in Dublin, devoted a large part of the show to satirising the rituals and morals , not usually the beliefs , of the Roman Catholic church. This was not narrowly sectarian - he had a searing contempt for the "Reverend" Ian Paisley - but a reflection of his religious scepticism and disgust at his own early education. The sketch I recall most vividly is one where a priest in a confessional booth tells the confessor his sins are the most disgusting things he's ever heard and the camera cuts away to show a cardinal exiting the booth.
Dave was pretty funny all round and his dry observational style was an influence on many contemporary comedians. I have no real idea when I first saw it but at the beginning of 1978 he had a short-lived move over to ITV so it must have been before that.