Best British TV Shows - I.T. Crowd

Best of British Comedy - I.T. Crowd

I.T. Crowd is a Channel 4 comedy, written by Graham Linehan. It has been one of the best British TV comedies of recent years.

Graham Linehan had already had enormous success with the Irish comedy, Father Ted and he thought a sitcom about the office geeks would be an interesting project.

He could not have been more right - I.T. Crowd first came to TV screens in 2006 and on paper it should not have looked like a hit but it was.

He used a clever device to get the ball rolling. He placed a completely IT illiterate girl, Jen in the IT department as their new boss and then we get to see the result.

The great thing about the two guys already in the IT department are that they are both very funny characters.

Roy (Chris O'Dowd) is the Irishman, fed up with the job, fed up with the other people who work in his office block and constantly trying to find his way with the ladies.

His stock answer when the phone rings? "Have you tried switching it off and on again?"

Moss (Richard Ayoade) is 100% geek with weird unruly hair, an affected way of speaking and he's just too nice for words.

Jen (Katherine Parkinson) is the inept manager, coping with being an IT boss when she knows absolutely nothing about computers and is desperate to keep that fact hidden. She is also very ambitious in a company where the boss has the biggest ego in Britain.

We also have a fourth character, Richmond (Noel Fielding) but more on him later.

I.T. Crowd
I.T. Crowd
IT Crowd's Chris O'Dowd
IT Crowd's Chris O'Dowd
Richard Ayoade
Richard Ayoade
Katherine Parkinson
Katherine Parkinson

The 'Geeks'

Chris O'Dowd's Roy is a tall, gangly Irishman with a ready wit but a nervous disposition. He is basically 'between jobs', pretty lazy and detests the people he's paid to help(except good looking girls of course).

He always seems to be in some kind of fix or trying to get the most out of a situation.

But Roy is not really clever enough or tough enough to survive in the world of Reynholm Industries. What do Reynholm Industries do? We never find out!

The great thing about the IT Crowd is the fact that they seem to work in a basement below a basement - literally the bottom of the corporate pile and yet, any of us who work in offices know that without the IT Department, most of us would be in trouble.

The real brains of the department is Maurice Moss (he just gets called Moss), who seems to know everything about everything but is a real odd bod - someone so socially inept that its a miracle he even has a job. Moss is a kind-hearted fellow, still living with his mother but bordering on being a genius.

Jen is a smart girl who is introduced to us in episode 1 being promoted to manager of the I.T. Department. Over the episodes, we see her fight off advances from Douglas Reynholm and basically blag her way through situations, such is her ineptitude in almost every area of work. However, she is very likeable and seems to fit in really well with Moss and Roy who end up needing her more for their street cred than anything else.

Denholm Reynolm played by Chris Morris
Denholm Reynolm played by Chris Morris
Douglas Reynholm played by Matt Berry
Douglas Reynholm played by Matt Berry

Meet The Bosses

Mr Reynholm is the first boss - he is egotistical and also terribly dishonest - we get to see him jump out of his own office window when this fact is discovered in the second series of I.T. Crowd and his job is taken over by his son who has an even bigger ego, played by the wonderful rich-voiced Matt Berry.

We get to see bosses in a very bad light but both are played so well by Chris Morris and Matt Berry that we look forward to their scenes as much as those of the rest of the IT Crowd.

Chris Morris' dishonest, spiteful boss is usurped by Matt Berry as his completely useless son - who also happens to have been accused of murdering his wife, whose body has still not been found.

IT Crowd is nothing if not rich on storylines and the comedy arising from them.

Graham Linehan keeps us all watching because he writes characters who are larger than life interacting with characters more like the rest of us.

IT Crowd's Richmond
IT Crowd's Richmond
Richmond out of his room
Richmond out of his room
Richmond in more make up
Richmond in more make up

And Then There's Richmond

Just when you thought you had met the whole I.T. Crowd - ambitious inept Jen, skinny, funny Roy, super-geeky Moss, you get to meet the fourth member of the I.T. Crowd in Episode 6 - Richmond.

Richmond is the person behind 'the door' in the IT Crowd's office. When Jen asks about what's behind the door, Roy and Moss become very defensive and this piques Jen's interest.

What can those 2 be hiding?

Eventually Jen gets through the door and we discover inside of it a tardis like room with throbbing mainframes, lights flickering on and off and their operator, Richmond played by Noel Fielding.

Richmond is a full on 'goth' - black clothing, white face, black eyeliner etc. He is just an amazing, well thought up character who has become something of a cult character in the show.

He only appears in 6 episodes across the 4 years of the IT Crowd but his early incarnation is the best.

Classic IT Crowd Episodes

IT Crowd had a clever way of incorporating popular culture into the show and this gives it a bit of a twist for watchers.

I've called these classic episodes but that's just my humble opinion of course, it may be that other British people have their own idea about the show.

IT Crowd was bought by NBC in the states but they decided not to go ahead with the show because it just didn't spark with their boss, Ben Silverman. Graham Linehan revealed in later 2010 that the show in the USA was back on and he was re-writing episodes, but as yet, no further news has been released.

There was a German version of the show called Das IT Team, Die Jungs an Der Maus (The IT Team, The Boys At The Mouse), it was cancelled after 2 episodes.

So maybe IT Crowd doesn't cross over into other cultures? I don't really care, though it would be nice if it did so that you readers (wherever you are) got the joke.

I can't praise it enough and that's why I have included it as one of my Best British TV Comedy series!

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Comments 13 comments

Peanutritious profile image

Peanutritious 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

I loved the I T crowd. All the characters were great. I've only watched series one though but plan to buy the others.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Barry - deffo give it another try, well worth the effort - it is very funny.

barry1001 profile image

barry1001 4 years ago from North Wales

I've watched this a few times and I just couldn't get into it. Maybe I should give it another go.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Alexandra, it really is the sort of comedy show which can be watched over and over because it has so many funny lines and situations that you can never remember them all so it's sometimes like watching it anew.

Many thanks for your kind comment!

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SilverGenes 4 years ago

I've watched the series on Netflix - the British version - and loved it! Actually, I spent so much time laughing that I had to rewind just to catch the dialogue that I missed while rolling on the floor. I've watched a few episodes over and over and they are just as funny as the first time!

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

RolyRetro, thanks for your comment, yes Matt Berry's voice is something else - he does the fun jingles on Absolute Radio. And of course, The Mighty Boosh has taken Noel Fielding onto other things.

RolyRetro profile image

RolyRetro 4 years ago from Brentwood, Essex, UK

Up there with Father Ted from the same writer, a classic series with some excellent casting. Matt Berry steals every scene as inept boss Douglas, chewing the scenery with every line. Richmond has also gone onto bigger things with surreal comedy the Mighty Boosh, one of my favourite things on UK TV.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK Author

JMac, The job I'm on now was something new when I first started so I just blagged my way through the first few months but I'm finally finding my way. Unfortunately, ICT tends to be an area in which you can't blag, you either know this stuff or you don't - Jen does a good job mainly cos Roy and Moss save her bacon so much. Thanks for commenting.

John MacNab profile image

John MacNab 5 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

Hi jools99

I used to have a job like Jen's once - I spent most of my working life trying to keep the fact that I didn't know what I was talking about, from the other employees. I was like that with most jobs, but I had the savvy to move on before being found out.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK Author

JK, We watch IT all the time at home on DVD and every episode has something to laugh at. Graham Linehan wrote Father Ted and also Black Books, 2 very different sitcoms. both of them are funny but IT is the best. Thanks for commenting.

JKenny profile image

JKenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

I love this show too, especially when Moss and Roy went to a football match, with Moss providing the commentary, brilliant. I agree with Steve, the gay musical episode was absolutely hilarious. I think the guy who created this, also created Father Ted, so you can understand why its so funny.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK Author

Steve, I also love the gay musical episode but couldn't include it here cos it is too long. I used to be a Computer Operator and then a Help Desk Operator so I got this show completely as soon as I saw it. One of my favourite episodes is the Roy's bottom kiss episode - the court scene is hilarious and Chris O'Dowd is amazing in it. Great to see Chris doing well in the USA and Richard is a very gifted bloke. Was sorry to see Katherine Parkinson leave Doc Martin though.

Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England

I really enjoyed the IT Crowd, good to see a hub on the series Jools, well done.

I remember all those video clips. The episode that made me laugh the most was the one where they end up going to a gay musical. I was really creasing up on that one. When she turned round after seeing Roy in a wheelchair and there's Moss behind the bar serving drinks, classic! :)

I wonder if they'll make any more episodes, Chris is appearing in big movies and Richard is directing movies.

Voted Up, awesome and funny.

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