Sue Vice
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Television satire in 1976 and 2005
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This chapter discusses satire of Jack Rosenthal's Ready When You Are, Mr McGill in 1976 and 2005. Rosenthal wrote two versions of his television play Ready When You Are, Mr McGill, which were broadcast respectively by Granada on 11 January 1976, and by ITV Sky on 26 December 2005, after Rosenthal's death. The earlier play was one of a seven-part Granada anthology called Red Letter Day, originated by Rosenthal himself, in which the common theme was an outstanding occasion in someone's life. The first episode, Ready When You Are, Mr McGill, gained such accolades as the television critic Richard Last's description of it as a clear contender for the funniest television play of 1976. The 1976 version was a satirical metafiction, exposing the workings of television drama. By contrast, the 2005 version has extra layers of self-consciousness, and the satire targets much more specific elements of television in the new millennium, particularly the control exerted over broadcasting by producers and television networks.

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