Mighty Boosh

Mighty Boosh Mr. Susan

‘Mr. Susan’ in the “Mirror World” – this scene from the BBC’s The Mighty Boosh is a pretty good introduction to this cult BBC TV show. The show, the surreal adventures of two London zookeepers’, features DIY production and costume design that owes a lot to comedian Noel Fielding, one of the show’s two actor/writers. Fielding is a non-traditional stand-up comedian with a background in visual art. You can instantly feel the influence of installation, conceptual and video art in the series. These are some of the most interesting interiors and sets I’ve seen on the small screen.

The music, by the duo’s Julian Barrett, is equally madcap and accomplished. They say a Boosh album and film will be coming out in 2011 or 2012. [Update: halfway through 2014, this has still not materialized.] Generally I don’t have a ‘favourite’ anything, because usually it means comparing apples and oranges and, say, canteloupe. But this is by far my favourite show on television. Of any decade.
Its design genius extends even to the title sequence:

The Mighty Boosh costumes are assembled by costume designers Annie Hardinge, June Nevin and Christine Cant, in collaboration with Noel Fielding. [A commenter below points out that Christine Cant, the make-up designer, made the fantastic Mr. Susan and Cobra costumes (Cant talks about this in one of the videos below).] The show’s production design is by James Dillon.

If you haven’t seen The Mighty Boosh, find it on YouTube. And give it a chance–entry into the world of the Mighty Boosh is a bit slow. For MB fans there are some excellent “Making of” videos below. See also previous Boosh posts: Noel Fielding and his Moon character.

(Note Roger Daltrey vacuuming near the end)

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5 Responses to “Mighty Boosh”

  1. Pat Says:

    A small point, but it was Christine Cant, the make-up designer, who made the Cobra costume, not Annie Hardinge. Christine is the one talking in the video. She also made the Mr Susan costume, apparently out of chamois leathers and J-cloths bought from B&Q hardware store. Must be the cheapest rig-out ever made, but in many ways the funniest.

  2. LB Says:

    Pat – thanks! I’ve made changes to the post. Of course you’re right. They’re all brilliant. The Mr. Susan costume is my all-time favourite, of any in the Boosh.

  3. Pat Says:

    You can see Christine in a masterclass here:

  4. Ana Says:

    It took me about four years to get properly into the Mighty Boosh…but once I got there, I was overcome by the oddest sort of comfort. I hadn’t felt that level of being sucked into an imaginary world since I was a teen.
    Have you seen Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy?
    The writing is pretty terrible. It seems to me like he is coasting on some sort of unintentional-self-parody setting.
    It still has a visual impact though…like a pop Triadic Ballet or something.

  5. LB Says:

    Ana, I know. At first I felt that way about Luxury Comedy too, but somehow I have come around. However, the characters Noel loves most are the ones I can barely watch. I have to skip over anything involving the New York cop, whatshisname Boombox. So hamfisted, boring, unsubtle, unmodulated and loud, and he just doesn’t see that. But I think the sketches with Tony Reason and Tod Michaels, the ray and hammerhead shark, are amazing. If you can ignore the inane body humour which I think the presence of Julian kept a lid on somewhat in the Mighty Boosh. And I love Fantasy Man and Dolly (who is extremely underused in what is otherwise a guyfest). She was great in the Firebaby sketch. “It’s not a joke, Noel, it’s a concept.” And then leaving on her toy fire engine – her “I’m coming… ” delivery was perfect. So yeah, I know what you mean about unintentional self-parody. And I miss Julian and the Boosh. I just don’t hate Luxury Comedy as much as I once did. By the way I did a post on it here: http://blog.ounodesign.com/2012/08/26/noel-fieldings-luxury-comedy/

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