Smack the Pony was the great TV sketch show of the late '90s and early '00s: not just because it was female-led and subverted what was generally expected of "women in comedy," but also because it was really, really funny.
The Channel 4 series starring Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan, and Sally Phillips actually only ran for 23 episodes between 1999 and 2003. This could explain, at least partly, why Smack the Pony isn't celebrated as much as it should be today. But excitingly, we're all going to be given a chance to relive its hilarity because the original trio are reuniting for Red Nose Day on the 24th of March.
Now, we don't know exactly what this "reunion" will entail. All the BBC has said is this: "For the first time since 2003, Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan and Sally Phillips reunite performing a series of sketches from the popular comedy show."
This suggests the trio will be reworking classic material. But while some of those sketches are now 18 years old, we have a feeling they'll still feel fresh. As Mackichan told The Guardian in 2015, "Smack the Pony was different to anything I’d seen before. We didn’t do anything about diets or sexual politics. 'Let’s just let women be clowns,' we said. I’d been doing standup for ages, and had become thoroughly disheartened by the fact that other female comics all tended to tackle the same subjects. People would say, 'Do you do any period jokes?' and I’d go, 'Well, no, I don’t.'"
In the same interview, Mackichan also lamented the fact that Smack the Pony didn't "produce a raft of shows" that put female comedy performers front and centre. "Women are out there, writing, but they’re not getting commissioned, or seeing their shows dropped after one series. It’s still a battle," she said. Which is all the more reason to get behind the Red Nose Day reunion.