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alt.comedy.british FAQ (2/4) British Comedy on the Net

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Archive-name: tv/british-comedy/general-faq/part2
Posting-Frequency: every 14 days
Last-modified: 23 May 1995
Version: 2.01

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alt.comedy.british FAQ 

Part 2: British Comedy on the Net

Version 2.01
Compiled by James Kew,

Copyright 1994, 1995 James Kew.
Reproduction in unaltered form for non-profit use is encouraged. Any other
reproduction is prohibited without permission. Vendor details are for
information only. I have no connection with any companies listed in this
FAQ. Do not bend, fold, spindle or mutilate.



  1. Netiquette? What's that?
  2. What do all the abbreviations mean?
  3. What's alt.comedy.british for?
  4. What other newsgroups discuss British comedy?
  5. Where can I find FAQs/scripts/episode guides?
  6. Is any of this stuff available on the WWW?
  7. What's FTP? What's WWW? What's a URL?
  8. Could somebody mail me...?


1. Netiquette? What's that?

If you're new to Usenet, may I humbly suggest you read the articles on
Netiquette in news.announce.newusers, which are also available by FTP from:

This group has a global readership of (very) approximately 40,000 people.
Your boss may be reading... or your next boss.

  +  Proof-read your articles before posting. A neat, well-thought-out,
     typo-free article is much more likely to attract a positive response.
  +  Your article will be distributed world-wide. Consider your audience;
     avoid being too parochial.
  +  Don't be aggressive; this group is fairly gentle and flamewars are
     frowned upon. Particularly the eternal "UK-vs-US" argument...
  +  Tastes in comedy vary greatly; respect the opinions of others. If you
     disagree with someone, explain why; "AYBS is crap!" isn't much of a
  +  Keep your signature small; 4 lines is sufficient.
  +  Make sure your articles are properly broken into lines. About 76
     characters on each line is a good maximum to stick to. Some text
     editors can give you the impression that your paragraphs are broken
     into lines when in fact they are not; check to make sure this is not
     the case.
  +  If you need to post a test message, please post it to a test
     newsgroup; there's probably one in your local hierarchy (for example,
     I'd post to ic.test). Postings to misc.test will generate automatic
     responses from some sites.

A few notes on follow-ups:

  +  Ask yourself whether a posted follow-up is needed: do you have
     something new to add to the discussion?
  +  Limit the amount of quoted text to only that which is necessary.
     There's no need to quote an entire article just to add a brief
  +  Consider changing the subject line if the thread is wandering away
     from its original subject.
  +  Reply by e-mail if appropriate or requested by the poster.

2. What do all the abbreviations mean?

A number of abbreviations have been absorbed into Usenet culture; here's a
few that are used in alt.comedy.british. Some people feel that overuse of
abbreviations can make a group seem unnecessarily cliquish and forbidding
to a newcomer; nevertheless, they're useful to know:

:-)    "Smiley" or "emoticon"; commonly used to convey emotion or signal
        sarcasm. Many variations -- :D :) :-O :-( etc.
AFAIK   As Far As I Know
BTW     By The Way
FAQ     Frequently Asked Question; can refer either to an individual
        question or to a list of questions and answers such as this one.
FYI     For Your Information
IMHO    In My Humble (or Honest) Opinion
ISTR    I Seem To Remember
OTOH    On The Other Hand
ROTFL   Rolling On The Floor Laughing
YMMV    Your Mileage May Vary; literally, "your experience may differ".

Some common abbreviations for British shows:

AbFab   Absolutely Fabulous
AYBS?   Are You Being Served?
BA      Blackadder
HIGNFY  Have I Got News For You
ISIRTA  I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again
KMKY    Knowing Me, Knowing You
MP      Monty Python
OFITG   One Foot In The Grave
RD      Red Dwarf
TYO     The Young Ones
WLIIA   Whose Line Is It Anyway

3. What's alt.comedy.british for?

The newsgroup was created in early 1992 as a place for discussion of
British comedy in all its forms: television, radio, written, live...

alt.comedy.british is not the place for binary postings -- gifs, jpegs,
wavs and the like. You should instead post them to the relevant
alt.binaries.* group and post a pointer here.

This FAQ concentrates mostly on TV comedy, because that's the largest
source of discussion and questions; you're welcome to suggest other topics.

4. What other newsgroups discuss British comedy?

A few newsgroups that may be of interest to alt.comedy.british readers:

     Discussion of the four Blackadder series.
     Standup comedy; mostly with a US slant.
     Ben Elton, scriptwriter, novelist, playwright and stand-up comic...
     Douglas Adams, writer of the Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy etc.
     The cult 50s/60s radio programme.
     Python-inspired silliness.
     The books of Terry Pratchett; unusual among such groups in that
     Pratchett himself is a frequent poster.
     John Mortimer's "Rumpole of the Bailey" books and TV series.
     The books of P. G. Wodehouse and their adaptations.,
     Absolutely Fabulous.
     Red Dwarf.
     UK television; some overlap with alt.comedy.british.

5. Where can I find FAQs/scripts/episode guides?

In general, look first on these two archives:

     The archives. Lots of stuff on TV and comedy; look in the
     "television" and "humor" directories. Maintained by Jason R.
     Often referred to as "Tardis", after its previous home. All the TV
     stuff you'd ever want is here. Files at this site are stored
     compressed in gzip (.gz) format; they can be automatically
     decompressed, check the README.ftp file for details. Maintained by
     Dave Chapman,

There are also a handful of archives devoted to specific subjects:

Douglas Adams
     Maintained by Nathan Hughes,
The Goons
     Maintained by David Josephson,
Terry Pratchett
     Also at mirrors:
     Maintained by Leo Breebart,
Red Dwarf
     Maintained by Dave Gagne,

Detailed FAQs are produced for these subjects:

Absolutely Fabulous
     Maintained by Ridge,
Douglas Adams
     Maintained by Nathan Hughes; FAQ-related correspondence to Posted twice monthly to, alt.answers and news.answers.
     Maintained by Gwen Brophy, Posted monthly to
     Maintained by Melinda Casino, Posted monthly to
     alt.comedy.british,, alt.answers and news.answers.
Carry On Films
     Maintained by Andy Raffle, Posted monthly
     to alt.comedy.british and rec.arts.movies.
Adrian Edmondson
     Maintained by Andrew Wong, Posted occasionally
     to alt.comedy.british and
Ben Elton
     Maintained by Andrew Wong, Posted occasionally
     to, alt.comedy.british,
     alt.comedy.british.blackadder and
The Goons
     YAQ ("Ying Tong Iddle I Po" Asked Questions) maintained by Russell
     Street, Posted occasionally to
     Available by FTP from the Goons archive.
Rik Mayall
     Maintained by Andrew Wong, Posted occasionally
     to alt.comedy.british and
Terry Pratchett
     Maintained by Nathan Torkington; FAQ-related correspondence to Posted twice monthly to,
     alt.answers and news.answers.
Monty Python
     A number of FAQs and informational postings, posted occasionally to the Monty Python FAQ; the Monty Python FTP List,
     a comprehensive list of FTP sites with Python material; the
     Pythonography, a list of the Python crew's work; and the List of Monty
     Python Fanclubs and Fanzines. "Sir Darkwolf",,
     maintains an FAQ for, and will mail out copies of
     the other files on request.
Red Dwarf
     Maintained by Pat Berry, pat@berry.Cary.NC.US. Posted twice monthly to, alt.answers and news.answers.
Rumpole of the Bailey
     Maintained by Brenda J. Sharpe, Posted
     monthly to
Standup Comedy
     Maintained by Steve Silberberg, Posted to
P.G. Wodehouse
     The Junior Ganymede Club Book, maintained by Susan Collicott, Posted to
The Young Ones
     Maintained by Andrew Wong,
     Posted occasionally to alt.comedy.british and

Dave Budd,, maintains "The Definitive UK Sitcom List",
listing the titles, writers, principal cast and year of transmission of
virtually every UK sitcom. Posted monthly to alt.comedy.british and

Melinda Casino,, maintains "Books for the Avid
Britcomedy Fan", a comprehensive list of books covering all aspects of
British Comedy. Posted monthly to alt.comedy.british, alt.answers and

Melinda also publishes Britcomedy Digest, a monthly electronic newsletter
on British comedies. Posted monthly to alt.comedy.british and, or contact her directly to join the subscription list.

Finally, if you can't find what you're looking for: consider producing it
yourself! Feel free to contact me if you need any advice or help.

6. Is any of this stuff available on the WWW?

Yes, some of it. The British Comedy Pages, maintained by yours
truly, are a good place to start:

The Tardis TV Archives are also available via a more friendly WWW

Dave has also recently opened the Tardis TV Database, a collection of
interlinked episode guides searchable by actor:

7. What's FTP? What's WWW? What's a URL?

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol", a method of transferring files
between computers over the Internet. It usually refers to "anonymous FTP",
where access is granted to anyone who gives a username of "anonymous". For
more information see the Anonymous FTP FAQ, posted regularly to
news.newusers.questions, news.announce.newusers and news.answers, amongst
other groups. The latest version is archived at:

It can also be retrieved by email by sending a message to with a body of:

     send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/faq

WWW stands for "World Wide Web". WWW is a distributed hypermedia system, in
which documents residing on servers all over the world may be linked
together so you can move effortlessly from one document to another. For
more information see the WWW FAQ, posted frequently to, amogst others,
comp.infosystems.www.users and news.answers, and other groups, or fetch it

A URL is a Universal Resource Locator -- an electronic street address that
describes exactly where a resource is and how to access it. URLs follow the
general form:


8. Could somebody mail me...?

If you want a file available by FTP, gopher or WWW, and you don't have
access to those particular services, please don't ask the group to fetch it
for you. There are a number of mail-based servers which can fetch files and
mail them back to you. Check out the document "Accessing The Internet By
E-Mail", by Bob Rankin,; it's posted monthly to,, alt.bbs.internet, alt.answers
and news.answers, and you can retrieve a copy by sending email to, with this text in the body of the note:

     send usenet/news.answers/internet-services/access-via-email


James Kew,, May 1995

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