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TV review: House Of Fools, BBC Two

The new Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer sitcom House Of Fools (BBC Two, Tuesday.

10pm) is every 1970s television show you can think of gone wonderfully wrong. It's like Crackerjack on a drunken night-out. It's like an episode of George And Mildred that exploded. It's like Magpie took too many E-numbers and fizzy pop.

Who knows if this was Vic and Bob's intention but the opening credits appear to have a direct psychic link to dead 1970s shows such as Rings On Their Fingers and Robin's Nest. There's even a suggestive theme tune and a big typeface with puffy Zeppelin letters, like the ones on the Top Of The Pops albums. I love it.

And then the episode starts, and within seconds I'm laughing so loud the dog looks up from her chew stick. Vic Reeves has just appeared on the stairs of his fictional sitcom house and is singing a song: "Look at my glove, my beautiful glove, my medieval gauntlet."

I have no idea why this is funny but it is. Reeves's comedy has always been surreal in this way, but over the years I've grown to appreciate that fact much more than I used to. Perhaps it's because in a world where nothing happens without it being immediately explained by people like Nick Robinson of the BBC, it's good to have at least one place where nothing makes sense, where a grown man sings about his medieval glove.

But wait: there's a plot. Vic's flatmate Bob has a date and wants to get everyone out of the house before she comes over. Vic suggests he shows her a film from his DVD collection and suggests a few. "Taken?" "Somebody nicked it." "Missing?" "I don't know where it is." "Gone In 60 Seconds?" "It was here a minute ago."

There's quite a bit more of this kind of wordplay ("Morning Bob." "Why? Nobody's died, have they?") as well as some scatalogical stuff, but best of all - even though House Of Fools is a kind of bonkers tribute to 1970s sitcom - this is a show that's creative, inventive and original.

If only the same could be said for last week's other new sitcom Uncle (BBC Three, Monday, 10pm) which displays a staggering lack of originality. It has exactly the same plot as About A Boy, the Hugh Grant movie about a selfish man who develops a strong bond with a difficult, shy boy. In fact, there are so many similarities to that film that it is either accidental and the makers of Uncle have never seen About A Boy or they have seen it and just don't care.

Either way, Uncle is not funny. Whereas House Of Fools made me laugh in a loud, snorty, spit-my-food-on-the-furniture way within the first few seconds, I had to wait until seconds before the end of Uncle before it even made me vaguely smile - although my lips could barely be bothered to make the effort. And the dog did not look up from her chew stick.

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