If you think *our* talk shows are sleazy…

Is it more or less comforting to think that our seemingly more dignified brethren across the pond have daytime talk shows that are just as sleazy and sensationalistic as our own Jerry Springer– or Ricky Lake–like ones? In the hilarious, dark, dark satirical 2007 BBC series The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle (season one available now on DVD), one ambition-fueled talk-show host works to out-slime them all.

Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) plays, with caustic perfection, host Vivienne Vyle, who tends to taunt and goad guests for explosive reactions. In fact, during the first episode, she incites one distraught man (on the “My Son Calls the Wrong Man Daddy” segment) into fisticuffs, sending her to the hospital—and her ratings sky-high. Miranda Richardson co-stars as her daffy producer, and the look at the machinations behind the scenes is every bit as entertaining (if not more so) as what happens on the air. The downside? There are only six episodes.

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If you think *our* talk shows are sleazy…