Dead Ringers

From Tolkien Gateway

Dead Ringers was a comedy sketch show on BBC Two which frequently parodied and referenced The Lord of the Rings (film series) and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien more broadly. It ran for seven series, between 2002 and 2007.

Series 3[edit | edit source]

In Episode 1, the use of Bigatures by Weta Workshop for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was referenced in a sketch wherein Tony Blair claimed the Iraq War was all faked with the use of models; Blair asks Kirsty Wark, "I take it you've seen The Lord of the Rings?" to which she replies, "No, I fear dwarves.". Also, the show parodied How Clean Is Your House? with Aggie MacKenzie calling herself "the Gollum of grime" and the owner's house being described as "a cross between Mordor and Afghanistan".[1]

In Episode 2, parodying the fact that the Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, had tried to purchase Liverpool Football Club, BBC News reports that "another foreign leader with a questionable human rights record", Saruman, had bought Newcastle United F.C. The manager, Bobby Robson, explains that Shelob and Sméagol (invisible thanks to The One Ring) will be playing for the team.[2]

The third episode combined the characters of the recently-returned, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet - a programme about seven fictional British construction-workers working abroad - whose characters go to Middle-earth in search of work. They are employed by Gandalf to rebuild The Shire following the Scouring of the Shire, but - in common with all series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet - a nasty foreman turns up (Saruman) and one of the team falls in love with a local (an orc) who is then taught to speak Geordie.[3]

In a lengthy sketch in Episode 4, the Dead Ringers team are parodying the ending to The Return of the King film, and its length, by having a voice-over over their version of The Grey Havens: "Coming soon on DVD, a must-have for all fans of The Lord of the Rings. Yes, all of the extra endings to Return of the King that they couldn't fit in the film." Gandalf suggests they could catch a later boat - which Frodo suggests will come "about 9" - and that in the meantime they could play Scrabble. "We know how disappointed you were that the cinema release of The Return of King had only 23 final scenes, now experience the DVD director's cut with all 98 endings." Every time Frodo and Gandalf are about to leave, they have a reason to come back: Gandalf tells Merry that he is Merry's father; they have a custard-pie fight; they destroyed the Death Star. As they are about to leave (now with Merry, Sam and Pippin reading newspapers in a bored manner), a shark arrives. "You can relive the cinematic experience of starting to leave because you think the film has finished, only having to sit back down again and again... this time from the comfort of your own home. Every last bum-numbing ending is here."[4]

Finally, in Episode 6, Gandalf and Frodo are once again at the Grey Havens, beckoning Bilbo to the ship. Bilbo refuses, saying that he wants to go home and the elves dislike him; acting like an obstinate - and paranoid - elderly man, refusing to go into care, he insists, "I'm not getting on any boat! ... You're just after my savings. I went on a f***ing quest for you young hobbits, and this is all the thanks I get! You lay one finger on me, beardy, and I'll call social services!"[5]

Places, People and Events[edit | edit source]

The following - demonstrating an impressive knowledge of The Lord of the Rings - have been mentioned within the course of the seven series of Dead Ringers:

People[edit | edit source]

Places[edit | edit source]

Events[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Cast[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Dead Ringers, Series 3, Episode 1 (see 3:26 - 4:56 and 17:00 - 18:13). Originally broadcast on BBC Two on 10 May 2004
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Dead Ringers, Series 3, Episode 2 (see 10:38 - 12.08). Originally broadcast on BBC Two on 17 May 2004
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Dead Ringers, Series 3, Episode 3 (see 16:30 - 18:16). Originally broadcast on BBC Two on 24 May 2004
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Dead Ringers, Series 3, Episode 4 (see 9:23 -11:44). Originally broadcast on BBC Two on 31 May 2004
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Dead Ringers, Series 3, Episode 6 (see 9:20 -10:19). Originally broadcast on BBC Two on 14 June 2004