Amazon Prime – ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’ available on a US streaming service
The brilliantly silly British sci-fi comedy Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, which featured Matt Berry and Richard Ayoade before most people knew who they were, only ran for six episodes in 2004 but the series’ cult stature has continued to grow over the last 17 years. In North America, the series had a run on Sci-Fi, and was available to watch briefly on the short-lived Seeso streaming app, but has otherwise been hard to find, with most people have to rely on uploads to YouTube. Good news, though: the series just appeared on Amazon Prime Video and you can watch with a Prime subscription. Here’s what we wrote about it last year:
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace is a high-concept sci-fi parody from 2004 starring series creator Matthew Holness as the titular Marenghi, who describes himself in the show’s opening credits as “author, dream weaver, visionary, plus actor.” (He’s basically a bargain basement Stephen King or Clive Barker.) The premise is that Marenghi wrote, directed and starred in an early-’80s sci-fi show “so radical, so risky, so dangerous, so god-damned crazy that the so-called powers that be became too scared to show it.” Unearthed after 20 years, Darkplace is now finally being shown with newly taped intros from Garth, plus interspersed “interviews” with co-star/producer Dean Lerner (Richard Ayoade) and the show’s costar, Todd Rivers (Matt Berry). Marenghi stars as Rick Dagless, MD who works at Darkplace Hospital where, in each of the British series’ six episodes, he faces some new terror including the horrific “eyechild,” a bad water supply that is turning the staff into apes, and the dreaded “Scotch Mist.” Nearly every aspect of Darkplace — the acting, special effects, editing, dubbed dialogue — is purposefully terrible and hilarious. Matt Berry and Richard Ayoade, who would both co-star on The IT Crowd shortly after this series, as well as Alice Lowe are fantastic scene-stealers, but Holness’ pompous horror hack has all the best (worst lines).
You can watch all six Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace episodes, again and again, on Amazon Prime. It’s never been released on DVD in America, but the UK DVDs features a treasure trove of bonus material, including lots more of the interviews with Garth, Dean, and Todd. For that, you’ll still have to turn to YouTube. You can watch a few highlights, including Matt Berry’s very-’80s “One Track Lover” musical number, below.
Matt Berry continues to make music when not becoming a very popular comic and actor, including this year’s great The Blue Elephant.