SHEPHERD, Chris - BIG TRAIN: STARING CONTEST - 1998-2002 UK
From Jonathan Hodgson
Big Train is a British television sketch show created by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan. The first series was broadcast on BBC Two in 1998, while the second, in which Linehan was not involved, aired in 2002.
The first series included a series of animated sketches written and drawn by Paul Hatcher and animated by Chris Shepherd, with composition and additional animation by Rhodri Cooper and Jeff Goldner of Animation Post. "The World Stare-out Championship Final" was originally a self-published comic that Hatcher created in 1996 which Graham Linehan spotted in a comic shop in London and then contacted Hatcher with a view to using it as animated sequences in a proposed sketch show commissioned by the BBC. The animation satirised televised sporting events coverage and its over-excited commentary, inspired by events such as the World Chess Championship, boxing and the football World Cup. The sketches are set during the World Stare-out Championship Finals, a staring match which is described as a global event broadcast all over the world.
The television sketches concerned the 43rd World Stare-out Championship Finals. All of the events were commentated upon by John (voiced by real life commentator Barry Davies) and David Joyce (impressionist Phil Cornwell). Each episode followed a different match, the last one being the grand final between the Italian outsider Alessandro Kampagnola and the previous champion, the Polish Sigmund "Siggy" Spatsky, with Siggy emerging as the easy victor after just 7 minutes even though some matches are referred to as having been going on for several hours. The stories told by the commentators echoed those of real sporting events, such as performance-enhancing drugs, streakers, and a tale about the trophy based on the theft of the World Cup in 1966.