Matt Berry heads to Manchester's new TV festival

Feature by News Team | 20 Apr 2016

New Manchester TV festival Pilot Light (5-8 May) announces the line-up of its 'first season', which includes a panel on Nathan Barley and Matt Berry’s cult show Snuff Box

With the rise of online streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon, and the growth of quality web series, we’re watching more TV than ever – but it tends to be on our own in front of our laptops. Manchesters new TV festival Pilot Light will be turning that on its head, making TV a communal experience again.

The line-up, announced today, will feature a mix of retrospective screenings, UK premieres and panel discussions. A highlight will surely be a tenth anniversary screening and panel dedicated to 2006's Snuff Box. Created by and starring Mighty Boosh alumnus Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher, this short-lived blend of sketch show and sitcom proved too dark for BBC Three’s audience, but it’s single series has garnered a cult following, with Simon Pegg and Paul Rudd among its biggest fans. The screening will be followed by a panel with Matt Berry along with the series’ director, Michael Cumming (whose other credits also include Brass Eye and Toast of London), and producer Charlie Hanson (whose other credits include Extras and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace). For a taste of Snuff Box's insane genius, check the clip below.

Another cult item being resurrected is Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker’s hilarious and prophetic satire about hipster media culture in East London, Nathan Barley. As part of the event there will be a Q&A with Charlie Condu, who played SugarApe editor Jonatton Yeah? in the show.

If you’re looking for mint-fresh TV, the festival kicks off with the series two premiere of Hoff the Record. The show follows 80s legend David Hasselhoff playing a parody of himself as The Hoff, down on his luck, relocating to England to look for new career opportunities. Following the screening will be a Q&A with two of the show’s co-stars: actors Mark Quarterly and comedian Fergus Craig.

 David Hasselhoff: "Do you guys still like Runrig?"

As well as TV, Pilot Light will also feature screenings and events based around indie and web series from around the world. The pick of these screenings looks to be critically acclaimed web series Her Story, which looks inside the dating lives of a group of trans and queer women and has been endorsed by the likes of Laverne Cox (Orange is The New Black) and Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues). There’s also animated comedy Concrete Jungle, fantasy epic Ren: The Girl With The Mark and Runcorn zom-com romp Dead Town.

There’s also a screening of Peter Watkins’ 1965 film The War Game, a fake documentary imagining the effects of a nuclear war on the UK and how our society would quickly crumble in its aftermath. The film was so bleak and unsparing in its outlook that the BBC, who commissioned the film for the Play for Today series, banned it for 20 years, saying at the time “the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting.” This screening will be accompanied by a very rare Q&A with the film’s editor, Michael Bradsell.

Season 1 of Pilot Light TV Festival will take place 5-8 May at various venues across Manchester, including HOME, Gorilla and the University of Salford.

For full programme details, go to