Oliver Jackson’s new zine is a genius ode to British sitcom, Peep Show

Filled with quotes and screen-grabs from one of Britain’s most-loved shows, The Business Secrets Of The Pharaohs has some entertaining references for those in the know.

18 December 2020

If you’re familiar with Peep Show – the British television sitcom starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb – then you’ll remember how David’s character, Mark, attempted to launch his own book career. Spending his all savings on the publishing of The Business Secrets Of The Pharaohs, only to have it published by con-artist “British London”. After a failed launch and some shoddy printing, it didn’t end up in any book stores whatsoever.

Eight years on from this fictional failure, Oliver Jackson – a designer, creative and zine enthusiast currently based in Rochdale, Lancashire – has created a zine dedicated to the show with this very book on its cover. “I thought it would be great to finally give the book and its title its deserved release in 2020,” he tells us.

During the course of lockdown, Oliver found himself “repeat-binge watching” Peep Show on Netflix a “worryingly high amount” – a habit our team can relate to greatly. He began to also notice a growing fan base, with an even wider audience only now discovering the show. “During this time, I thought to myself why there hadn’t been a definitive fan-zine for the show,” he says, “but also one produced to a high-standard in regards to production value and design.” As such, he proceeded to fill this creative void with a project aptly answering Jez’s call out in an episode when he becomes a life coach: “If you sometimes want to do something, you should do it.”

Doing just that, Oliver was able to creatively tap into one of his all-time favourite shows, one he adores for its blunt, mundane and relatable everyday scenarios. “It has to be one of the most quotable programmes out there for me,” he says, citing Phoenix Nights and Alan Partridge as close contenders. The designer also notes how Peep Show is one of those shows that continues to age well – the more you watch it the more you notice the small, humorous and intentional details you may have missed the first time around. This includes certain details and “ridiculous” quotes, which Oliver particularly enjoys. “Personally, I love the obscurity in some of the more unusual references that are made,” he says, “like ‘There’s a Harvey Nichols in Leeds that everyone goes on about, as if it’s the answer to something’ or ‘Those kids have no idea whatsoever of what went on at Stalingrad’, to name a few of the very many, which I feel are very individualistic of the series.”


Oliver Jackson: The Business Secrets Of The Pharaohs (Copyright © Oliver Jackson, 2020)

The zine came about after taking a break from his main project, 01706. The name of which references the phone number dial code of the Rochdale area. This is where Oliver houses all of his other collaborative and solo releases, such as merchandise and three zine titles including Clubland, which documents the everyday life and youth culture in Rochdale. While on a slight hiatus, Oliver thought that a passion project with freedom and a lack of pressure would be the perfect antidote.

Pressing on with the idea, Oliver began collecting quotes and moments from Peep Show, revisiting clips on YouTube where various compilations have been stored. As the project began to take shape, Oliver opted to print the zine with Bermondsey-based PageMasters which, as it turns out, is conveniently close to Mark’s flat in Croydon. Finalised in two colour Riso inside and printed with a raised thermographic finish on the cover, the result is a 30-page zine filled with quotes and screen-grabs, all of which are intricately detailed, immensely curated and entertainingly formed into an ode to of the greatest shows of all time (controversy expected). “The main theme was that Mark led the book as it was his title, and there was an intention to mix well-known moments along with some incredibly obscure ones, such as the Harvey Nichols in Leeds one,” says Oliver, remarking to the fact that if he were to change just one thing, then he’d probably add in more Johnson and take out Jeff. “Who even likes Jeff?”

The response to Business Secrets of the Pharaohs has been unsurprisingly positive. So much so that it’s now onto its second print run of 250 copies, which is already nearing selling out at one of Oliver’s favourite stores Village Leeds. This means that, if you’re an avid Peep Show fan like Oliver, then you better get moving.

GalleryOliver Jackson: The Business Secrets Of The Pharaohs (Copyright © Oliver Jackson, 2020)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla is currently covering Jenny as It’s Nice That’s online editor. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.


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