So a friend of mine recently got two well sought after tickets to the News Quiz, a topical radio panel show, hosted by Sandi Toksvig. The episode was recorded at BBC Radio Theatre and starred comedians Jeremy hardy, Sara Pascoe and two other people.
I have to say I don’t take much of an interest in politics, and never really plan too. Maybe I should take an interest and that way I might have been able to understand half the political references brought up in the episode. However, too the panellist’s credit, they managed to make jokes about Nick Clegg and the economy funny, even to someone who hasn’t a clue what’s going on in the world.
However there were some news references I knew about and so those jokes made sense to me. Education (YAY!) came up a lot, as did trains. I like trains.
And afterwards I even go the pleasure of meeting Sandi Toksvig and Jeremy Hardy. I also embarrassed myself when mistaking Sandi Toksvig’s friend for Sara Pascoe and getting her to sign my ticket. Oh well!
So it’s around that time of year when scores of last year’s comedy successes begin to return to our screens. Not only does that mean the return of Pramface and the elusive Jonathan Creek but means we see Blandings return, a series based on the works of the great PG Woodehouse.
Blandings is a delightfully light-hearted comedy drama, set at Blandings Castle, the home to Lord Clarence Emsworth (Peter Pettigrew himself Timothy Spall) and his irritable sister Connie (what’s her name, oh yeah Jennifer Saunders). They are constantly visited by Clarence’s son Freddie (the great yet so far unrecognised Jack Farthing) and waited on by their butler Beach (Tim Vine taking over from Mr Weasley, sorry Mark Williams).
Series two jumps straight back into the action with Harry Enfield guest starring as the Duke of Dunstable, an old, grumpy, grouchy, shouty man visiting Clarence and bringing his niece with him as (*cliché alert*) he doesn’t approve of who she wants to marry. Harry Enfield completely steals the show for this episode. His character is hilarious and oddly likeable. If only Downton Abby were like this!
Tim Vine however doesn’t add much to the show. Admittedly he is inheriting a bland, boring character but you would think a comedy legend such as he could spin a few laughs out of the character.
The story line for the first episode is average with none other than Matthew Baynton popping up in the middle. I think it makes for a great start for the second series and is certainly better than some of the mediocre episodes in series one.
So that’s my verdict for the first episode. Let us home a great new series is to follow!
One liners are great, who doesn’t like one liners? Not only are they short and easy to fit into a well-written sitcom but they are great for throwing into everyday conversations and claiming you made them yourself.
One man who does like one liners is Milton Jones, a TV and Radio Comic who frequently blesses Radio 4 with his presence. I must admit that although some of his jokes are funny, I find his monotonous and deadpan style slightly/very irritating. However when I saw he was making a new sitcom ‘Thanks a lot Milton Jones’, I decided to give it a go anyway.
The series revolves around Milton and his friend Anton (regular collaborator Tom Goodman-Hill) who run a sort of ‘Private Investigating Service’. Whether it be smugglers or somebody writing bad reviews about B&Bs, they can solve any problem. These in fact were the two scenarios of the episodes that were recorded and both of them (incredibly) managed to be spun out long enough to fill thirty minutes. The hotel one was my favorite, simply because of its sheer ridiculousness. The pair start up their own hotel trying to catch the culprit behind the bad reviews and then claim to have a dead king buried beneath it. Very strange.
Milton Jones gave his usual ‘funny but annoying performance’ whilst Tom Goodman-Hill (My First Planet, Cabin Pressure) excelled and managed to give some depth to a sordid caricature. Ben Willbond (Horrible Histories, Rev.) guest starred in the episodes and put on a great french accent.
Although not managing to grab a script, I did meet the entire cast as well as Jessica Raine (Call the Widwife) who was in the audience watching her partner (Goodman-Hill) perform.
The show will be on Radio 4 soon. I dunno when though.
So, as I am constantly saying, about a year ago I met Benedict Cumberbatch at a recording of the radio sitcom Cabin Pressure.
Although I managed to get his autograph and stare into his face, I din’t get a photo which I’m very annoyed about.
However whilst on Instagram the other day I saw a picture of someone who was at the same recording as me and managed to snap me in the background of their picture with Benedict!
There I am just to the right of Benedict’s head.