As I have explained numerous times on this blog, but will do so again for the sake of consistency, ‘John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme’ is a radio 4 sketch show, penned by Cabin Pressure writer John Finnemore. Recently I attended a recording of an episode of the fourth series.
The recording took place at the Shaw Theatre in London, a venue I had not yet visited. All the normal cast were present including Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Simon Kane. Lawry Lewin and Carrie Quinlan. The episode contained many hilarious sketches, some of which I had already heard at the series try-outs (here and here). These included various sun gods arguing at a dinner party, a very uninspiring careers advisor and something about Humpty Dumpty.
One sketch I found less funny was a very long, very drawn-out piece where the cast played bowling skittles who seemed to have taken the bowling balls up as Gods for some reason. The sketch consisted of the cast rotating and speaking in whimpish murmurs up to the balls, asking them not to be knocked down. Probably the only sketch in the entire show I didn’t like.
After the show I went on my regular autograph hunt. As well as acquiring a script for the episode I also got the whole cast (+Ed Morrish and Susannah Pearse) to sign this poster which I designed myself!
With school, education and any kind of work being a distant memory, I can now put my summer to good use (a.k.a Radio Recordings, Lord of the Rings and Lego).
However, with so much time on my hands a lot becomes wasted and even more squandered on useless and pointless tasks. One example that immediately pops to mind is the three hours I spent building and Lego TARDIS…
With live recordings of ‘John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme’ series 4 on the horizon, John and co set off to Kensington Library to ‘try-out’ some material for the new series in his second ‘Library Edition’.
Joining John were his co-stars Simon Kane and Carrie Quinlan. The content for this ‘try-out’ was mainly revamped material from the first library edition, with a few new sketches thrown in. It was great to hear the wonderful ‘Belgium is the Best’ song again, this time with Susannah Pearce on piano as well as sketches like Victor Hugo sharing his book with Quasimodo and The ‘Wallabies’ family.
We also got to hear a revised version of john’s latest ‘So you ask Me’, possibly one of his best yet. After the show I got some autographs from the cast including Carrie Quinlan, Susannah Pearce, Simon Kane and, the man himself, John Finnemore!
The series will be broadcast in October on BBC Radio 4.
A few weeks ago I travelled up to BBC Radio Theatre to witness the recording of another episode of ‘Welcome to Our village, Please Invade Carefully’. The show is centred around a small English Village which has been taken over by aliens. The residents have been completely cut off from the outside world and their every move is monitored by the alien commander; Uljabaan. However it turns out that the only thing the residents really care about is the state of their allotments and making arrangements for the annual village fair.
The series stars Hattie Morahan as Katrina Lyons; the protagonist and only person who wants to escape from the aliens. Also starring is Hannah Murray as Lucy; Katrina’s only companion on her bid to escape, Peter Davison and Jan Francis as Katrina’s parents and Charlie Edwards as Field Commander Uljabaan; the Alien Captain.
The third episode of the second series revolved around preparations for the village fête with Jan Francis’ Margaret Lyons taking centre stage in planning the festivities. Meanwhile Hannah Murray’s Lucy discovered her talent for singing and playing the guitar, prompting Katrina to launch a plan to have Lucy sing anti-propaganda songs against their alien captors.
The episode was excellent and a great addition to the series. Hannah Murray proved her worth with some great singing whilst guest musician Grace Petrie was superb on the guitar. Afterwards I met most of the cast and got an autograph from THE DOCTOR!!! (Peter Davison)
“What’s this? A radio (YAY!) sitcom (YAAY!) starring Peter Davison (YAAAY!) and Hannah Murray (YAAAAY)? Of course I flippin’ want to go and see that.”
…was my reaction to seeing tickets for ‘Welcome to Our Village’ appear online. Welcome to Our Village is a sitcom for BBC Radio 4 (originally Radio 2) based around a group of aliens invading a small, traditional English village. The cast includes Peter Davison (THE DOCTOR!), Hannah Murray (Cassie from Skins), Jan Francis (who reads the Famous Five audiobooks) and Hattie Morahan (Jane in Outnumbered).
Although I had heard some dodgy reviews about the first series, the second was amazing! The first episode (Series 2 Episode 1) centered around the series leads Katrina and Lucy (Morahan and Murray) attempting the escape from the village, provoking the alien leader Uljabaan to seize the village allotments to grow murderous plants. The second episode (Series 2 Episode 3) deals with the aliens’ computer getting a new hobby; joining in with the village pub quiz!
After the show I met some of the cast however The Doctor (alias Peter Davison) managed to escape my grasp. However I did meet Hannah Murray who was THE NICEST PERSON IN THE WORLD, Hattie Morahan and John Luke-Roberts (the computer). I also spoke with Ed Morrish the producer (who also produces John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme).
The second series of ‘Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully’ airs later this year on BBC Radio 4.