Not Going Out Recording – Series 8

When it was announced that Lee Mack’s long running sitcom ‘Not Going Out’ was to end after its seventh series, audiences breathed a sigh of relief. The show may have won the BBC millions of viewers, been praised by critic for its multitude of one liners, and propelled he careers of its stars Lee Mack, Tim Vine, Katy Wix and Sally Bretton, yet frequent cast drop-outs and ever more predictable storylines were slowly having their effect.

The final episode, which featured the long-awaited yet un-expected marriage between Lee and Lucy, aired on Christmas Eve 2014, and the show was forever retired.

IMG_20160701_185809 - Copy.jpgOne year on and it seems the BBC is having problems commissioning new comedy. Not Going Out returned for a ‘one off’ Christmas special set one year after the finale. A couple of months after that, an eight series has been commissioned. So this’ll be fun!

The new series is set seven years after Lee and Lucy’s marriage. The two have moved out of their unrealistically-expensive London apartment to a semi-detached house in suburban Surrey. Surprise surprise they have children, three of them. Don’t bother learning their names though, the combination of strict child working laws and the show’s live audience recording slot means they appear about once an episode, and even then just to remind the audience they exist.

Katy Wix has moved on to bigger things, so Hugh Denis and Abigail Cruttenden (who had recurring roles in series seven) are promoted to series regulars. Some may argue a feuding, unhappily married couple are not the best additions to a light family drama, yet their characters are ideal for exploring the new, family setting of the show. Wait, didn’t they have a child last series, who should be seven by now??

IMG_20160701_185813 - Copy.jpgI attended one recording from the new series, yet it would be unfair to reveal specific plot points. The new format will definitely take some years to iron out, yet the change was necessary for a show stuck in such a repetitive loop. The new series will air later this year. For those who have seen ‘Not Going Out’ before, check it out. For those who haven’t, please please save yourself!

Tim Vine’s Chat Show Recording – Series 1

564eb9b5-e5eb-42d6-8852-c3d9c08f2a7dLast year my friends and I attended the recording of ‘Time Vine’s Chat Show’ a half hour comedy made for BBC Radio 2’s annual Comedy Showcase. The show was an immediate success, with the BBC investing in a full series of the show to air this summer (now on BBC Radio 4). We returned to hear the first episode of the new series being recorded.

So the show (recorded at BBC Broadcasting House) starts with Vine giving a monologue, filled with his signature, quick-fire jokes and puns. Then comes the main part of the show, where Vine brings up members of the audience, whom he interviews. He asks the guests about their jobs (we had a HR manager for a Christian charity), funny stories they have (like a guy who once pretended to be in a band) and fills any breathing room with more [improvised] jokes. About six of these interviews were recorded, four of which should appear in the episode.

Vine intercut the show with more audience participation games, in which he came to the masterful conclusion that half the audience was retired, and some comedic songs. These we’rent the strongest part of the show yet really showcased Vine’s wide talent and fun-loving personality, which is always a bonus.

078fe6fc-5e30-42c2-b55c-367f63e8cb85Overall I thought both the show and format were great, really building upon the introduction it got last year. Whilst I can’t see the show lasting years such as Radio 4’s staples ‘The Unbelievable Truth’ and the like, I’m sure it will be enjoyed.

And here I am with my friends and the man himself!

Some Famous People

My blogging activity has sadly decreased recently, however that’s not to say I haven’t attended plenty of radio recordings at the BBC. To summarise, here are a few of the famous people I’ve met in the last few months.

Tim Vine

I met comedian Tim Vine in October, when he was recording ‘Tim Vine’s Chat Show’ a one-off stand-up performance for BBC Radio 2’s annual comedy gala. The show consisted of an unending stream of one liners from Vine, interrupted only by brief interviews with members of the audience, including my friend Amber.

Tim VineJessica Hynes

Jessica Hynes, the star of Spaced, Twenty Twelve, W1A with guest roles in Skins, Doctor Who and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Hynes was hosting an episode of ‘With Great Pleasure’, a showcase of the host’s favourite passages and poems, back in July. She was in a rush after the show but managed to sign a few items for me.

Jessica HynesCyril Nri

Cyril was reading in Jessica’s episode of ‘With Great Pleasure’ and signed some photographs for me after the show. I know him from his guest appearance in the Sarah Jane Adventures and his leading role in Cucumber.

Cyril NriAlex MacQueen

Alex was features in ‘The King’s Men’, another comedy commission for Radio 2’s comedy gala. He seemed to me a very lovely man, posing for a photograph after the show. As a fan of Doctor Who I know him as the Master, appearing in Big Finish radio dramas since 2012.

Alex MacqueenIsy Suttie

The comedian and star of Peep Show has recently taken over as host of ‘Sketchorama’, a radio show that showcases performances from various sketch groups. Also a lovely person, she signed for me and discussed the recording of Peep Show and its [then] upcoming final series.

Isy Suttie

The Lentil Sorters Recording – Episodes 3 & 4

So Cabin Pressure’s finished, My First Planet too by the looks of things. Milton Jones is slowly going out of fashion and Bigipedia is forgotten by pretty much everyone. So what is Pozzitive Productions, the company behind this excellent array of radio sitcoms, to do with itself now? The answer is of course create new programs, about governmental statistic offices.

Lentil SortersYup that’s the setting for ‘The Lentil Sorters’. It focusses on the day-to-day workings of the Office of Local & National Statistics. It has impressive cast including Cucumber’s Vincent Franklin, as statistic-obsessed Graham, Rebekah Staton (Mother of Mine in Doctor Who) as democratic Audrey, Cabin Pressure’s Kieran Hodgson as master manipulator Daniel, and Spaced’s Julia Deakin as Mrs Wilkins; the tea lady.

Lentil SortersAnd these four, well, they get up to some pretty crazzzzzzy stuff to find the statistics they need and get the reports in on time. They certainly don’t stop short of using their knowledge to win bets in illegal dog fights, or breaking into the houses of a man’s dodgy tea growing business.

Despite the unusual setting, this sitcom has a certain feel about it, that feeling you get when you know a show can go far if only the audience warm to it. It’s a feeling I never had about Pozzitive’s recent success; the Brig Society (get it? ‘cos it’s crap). It will be interesting to see how it’s received when it airs this autumn.

Vincent FranklinAfterwards, I got autographs from the actors, all of whom were delightful. I also managed to get a script signed by the main cast, and all the guest actors. That was nice 🙂

It’s Not What You Know Recording – Series 3

One mild mannered host, three or four vaguely amusing guests, and a nice table. The format for panel shows is pretty frickin’ generic, probably the reason they appear so much in Radio 4’s comedy schedule. It was therefore quite nice for me, to attend the recording of a panel show, which actually had some individuality.

It's Not What You Know ‘It’s Not What You Know’ features radio veteran Miles Jupp as its host, and features guests trying to answer questions with the same answers as pre-recorded answers given by their friends or family. Additionally, the game is interlaced with wonderfully written jokes performed by Jupp, making the whole affair very amusing indeed.

PannelistsAt the recording I attended comedian Sarah Millican, Radio 4’s Nathan Caton and Pointless’ Richard Osman featured as guests. It was rather amusing to see the sense of humour clashes going on between the panellists. Whilst Jupp and Osman preferred, let’s say more sophisticated jokes, Caton and Millican’s were overly sexual and sometimes even crude. It’s not to say they weren’t amusing though and hearing Osman’s reactions to some of the comments was hilarious.

Miles JuppThe guests all performed well, I can’t say who won for spoiler reasons though. Sadly the broadcast is only 30 minutes long, a length that does not do justice to the sheer amount of jokes made. Go to the recordings everyone!

Richard OsmanAfterwards I met Jupp, Caton and Osman, although Sarah Millican slipped through my fingers. What wonderful people, and a wonderful program too. The show will be broadcast later this year.

News Quiz and Newsjack Recordings

The thing with growing older and starting to care about the fate of the world, is that you actually understand the political jokes on Radio 4!… or so I’ve been told.

So I’ve been to two more radio recordings recently; The News Quiz and Newsjack, and I’ll be reviewing both of them here in a crazy cross-over post! Oh how exciting.

News Quiz

The News Quiz Series 86, Episode 1

When all looks bleak and empty, along comes Sandi Toksvig to brighten up your [life] bringing yet another series of everyone’s favourite topical panel show; the News Quiz. As a new series started her guests were Jeremy Hardy, Susan Calman, Samira Ahmed (a journalist) and Phil Jupitus. The topics under discussion varied nicely, with politics (wooo!) getting a fair dollop of airtime, as did the fate of the BBC and Susan Calman’s internet browsing habits. Whilst it’s fair to say most of Phil Jupitus’ jokes fell flat, Sandi did make one hilarious joke concerning the nation’s unemployed.

News Quiz“I’m sure we can find plenty of things for the unemployed to do, marrying Stephen Fry for example.”

I met Toksvig, Hardy, Calman and Ahmed after the show; for autographs and banter!

News Quiz Autographs

Newsjack Series 12, Episode 6

And so comes to an end Nish Kumar’s first series as host of Newsjack. I won’t lie, I was sceptical at his casting but he’s done surprisingly well. Whilst it’s hard for anyone to reach the level of Justin Edwards, he’s certainly put 2014’s Romesh Ranganathan to shame.

Newsjack - Nish KumarAnyways, the episode was highly politics-based with the upcoming election parodied on so many different fronts. We were also treated to some racist James Bond, sexual pandas and of course some witty witty one-liners.

Autographs followed the show, obviously, and many of the cast signed by increasingly crowded chopping board (don’t worry, you’ll see it eventually).

NesjackBoth shows will return later in the year, for now though we’ll have to content ourselves with… the election!

Chain Reaction Recording – Olivia Colman and Sharon Horgan

Back in October 2014 (I have oft said that my writing habits are somewhat irregular) I visited the Beeb once again to see a recording of Chain Reaction, featuring comedian Sharon Horgan and the face of British television; Olivia Colman.

Sharon Horgan
The producers of Chain Reaction call it a ‘tag team interview show’ with each interviewee becoming the interviewer in the next episode. The series has had some big names attached to it in the past with this series featuring Derren Brown, Reece Shearsmith and comedy duo Vic and Bob.

Olivia Colman
In this episode comedian Sharon Horgan (currently starring in Channel Four’s Catastrophe) was being interviewed by the one and only Olivia Colman (star of Rev, Broadchurch, Green Wing, Doctor Who, Twenty Twelve and pretty much everything else on TV). The questions, written by Colman herself (what a woman!) were diverse, covering everything from her writing environment to her relationship with the cast of Pulling. It was an entertaining interview I must admit, but then it would have to be, surely.

Me and Olivia ColmanAfter the show Horgan slipped through my fingers, damn, but I did meet and talk to the lovely Olivia Colman, who posed for photo and signed autographs for me and my friends. What a lovely woman! I mean, who doesn’t love Olivia Colman?