Friday, 15 May 2015

Radio Review: 15 May

A surreal, scabrous and superb return to the 1990s

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176At the time of writing, I had no idea who would be running the country. Of course, the Tories won but sitting there on election day, I did know that Adam Cumiskey, one of the duty editors running Radio 4’s results coverage, went to work in a tabard with ‘TODAY PRO GRAMME ’ embroidered on it. He believes this to be a first for the whole network and is quietly hopeful it will catch on.

Having predicted the future, let’s return to the past. Last Friday at 10.30pm, Radio 4 Extra began repeating Victor Lewis- Smith’s surreal, scabrous and superb Radio 1 series from the early 1990s. The shows were an everyday tale of a rogue broadcaster, exiled from Loose Ends, living in his ‘luxury York penthouse flat’ with his charlady Mrs Tribley and his pet whippet. Also chronicled were his dealings with Jewish gynaecologist Dr Dreyfus and Chinese restaurant proprietor Mr Lao-Tzu.

Outside the sitcom element, Lewis-Smith (and his coconspirator Paul Sparks ‘of Dagenham by Fords’) send up TV, radio and music something rotten, including a devastating take-down of That’s Life! (that’s in show three if they’re retaining the original order). There are also prank phone calls (when they were still funny), including one to Harrods complaining about a vacuum cleaner being unable to ‘suck the dust off sausages’. Well, quite.

The only question is how much will be edited out. I can think of a sketch spoofing Jim’ll Fix It that’s probably gone, which would be a shame as it’s incredibly funny and alludes to the allegations against Jimmy Savile a clear 20 years before they were made public. If you have a mildly filthy mind and a warped sense of humour, you must listen.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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