Friday, 21 August 2015

Radio Review: 21 August

A 1970s comedy show is a cheesy slice of retro heaven

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176We’re all very lucky, you know. We are living in the same world at the same time as Barry Cryer. The last series of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue caused me to laugh heartily on numerous occasions, not least when Baz, in Uxbridge English Dictionary mode, defined ‘allocate’ as a way of greeting the Duchess of Cambridge.

Hello Cheeky, a quick-fire, corn-heavy 1970s comedy show featuring Cryer with John Junkin and Tim Brooke-Taylor, has been turning up now and then on Radio 4 Extra for years (currently Tuesdays), but it’s never unwelcome. How could anyone not be amused by a firing squad resembling The Golden Shot?

Unless, of course, you have no idea what The Golden Shot was. The same goes for the gag about the witch at her cauldron turning out to be Fanny Cradock, Aristotle Onassis ‘discussing which eight islands he’d take with him if he were stranded on a gramophone record’, and the running joke about Peter West struggling to pronounce Evonne Goolagong.

OK, I admit it: it helps to have been at least sentient in the 1970s to get the most out of Hello Cheeky. However, I grew up listening to Goon Shows and laughing merrily, even when I didn’t get the references. I looked them up or asked my grandparents. The show just sounded funny.

There’s a delightful edge of malice in a lot of the material, particularly the lines delivered by Junkin. I guffawed when he said, ‘Did you know that in 1965, Lionel Blair was told he would never dance again. And he hasn’t.’

It really doesn’t matter if you can see the punchline a mile off. When Junkin attempts to calm proceedings by announcing, ‘If this goes on, I shall have to introduce brute force’, you just know it’s going to result in a Bruce Forsyth impersonation. It’s still glorious when it happens.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net



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