Friday, 05 February 2016

Radio Review: 5 February

An editing decision spoils a feast of classic comedy

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176It’s hard not to feel incredibly sorry for Robin Colvill of comedy group The Grumbleweeds. In the days when a good Jimmy Savile impersonation guaranteed regular work for a mimic, Colvill was hands down the best. Colvill’s still performing, but a significant element of his repertoire has to be absent.

I was reminded of this last week, when I caught a repeat of the second part of Comedy Greats: The Eighties on Radio 4 Extra. This Barry Cryer-hosted compilation, originally transmitted in 2009, contained an edition of The Grumbleweeds’ radio show, co-written and produced by the much-missed Mike Craig up at the Playhouse in Hulme, the BB C’s original Northern comedy powerhouse.

The show was preceded by an ominous announcement that it had been edited since its original transmission, and straight away, I knew that at least one of the cuts would involve Colvill’s peerless Jim’ll. Checking my recording of the original transmission (my hoarding sometimes comes in handy), it turned out to be Savile interviewing Olympic hopeful Wilf ‘Gasmask’ Grimshaw, who had just lost the 100 metres by going the wrong way.

I understand but disagree with the arguments for removing Savile from archive material. Are we trying to pretend he didn’t exist? Certain newspapers would leap on the BB C if it transmitted anything connected to Savile, but are happy to illustrate articles with massive pictures of him at his most bizarre and sinister.

Thankfully, what was left was gloriously silly. Joke classified ads being read out in the voice of Max Wall, an edition of Come Dancing where the East West Midlands danced the tango on whoopee cushions, baby-faced Graham Walker as Frank Sinatra trying to find his false teeth. No, I can’t grumble about that little lot. 

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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