Comedy of the Week

Comedy of the Week

United Kingdom

Brighten your week with the latest BBC Radio 4 comedy. Comedians including Mark Thomas and Tom Wrigglesworth alongside classic shows such as Just A Minute and Ed Reardon.


16th January 17: Sam Simmons Is Not A People Person (Ep 1 & 2)  

Comedian. Writer. Ex-Zoo Keeper. Bird Watcher. Definitely NOT a people person. Sam and Henry are making a series about birds, and every week - armed with Sam's 'Big Book of Birds' they're looking for a different one. Sadly, and despite Henry's very best efforts, Sam keeps being distracted by the people they run into. Each encounter sparks an investigation into Sam's past, because once they've sorted out his issues, then they'll really be able to focus on the bird-watching. The unique talents of the multi-award winning Sam Simmons have landed on BBC Radio 4. “If you can imagine someone combining the rage of Basil Fawlty with the lunacy of Spike Milligan you are getting somewhere close to Simmons. Painfully frank, riotously inventive and a deserving award winner.” The Evening Standard (UK) Written by and starring SAM SIMMONS With: HENRY PAKER SARAH KENDALL MIKE WILMOT FREYA PARKER Sound design by CRAIG SCHUFTAN Producers JOSEPH NUNNERY ALEXANDRA SMITH A BBC Studios Production.

9th January 17: John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme (Series 6, Ep 2)  

John Finnemore, writer and star of Cabin Pressure and John Finnemore’s Double Acts and regular guest on The Now Show and The Unbelievable Truth, returns for a sixth series of his multi-award-winning Souvenir Programme, joined as ever by Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Simon Kane, Lawry Lewin, and Carrie Quinlan. John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme was described by The Radio Times as “the best sketch show in years, on television or radio”, and by The Daily Telegraph as “funny enough to make even the surliest cat laugh”. Already the winner of a BBC Audio Drama Award and a Radio Academy Silver Award, John was named the 2016 Radio Broadcaster of the Year by the Broadcasting Press Guild for his work on Souvenir Programme. 2/6 This week on Souvenir Programme, John makes a decision on behalf of the nation; delivers an unusual rhythm; and has a bright idea about money. And, well... Since you ask him for a tale of strange transformations... Written by & starring … John Finnemore Cast … Margaret Cabourn-Smith Cast … Simon Kane Cast … Lawry Lewin Cast … Carrie Quinlan Producer … Ed Morrish A BBC Studios Production.

2nd January 17: State of the Nations (Ep 1)  

Star of BBC3’s Josh and Radio 4 News Quiz regular Elis James hosts four stand-up shows from the four nations of the United Kingdom which explore what it means to be variously Welsh, English, Scottish and Northern Irish in today’s United Kingdom. For the first programme in the series, Elis visits The Lyric theatre in his home town of Carmarthen where he is joined by Tudur Owen, Mike Bubbins and Kiri Pritchard-McLean to hear their thoughts on Wales and Welshness. Producer: Richard Morris A BBC Studios Production

Just A Minute Does Panto!  

2017 marks Just A Minute's 50th year, and what better way to kick off the celebrations by combining the longest-running panel show with another great British institution – the pantomime! In Just A Minute Does Panto! Nicholas Parsons is joined by Just A Minute regulars, Paul Merton Sheila Hancock and Gyles Brandreth, as they journey through Panto-land in search of the missing Just A Minute Golden Whistle! Their companions on their quest include, Tom Allen, Pippa Evans, Tony Hawks, Rufus Hound and Julian Clary. The show flits between the scripted pantomime sections when the team are on their quest and the usual off-the-cuff game of Just A Minute. There’ll be adventure! Genies! Panto dames! Goodies! Baddies! Audience Participation! But above all, at the heart of it, a cracking game of the nation’s favourite comedy show - Just A Minute!

BONUS: The Tim Vine Christmas Chat Show  

Fresh from a critically acclaimed Radio 4 debut in 2016 (“A delightful show full of laugh-out-loud moments in which Vine’s razor sharp wit and warmth shine through” Radio Times) The Tim Vine Chat Show returns for a one-off Christmas Special. Polish off your Boxing Day leftovers and tune in for an early evening treat as Tim talks to the Great British Public about their favourite Christmas memories. Expect a brand new house band taking over from The Conkers ("they had a string of hits") and some more preposterous games to play along with at home. The guests (who are plucked from the audience on the night of recording) include a former air hostess from the land of Santa Claus, a budding Widow Twanky and a man with a nail-biting story about brussels sprouts. Join internationally acclaimed stand-up Tim for the one sure-fire way of topping up your quota of cracker jokes this Christmas. Producer: Richard Morris A BBC Studios Production

26th December 16: Just a Minute does Panto!  

2017 marks Just A Minute's 50th year, and what better way to kick off the celebrations by combining the longest-running panel show with another great British institution – the pantomime! In Just A Minute Does Panto! Nicholas Parsons is joined by Just A Minute regulars, Paul Merton Sheila Hancock and Gyles Brandreth, as they journey through Panto-land in search of the missing Just A Minute Golden Whistle! Their companions on their quest include, Tom Allen, Pippa Evans, Tony Hawks, Rufus Hound and Julian Clary. The show flits between the scripted pantomime sections when the team are on their quest and the usual off-the-cuff game of Just A Minute. There’ll be adventure! Genies! Panto dames! Goodies! Baddies! Audience Participation! But above all, at the heart of it, a cracking game of the nation’s favourite comedy show - Just A Minute! CREDITS Just A Minute was chaired by Nicholas Parsons The panel were: Paul Merton Sheila Hancock Gyles Brandreth Tony Hawks Tom Allen Rufus Hound Pippa Evans The Genie was played by Julian Clary The pantomime script was written by Gyles Brandreth with additional material by Paul Merton and Matt Stronge The Composer was Susannah Pearson The lyrics to 'All About You' were written by Jenny Laville The Musical Director was Tim Sutton The live band was: Tim Sutton - Piano Katie Punter - Flute/Alto Sax Mark White - Trumpet/Flugelhorn Tim Maple - Guitar Tim Weller - Drums Nick Allen - Cello The Production Coordinator was Hayley Sterling The Producer was Matt Stronge Just A Minute was devised by Ian Messiter Just A Minute Does Panto! is a BBC Studios production.

19th December 16: Desolation Jests (Ep 1)  

David Jason stars alongside John Bird, Jan Ravens and Rory Bremner in David Renwick’s dark and quirky new comedy sketch show that takes a not-altogether-factual look at the history of comedy…. What comedy sketches would you most want at your side to face the end of the world? This week interviewer J.P Doom interviews Frankie “Flesh Eater” Harris about a life at the top of the Most Wanted list, and discusses what sketch-based chuckles he would choose to lighten his heart if he found himself stranded in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The show includes clips from spurious comedy greats such as Mace and Dixon’s “the Fiancée of Frankenstein” sketch; the ultimate Mastermind parody from Jenkin Spleen and Helena Handcart; and the fast-talking lunacy of the Klutz Brothers' classic “A Day at the Proctologists”. Cast: David Jason John Bird Jan Ravens Rory Bremner Produced by Gareth Edwards Production Coordinator: Sophie Richardson It was a BBC Studios Production.

12th December 16: Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD  

In his debut solo Radio 4 show, comedian Thom Tuck recounted heart-rending tales of loves lost while drawing comparisons with 54 Straight-to-DVD Disney movies he'd watched, so we don't ever have to. Thom now turns his attention to other genres of Straight-to-DVD movies - seeking out further underrated gems and drawing parallels with captivating personal tales from his own life experience, backed by cinematic music, so we can rest easy. In this fourth and final episode, Thom looks at the bright lights of Bollywood: love triangles, comedy and dare devil thrills all set to a background of songs and dancing in a melodramatic extravaganza, a synopsis which heavily influence Thom's stories of his upbringing in Bangladesh. "...a seductive experience" The Guardian Produced by Lianne Coop. First broadcast in 2013.

5th December 16: Women Talking About Cars (Ep 1)  

Victoria Coren Mitchell interviews Dawn French in the first of a new series in which famous women look at their lives from the perspective of the cars they have known, the journeys they've been on and the things they keep in their boot for emergencies. Hear what Dawn wrote on the back of her first car; find out which comedian totalled her beloved Cortina; and discover the advantages of the refrigerated glove compartment. Car descriptions read by Josette Simon. A BBC Studios production.

28th November 16: Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar (Ep1)  

The Godfather of Alternative Comedy delivers a mixture of stand-up, memoir and philosophy from behind the counter of his Imaginary Sandwich Bar. Episode 1 - Pretending & Sandwiches Alexei explores his impulse to pretend and love of sandwiches. Along the way he reveals the little known origin of the prawn cocktail, debunks the myth that the Earl of Sandwich was the first person to put a bit of meat between two slices of bread and discusses the hidden depths of Taylor Swift. Written and performed by Alexei Sayle Original music and lyrics by Tim Sutton Produced by Joe Nunnery A BBC Studios Production

21 Nov 16: Clare in the Community (Series 11, Ep 1)  

Episode 1 - Fight Them On The Beaches Clare is in charge of a day at the seaside for some elderly residents of the estate. They turn out to be a bit more feisty than the Sparrowhawk team were expecting, which makes it tricky for Clare to impress her new student, Cilla. Back at home, Brian is coaching Nali for a musical audition. Sally Phillips is Clare Barker the social worker who has all the right jargon but never a practical solution. A control freak, Clare likes nothing better than interfering in other people's lives on both a professional and personal basis. Clare is in her thirties, white, middle class and heterosexual, all of which are occasional causes of discomfort to her. Each week we join Clare in her continued struggle to control both her professional and private life In today's Big Society there are plenty of challenges out there for an involved, caring social worker. Or even Clare. Cast: Clare: SALLY PHILLIPS Brian: ALEX LOWE Nali: NINA CONTI Ray: RICHARD LUMSDEN Libby: SARAH KENDALL Joan: SARAH THOM Mrs Singh: NINA WADIA Cilla: GBEMISOLA IKUMELO Pauline: CLARE PERKINS Dotty: ALISON BELBIN Geoff: SEAN BAKER Written by Harry Venning and David Ramsden Producer Alexandra Smith A BBC Studios production

14 November 16: Rich Hall's (US Election) Breakdown (Ep 4)  

Multi award-winning comedian and US Citizen Rich Hall follows the closing stages of the US Presidential race, offering an acerbic look at the electoral system and the two candidates vying for the most important job in the world. A combination of stand-up, sketch and interview, Rich Hall’s (US Election) Breakdown broadcasts live from the fictional IBBC network in Washington to the whole of the United States. Rich and his producer Nick Doody take calls from every corner of the United States to hear the concerns of voters, offering their take on the issues troubling the American electorate. A BBC Studios Production

07 November 16: Dr John Cooper Clarke At The BBC (Ep 1)  

The Bard of Salford performs a mixture of classic and previously unheard poems, recorded at the BBC’s Radio Theatre in London. Ep 1 - Twisted Romance Set List: I Married a Monster from Outta Space Attack of the 50 Foot Woman Avocado Vignette I Wanna Be Yours Written and performed by Dr John Cooper Clarke Introduction by Johnny Green Produced by Joe Nunnery A BBC Studios Production

31 October 2016: Incredible Women (Series 5, Omnibus)  

Rebecca Front (The Thick of It) and Jeremy Front (Charles Paris) bring five more Incredible Women to Radio 4. Jeremy spends 24 hours with Astrid the robot to find out whether he can distinguish her from a real woman. With special guest Professor Noel Sharkey. He gains access to the hallowed rehearsals and work in progress of enfant terrible of performance theatre, Bella Hayman, as she develops a new show for London's West End starring Maureen Lipman. Jeremy uncovers the truth behind the design empire run by Nessa Blackwater, whose kitsch humorous products you are bound to have somewhere in your house. With guest appearance by designer Wayne Hemingway. He meets Irina Stonkus, due shortly to become the first woman on Mars, with special guest Dr Kevin Fong. Jeremy lifts the lid on Sam Mann, one half of the 80s synth pop duo Christalle, as she takes her singing partner to court. With special guest appearance by Martin Kemp and Frances Barber. With cameo appearances from: Martin Kemp, Professor Noel Sharkey, Wayne Hemingway, Dr Kevin Fong and Maureen Lipman.

24 October 16: Mae Martin's Guide to 21st Century Sexuality (Ep 2)  

Canadian stand-up Mae Martin presents her debut series for BBC Radio 4. Combining wickedly astute social observations with personal references to her own unique upbringing, Mae's taking a funny, personal look at how millennials are transforming the way that society thinks about sexuality and gender. In this episode; Mae is single and ready to mingle regardless of your gender, as she looks at how labels might help or hinder people when it comes to defining their sexual identity, or if that's something that we should be trying to define it at all. Written and performed by Mae Martin. Script editor: Sarah Campbell Producer: Alexandra Smith A BBC Studios Production

17 October 16: Ed Reardon's Week (Series11, Ep 2)  

Episode 2: ‘All About Eve’ Ed Reardon leads us through the ups and downs of his University Week. Ed decides that the modern student seems to have a complete absence of healthy anti-authoritarian rage and determines to put this state of affairs right by contacting the student magazine. Current editor, Eve, is surprisingly pleased to see a fellow student, especially one offering to contribute, so hires Ed, who jumps at the £15 expenses per issue. So it is that Ed sets out to give Eve a taste of the hard boiled professional Fleet Street Life whilst stirring up the students. Cast list ep 2 Ed Reardon……….Christopher Douglas Olive………………..Stephanie Cole Pearl………………..Brigit Forsyth Frank…………….…Martin Hyder Jaz Milvain…….…..Philip Jackson Cliff…………………Geoff McGivern Ping…………….…..Barunka O’Shaughnessy Eve………………….Maya Sondhi Stan…………………Geoffrey Whitehead Written by Andrew Nickolds and Christopher Douglas Produced by Dawn Ellis

BONUS: Mark Steel's in Town (Gibraltar)  

Mark Steel's In Town - Gibraltar Mark Steel returns to Radio 4 for a seventh series of the award winning show that travels around the country, researching the history, heritage and culture of six towns that have nothing in common but their uniqueness, and performs a bespoke evening of comedy for the local residents. "I've done loads of these, but I've never done one where I couldn't get into my dressing room because of monkeys" In the last episode of the series, Mark visits the British overseas territory of Gibraltar where he performs in the spectacular setting of St Michael's Cave, inside The Rock. He explores Gibraltar's relationship with Spain, visits a British phone box, has some British fish and chips and encounters some not so British monkeys. In this series Mark visits Stockport in Greater Manchester, Colchester in Essex, Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire, The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames, Lynton in North Devon and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. Written and performed by ... Mark Steel Additional material by ... Pete Sinclair Production co-ordinator ... Hayley Sterling Producer ... Carl Cooper This is a BBC Radio Comedy Production

10 October 16: Lemn Sissay's Origin Stories (Ep 1)  

Batman was an orphan; Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was an orphan; Superman was an orphan and a foundling. Cinderella was a foster child. Darth Vader - well, they can't all be winners. Lemn Sissay returns to BBC Radio 4 with a comic and poetic look at the treatment of children raised in care, orphans and foster children in popular culture, comparing them with reality. Because it surely says something about how we view them that we create so many for fiction. Lemn will explore the gap between fiction and reality, based on his own experiences of growing up in care as well as those of some special guests. 1. THE BED UNDER THE STAIRS In this first episode, Lemn discusses his experiences as a foster child, comparing them to the life of Harry Potter. Like Harry, Lemn was never told the truth about what happened to his parents. Like Harry, he found his foster parents harsh and unforgiving. But, like Harry, he came through those problems, avoided the dementors, and grew up. As well as storytelling, comedy and poetry, Lemn imagines an interview with Vernon and Petunia Dursley - Harry's foster parents. Finally, they get to tell their side of the story. Written and performed by ... Lemn Sissay Vernon Dursley ... Geoff McGivern Petunia Dursley ... Alison Belbin Producer ... Ed Morrish Lemn Sissay is the author of six collections of poetry. He has also written plays for stage and BBC radio. His radio documentary Child of the State was nominated for the 2010 Sony Awards, and last year's two-part series for Radio 4, Lemn Sissay's Homecoming was described by The Spectator as "a poignant, mind-stretching half-hour ... This was truly innovative radio", and caused The Observer to remark, "What a thing to hear in Radio 4's 6.30pm slot - the sound of genuine happiness; also regret, anger, wonder, bursting from the radio with the unexpected exuberance of a child dancing at a chamber concert ... terrific radio". Lemn was the first poet to write for the Olympics 2012 and received an MBE for Services to Literature. He is associate artist at the Southbank Centre, an (hon) Doctor of Letters, and currently the Chancellor of the University of Manchester. If you should Google "Lemn Sissay" all the returning hits will be about him. There is only one person named Lemn Sissay in the world. LEMN SISSAY'S ORIGIN STORIES IS A BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTION.

03 October 16:It's Not What You Know (Series 4, Ep 1)  

Joe Lycett discovers how well a panel of celebrity guests know their nearest and dearest. This week Joe probes into the lives of Holly Walsh, Tim Lovejoy and Nish Kumar. Production coordinator: Emily Hallett Producer: Matt Stronge A BBC Studios production.

26 September 16: Just a Minute (Series 76, Ep 7)  

Nicholas Parsons and guests return for the 76th series of the panel show where participants must try to speak for 60 seconds without hesitation, deviation or repetition. No repetition? That's no small order after nearly 50 years. Paul Merton, now the second most prolific player of the game after Kenneth Williams, will be joined by guests including series regulars Josie Lawrence, Sheila Hancock, Marcus Brigstocke and Gyles Brandreth. Hayley Sterling blows the whistle. Produced by Matt Stronge.

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