Discovering radio comedy

During a recent spate of illness and subsequent boredom I found myself scouring the BBC iplayer for to pass the time.
Having exhausted almost every TV show on the site and seen every documentary on the sex lives of narwhals that i could handle I switched to listening to the radio shows.

My Experience of radio drama was pretty limited up to this point being only aware of absolute classics such as The Goon Show and Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy (both of which are amongst my favourite things of all time and are massive influences on my sense of humour.) As a result of this I had no idea what to expect, but soon found a horde of phantasmically fantastic programmes.

Firstly I’ve been getting into a lot of the book adaptations on there, I heard a great version of Terry Pratchetts Guards Guards, which is one of my favourite discworld books anyway. Also theres currently versions of Arthur C Clarkes Rendezvous with Rama and JG Ballards The Drowned World, which are both really enjoyable, and both were on my ridiculously long “need to read” list (I have lists for everything), so I figure I can bump them down a few notches at least.

The main discoveries in an “oh your god why didn’t I know about this before?!” kind of way however were:

Old Harry’s Game: This is an absolutely brilliant sit-com written by and starring Andy Hamilton set in Hell and following Satans relationships with various members of the damned. Its dark, twisted and viciously satirical. The second season is currently being played on Radio 7 whilst the current seventh season is on radio 4.

The Mark Steel Lectures: Ok, I’ve actually been aware of this one for a while having seen the TV adaptation of this and being fairly familiar with Mark Steel anyway. Basically Mark Steel is amazing. He’s a stand up comedian who talks in a hilarious but really informative way about various topics like politics, philosophy and history. The Lectures are his talks about the biographies of great historical figures.

and finally the best of all my finds

All the planets wonders (in detail) written and performed by Josie Long, is more than slightly magic. Its a freewheeling surreal look at…stuff, stay with me here each episode is vaguely themed but its done in such a hyperactive way it might take you till the end of the episode to work it out. Its filled with a fantastic optimistic humour which is fantastically original and actually pretty mind blowing. If you check out any of the vast amount of things I’ve linked too and talked about in this post make it this. I’m going to do my best to try and see Josie Long doing some stand up as soon as I can.

So, now thats out of my system I can stop raving on about radio. It is good though.

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