One in the Breech

It started with a tweet highlighting an episode from On the Air, a series of short animations from BBC Northern Ireland of talk radio from The Gerry Anderson Show dating back to the 2000s. The hypno-hen soon went viral, and now the late broadcaster’s family have set up a website in his honour.

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2 October 2022

The Return of the Fringe

It’s August in Edinburgh, and I’ve found myself seeing more Fringe shows than I’ve been able to in a decade; last year (or was it 2019?) I caught Tony Law one lunchtime, and one or two Free Fringe shows with pals, and before that it was only one or two family-oriented shows a year when the kids were younger. I did okay in 2012, with a handful of adult-oriented comedy shows and more, but this was by far my busiest year since 2006, seeing shows with friends, the whole family, my son, and on my own. The Fringe has shaken off the pandemic (there weren’t many masks in most audiences); and even a bin strike, which turned the city centre into a heaving mass of litter and overflowing skips within 48 hours and is still going over a week later, didn’t dampen the mood in the sweaty venues themselves.

Underbelly, George Square
Underbelly, George Square, 5 August. Click through for more.

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28 August 2022

A Walk in the Black Forest

Tim Brooke-Taylor, one third of the legendary comedy trio The Goodies, has died of Covid-19. A contemporary and sometime-colleague of the Monty Python team, he appeared in the original version of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch on At Last the 1948 Show, and was also a member of the long-running BBC radio panel show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. But to a generation of children in Britain, Australia and elsewhere, he was the Union-Jack-waistcoat-wearing Tim from The Goodies, the BBC television comedy show that dominated the 1970s.

I’ve been feeling particularly bereft since seeing this news today, as Tim and the rest of the Goodies were giants of my childhood TV-viewing in Australia. I’d been rewatching some episodes with my daughter in recent months, and he was just as brilliant in them as I’d remembered, even if some episodes haven’t aged as well as others. On radio, he sounded as sharp as ever, well into his seventies.

Goodbye, you wonderful, funny man.

12 April 2020

Not Funny

The death of Terry Jones the other day left me wanting to write everything about what he meant to me as a young fan of comedy, which meant I ended up writing nothing. Here he is talking about his dementia in 2017. What a gift to us all his life and work were.

Commenting on the death of Nicholas Parsons is more manageable, if only because his legacy was more focussed. Growing up in Australia I knew him only from The Goodies, where he was a regular target of jokes—affectionate ones, I realised in hindsight, although they were clearly having a go at a side of him that came across (from a younger man) as smarmy and patronising. After moving to the UK I grew to love listening to him on Just a Minute, and am glad I was able to do so for almost two decades; how extraordinary that that was less than half of his reign on the show.

31 January 2020