have you ever been to a live recording of a radio show at the bbc?.. if you haven’t, and if you’re ever around london you could give it a go. it’s free and a lot of fun. you just sign up on their website http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/ then tick the types of programs you’d be interested in. sooner or later you’ll get invited along.
one of the neat things is the beautiful building itself.. on arrival you wait in a cafe where a soundproof glass wall overlooks that big room you see on the ten o’clock news…you get a birds eye view of the bees beavering away before they usher you into the very theatre where kenneth williams and peter sellers recorded all those great radio shows. most of all it’s just a gas witnessing performers nail it to the wall for future broadcast.
the thing we went to see being recorded was a radio4 comedy called ‘hangups’. apparently it comes on just before the archers, so i guess it gets a fairly large listenership. it’s about a son living in london calling home to sheffield on the phone to his parents and grandmother. the script was brimming with proper punchlines.
you’re given the full nine yards.. a warm up performance that lubricates a live audience into a laughing mood.. then the recording of the actual shows, and finally a rerecording of the few little bits where they’ve buggered things up.
the fella who wrote the scrip, taking central character comes from sheffield. he looks a lot like frank zappa and was a real sweetheart. he performed the warm up too, all keen for his work to go good. his name is tom wrigglesworth.
proof of what a sweetheart he is comes in a story i found on the dolly-net of how one day he was riding a train from manchester headed to london, where an old lady was being challenged by a heartless ticket inspector who attempted to make her buy a new full price ticket…tom intervened and got other willing passengers to do a whip round to pay for her new ticket,but the jobsworth ticket inspector then arranged for tom to be arrested on arrival at euston on the grounds of begging. the other passengers became embroiled and stood firm on the side of good, so all ended well….the whole experience became material for one of his first comedy shows.
tom now lives in london where i’m guessing is a full time employee of the bbc…i liked his northern yorkshire sheffield barnsley manchester accent…it’s heartwarming to hear those kind of voices peppered among the spectrum of accents around london town.