Jumping Jack (News)Flash

Newsflash!  Newsjack is returning – nay, at the time of going to press, has already returned – to Radio 4 Extra.  Yes, that cross between Weekending and The Now Show, the nursery slopes for would-be satirical sketch-writers, is back and looking for contributors.  Say no more: I immediately pulled out my pad and began scribbling.  I have often thought, when listening to The Now Show or The News Quiz, ‘giz a job – I can do that’ – but needless to say the ideas that occur to you as spin-offs need more than a little honing before they are fit to stand up by themselves and take part in a radio show.

My first efforts were, alas, out of date since the news stories bumping around in my head were not the latest.  But it’s all good practice and in the end I sent in a sketch where two journalists try to make sense of Theresa May’s current leadership strategy.  If it doesn’t get on I’ll reproduce it here; if it does, you can listen next Thursday evening.

Here are the jokes I rejected.  Like the fish John West reject, I’m hoping they make my fish the best *

‘Reports are coming in that the divorce bill between soap star Brit Anya and her former lover Hugh Rope has risen to between £55 and 75 billion.  Both sides disupte the figures; meanwhile their offspring have all been repealed, resulting in another Great Bill which will be divided among fans of the star.  Jeremy Corbyn the Leader of the Opposition has offered to give some of the offspring a home, though it is not clear now many as a Party is still going on in his House.’

‘Meanwhile there are reports that leading Liberal Democrats have spent the summer on Dover Beach trying to push back the tide, to the accompaniment of a Green chorus singing what about us? and this is a Green tragedy.’

‘Rupert Murdoch was last night sent to bed without any supper because he had had a full-blown tantrum after learning that he couldn’t put the Sky into his toy box.  His mother Theresa said he had too many toys already.  Commentators believe that the 86-year-old is afraid he will never earn any money or amount to anything.’

I’ll keep you posted.

Kirk out

*though all my gags are of course 100% vegetarian

Bleak Expectations and Misrepresentations

I have long been exercised by radio comedy; and specifically, by the state of the 6.30 slot on radio 4.  Now at this point I was all set to go into a rant, but I thought I’d better check my facts first.  And the fact is, it’s officially Not As Bad As I Thought.  So last week’s schedule was:

Monday – Just a Minute (always good)

Tuesday – the dreaded Pam Ayres (awful awful awful)

Wednesday – Somebody I’ve Never Heard of recreating an 18th-century bet (?? weird)

Thursday – Ed Reardon’s Week (not bad)

Friday – The News Quiz (much better than HIGNFY on TV)

So – erm – now the wind has been somewhat taken out of my sails and I’m left with a rant looking for a subject.

What I can say is that putting aside my views on the dreaded Ayres (on which I have blogged sufficiently of late) there is Far Too Much of This Sort of Thing – the most recent offering, The Case Book of Max and Ivan, which proved utterly lame.  I can’t understand it.  I was initially quite excited by this one as it featured June Whitfield as Dame Celia Deeply-Inappropriate.  Aha!  I thought.  June Whitfield! I thought.  A preposterous double-barrelled surname! I thought.  Perhaps this is in the same vein as the Dickens spoof, Bleak Expectations? I wondered.

It wasn’t.  Utter turgid tosh, in my opinion, June Whitfield notwithstanding.

How is it that woman keeps going?

But at last! there is hope on the horizon, for as I said the other day, Dead Ringers is back and yay! It is replacing the dreaded Ayres.

I wish I’d looked after me schedule…

Kirk out


But Is It News?

Oh noooooooooooo!  I just heard the first few seconds of The Archers omnibus today and it went something like this:

Ruth:  Oh Deh-vid!  Than’ god!  Are yew all reit?

David: Yes, we’re all fine!

Ruth:  And the boiys?

David:  Fine, all fine.  But Freda’s in hospital.

Ruth:  Oah noah!

At which point I turned it off.  It just proves my point from yesterday, that soaps have to keep inventing more and more disasters to retain people’s interest; unfortunately I no longer cared what calamity had caused Ruth and David to have this conversation.  Turns out it was a flood.


Oh Noah!


But is it news?  This is the question I’ve been asking myself today – not about the Archers, but about various comedy programmes which generally Take the Piss out of the news.  The best of these on offer right now is Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, which as far as I’m concerned, er – wipes the floor with Have I Got News for You and its radio counterpart, The News Quiz.  I think HIGNFY has got predictable these days; a bit formulaic.  We more or less know which news items are going to come up and what they are going to say about them.  Much sharper was The Day Today, a very clever programme which took the mickey out of the style of news programmes rather than their content: the whizzy graphics, the kind of language the newscasters use (‘news-speak’?) and so on:


It was very funny but it’s in the nature of these things to have a limited shelf-life and so it only ran for one series.  Alan Partridge’s career as sports reporter began on The Day Today.

But astonishingly that was 20 years ago – and now comes Charlie Brooker with his brand of humour which is not so much irreverent as downright blasphemous.  Charlie Brooker – like Jeremy Clarkson, now that I come to think of it – doesn’t give a toss.  He doesn’t mince words or try to avoid offending anyone; for example he describes Fifty Shades of Grey’s Christian Grey as a ‘sort of lego Colin Firth who initially seems like any other besuited piss-hat but it transpires he has predilections as appears when he turns up at Anastasia’s DIY store in what closely resembles a Two Ronnies tribute.’

That is just about two seconds of the tightly-packed wit that bursts forth from this programme.  You have to listen carefully to get it all, and I just laugh through each of its 28 minutes.  There’s a ‘Day-Today’ type bit in the middle of this episode when they talk about how numbers are taking over everywhere – but then it goes kinda weird.  We are both sure (hubby and I, that is) that we’ve seen the item about ISIS before.  And I think what happened was that they had a spot lined up all about Clarkson and they were told to pull it out at the last minute (fnarr, fnarr!) because the whole ‘did-he-or-didn’t-he-punch-a-producer-oh-wait-he’s-sort-of-admitted-it-in-an-I-don’t-give-a-toss-way) fiasco.

Or farrago.  Or something.

So we reckon he had to replace said Clarkson item by a previously-broadcast bit on ISIS.

Anyway, here’s the latest programme:


Kirk out

Thinking Inside the Box

I am getting rid of our boxes today, all being well: they have overrun the sunlounge for too long now and are to be freecycled to someone who is also moving house.  I was going to keep them but frankly if we do have to move again after a year (which God forbid) I will get hold of some Proper Boxes and not pack things in dribs and drabs using cast-offs from the Co-op.

If I seem a little distracted it’s because I’m listening to the News Quiz as we speak.  The NQ is very funny and well worth listening to more than once especially if, as we do, you listen to it over dinner and therefore have half of it drowned out by conversation.  Yesterday we went to see Daniel’s exhibition, ‘Open 25’: it’s the second year he’s been exhibited at the New Walk Museum, so he’s done very well.  There’s some good work there, so go and see it while it’s on:


As regards the iplayer, I can’t settle at all.  All my fave drama series have finished and I can’t get into Inspector George Gently, so I’ve been watching the occasional film which crops up there.  This one was quite good, and I got to practise my French into the bargain:


After that I did try to sit through the BAFTA’s, but in spite of it being hosted by Stephen Fry I found the mixture of toadying and self-parody as nauseating as ever.  I don’t think Fry does himself any favours by hosting this: he doesn’t appear at his best.  Not at all.  Give me QI any time.  Which I did, and have now exhausted the available episodes of this.  So it’s back to the videos I think…

Kirk out