Beat the January blues with new comedy from BBC Radio 4

Frank Skinner, Catherine Bohart, Randy Feltface and Paul Merton returns with another series of listener favourite Room 101

PHOTO: L-R: Randy Feltface (credit Anneliese Nappa); Jim Smith (credit Eilidh Robertson); Frank Skinner; Sunil Patel (credit Matt Crockett); Lorna Rose Treen and Jonathan Oldfield (credit Will Hearle Photography); Stuart Mitchell (credit John Young Media); Catherine Bohart (credit Matt Crockett), and Lord Christian Brighty (credit Ben Meadows)


BBC Radio 4

This Blue Monday, BBC Radio 4 is announcing a raft of new comedy offerings to help beat the January blues, as well as the return of familiar listener favourites.

Frank Skinner will host new panel show, One Person Found This Helpful, where an all-star panel celebrate the good, the bad and the baffling from the world of online reviews. If you’re the person who went on Trip Advisor to review Ben Nevis as “very steep and too high”, this show salutes you!

After a successful pilot this summer, Catherine Bohart’s topical comedy TL;DR has been commissioned for a full series to run in the popular Friday Night Comedy slot. Catherine goes beyond the headlines to give you the lowdown on one of the biggest stories of the week, joined by guest experts and performers.

Globetrotting comic phenomenon and misanthropic puppet, Randy Feltface, will star in Randy Feltface’s Destruction Manual, a satirical stand-up series about what we can do to speed up climate change and bring a swift end to life on Earth as we know it. The Many Wrongs of Lord Christian Brighty stars TikTok’s answer to Mr Darcy, Christian Brighty, in his first radio sitcom, in which the Regency rake tries to make amends for his past misdeeds. Created with co-writer Amy Greaves.

Award-winning new comedian and former Woman’s Hour producer Lorna Rose Treen, with co-writer Jonathan Oldfield, parodies women's current affairs and talk shows in Time of the Week, alongside a brilliant cast of comedians and actors. Perthshire farmer and comedian Jim Smith gives an honest and hilarious behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be a modern farmer in Me and the Farmer. Geoff Norcott will be hosting a stand-up series all about men, Geoff Norcott’s Working Men’s Club (w/t).

Former banker and Treasury insider Stuart Mitchell will explore his relationship with money, from his working-class origins in Lanarkshire to his decision to quit banking – and expensive man bags – in Stuart Mitchell’s Cost of Living. Sunil Patel will give listeners a different take on the pursuit of wealth in Sunil Patel: an Idiot’s Guide to Bagging an Heiress.

There’s plenty of listener favourites returning for new series, too, including series two of Room 101, presented by Paul Merton, which made a much-praised radio comeback last year. Other returning series include Meet David Sedaris and Conversations from a Long Marriage, featuring Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam.

2024 will also see a host of new pilots, including Unspeakable, hosted by Phil Wang and Susie Dent, where guests including Stephen Fry will be challenged to dream up new words for universal, shared concepts and experiences which have always lacked names – until now. The pilots also include Rum Punch, an audience sitcom written by and starring stand-up, actor and podcaster Travis Jay as Marley, a conflict-averse aspiring boxer who works in his parents’ Caribbean restaurant, also starring Eddie Nestor and Kevin Garry.

As well as listening live on Radio 4, comedy fans will be able to catch all these new programmes on BBC Sounds, where last year Friday Night Comedy, Mark Steel’s in Town, It’s a Fair Cop and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue were among the top five most-listened-to comedies. Also hugely popular with on-demand listeners was Call Jonathan Pie, a brand-new series starring Tom Walker.

BBC Radio 4’s Comedy and Entertainment Commissioner Julia McKenzie said, “I’m delighted that this year, BBC Radio 4 will be playing host to so many fresh comic voices and new formats – as well as bringing back much-loved fan favourites. Radio 4 is the biggest commissioner of comedy and entertainment audio in the world, and it’s a pleasure to be able to invest in up-and-coming talent and bring listeners something they may not have heard before, alongside the programmes they already know and love.”

BBC Radio 4’s pilot season includes:

• POV – 14 January, 19:15 – 19:45. A brand-new sketch show that takes the comics making brilliant videos for social media and gets them to write brand new audio-only sketches, mixing them all up with rich, immersive sound design. With Rachel Fairburn, Daniel Foxx, Matt Green, Rosie Holt, Emma Jones, Kelechi Okafor and Vinny Thomas. A Lead Mojo production.

• Can You Hear Me Now? – 21 January, 19:15- 19:45. A showcase of character comedy, hosted by Jim Smith and featuring posh boy rapper MC Hammersmith, Edinburgh award-winner Lorna Rose Treen, and viral character comedians Michael Fry and Eleanor Morton. A Gusman production.

• Wing It – 28 January, 19:15 – 19:45. Mike Wozniak plays host to a panel of improv all stars in this new spontaneous game show, full of ridiculous challenges & completely made-up games, featuring Josie Lawrence, Steen Raskopoulos, Cariad Lloyd and Thomas Mayo. A BBC Studios production.

• You’re Part of The Problem – 4 February, 19:15 –19:45. A brand new sketch show starring Abi Clarke, Aurie Styla, Ed Jones, Lola-Rose Maxwell and Stephen Buchanan, showing us grotesque, everyday characters who are 'Part Of The Problem'. A lonely exam invigilator, an incontinent king, strange allergies and a kid’s toy that isn't as cute as it once was, all create situations which get out-of-hand fast, with hilarious and excruciating consequences. A BBC Studios production.

• United Thingdom – 11 February,19:15 – 19:45. A knockout sketch show that truly covers all corners of the UK. Featuring a cracking team of comedy performers and writers drawn from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: Diona Doherty, Paul G Raymond, Tudur Owen, Lana Pheutan and Karen Bartke. A Comedy Unit production.

• Unspeakable – 18 February, 19:15 – 19:45. Phil Wang and Susie Dent challenge guests to help create the new ultimate dictionary. A Brown Bred production.

• Rum Punch – 5 March, 23:00 – 23:30. Audience sitcom written by and starring stand-up, actor and podcaster Travis Jay as Marley, a conflict-averse aspiring boxer who works in his parents’ Caribbean restaurant, also starring Eddie Nestor and Kevin Garry. An Avalon production.

Source BBC Radio 4

January 16, 2024 4:00am ET by BBC Radio 4  

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