Steve Drayton

In cyberspace everyone can hear you whinge

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Jesting About is supporting comedy voices in the North East, not taking advantage of them.

I’m a cynical man. You’d never know it from my sunny disposition. Bowling along the road, doffing my cap at older folk, helping the infirm into ambulances and having a laugh with policemen, traffic wardens and the coalman.

See that beautiful Red Admiral settling on that Buddleia over there? Probably carrying Avian Flu or Ebola. Those brave folk, diving into the North Sea to raise money so some kid they’ve never met might have life changing surgery in Chicago? Show-offs.

See? As cynical as cynical can be.

So I was still a little surprised and a somewhat taken aback at some of the interference that was running on social media about Jesting About, a project I’m involved with as part of my proper job as a BBC Producer.

READ: Jesting About to return

I won’t spend time arguing the toss about this and that, therefore quantifying much of the chatter and rumour and town crying that has gone on about it. But I will say this:

Back in September my boss asked if there was any mileage in applying for a grant to make a programme supporting new comedy voices on the BBC in the North East.

Was there enough talent to support it? Unequivocally, yes. Was there enough of a budget to make three hours of radio showcasing this North East talent? With a squeeze, undoubtedly. Should we call it Jesting About? The first two had worked well, so why not?

Now, I can whine on the internet with the best of them. You should have seen and heard me when the photo of Cheryl’s tattooed backside was published. Carnage.

It’s the way of the world, to get on a high horse about summat or other and sound off. In cyberspace everyone can hear you whinge.

Thing is, all the comments, the negativity, general bad vibes and rumour could have quite easily been answered. My email address is on the article on this website. I’d be more than happy to reassure people that what we’re doing is being done with the best of intentions.

Back in the olden days the BBC in Newcastle recorded and broadcast fledgling NE comics for TV and radio. It was ace. It looked great on the CV and introduced us to lots of new folk.

With any creative process, milk will be spilt, some of it accidentally, but none of it will be done in a careless and thoughtless way.

So please don’t be drowning baby just yet. Give us all a chance to shine.

If you would like to be considered to take part in Jesting About, email Steve Drayton on [email protected]. Tell him a little about yourself, along with an audio or video clip if you have one. Successful participants will be asked to take part in a live recording at The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle on the 12/13 April 2015.