Ian Wolf

Radio Weekly #14

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Radio Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week Ian Wolf goes to hell and listens to the Sunderland Psychic

Old Harry’s Game

One of the oldest sitcoms on the radio returned for two specials this past fortnight, covering the Olympics in all its hellish glory…

Andy Hamilton returns as the underworld-weary Satan in Old Harry’s Game, giving his professional opinion of the Olympics while trying to persuade those around him, especially the kindly historian Edith (Annette Crosbie), that the Olympics are not as great as everyone makes out to be. (It’s not that difficult, is it?)

In the first special last week, Satan takes Edith to the original Greeks who founded the Games, who mainly wanted to just look at naked men. The show also explored what happened to the original marathon runner Pheidippides after he discovered his run was a waste of time. At the end of this episode, though, we learn that Edith’s daughter is taking part in the hurdles, so Satan agrees to take her up London; but in exchange she will eventually finish writing Satan’s official biography.

Although this sitcom’s been running since 1995, I think it’s still one of the best around, because of both the images it creates and the ideas that appear in the show. For example, in Old Harry’s Game, all twelve Apostles are in Hell and Judas claims he was killed by Mossad. Then there are Satan’s various “guises”. In this episode he pretends to be Kate Middleton…

It’s amazing that this show can still produce laughs after being so long on the air; proof, if needed, that this sitcom is simply top notch. Let’s hope there will be a few more episodes made yet, as it can clearly stand the test of time…

Listen here.

Ian D. Montfort Is: Unbelievable

Tom Binns is perhaps most famous for his hospital radio DJ character Ivan Brackenbury, however this Radio 2 pilot focuses on his other comic creation: Ian D. Montfort, the Sunderland Psychic (“not to be confused with the Sunderland Psycho”).

Binns’ character is a parody of just about every TV psychic you’ve ever come across, complete with lame explanations of how his powers come about. Take Montfort’s explanation of how angel cards work: “They’re angel cards, that’s how they work.”

Due to the nature of the character, most of the laughs comes from interaction with his audience, and in this pilot his special guest, Melanie Sykes. Look out for the scenes in which he tries to embarrass the crowd…

Binns’ characters are impressive, but can one, or even two, of his personas carry a whole radio series? Given the positive feedback to this pilot we might just find out…

Listen here.