Nic Wright

BBC Radio 2 reveals Comedy Showcases

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BBC Radio 2 has announced its Comedy Showcases for 2015.

Produced by BBC Radio Comedy and Hat Trick Productions, the five specially commissioned one-off programmes will air next month.

Written by and featuring both rising stars and well-known comedy talent, and recorded in front of a live studio audience, each half hour episode is a stand-alone piece with a range of themes, from a chat show with a twist, to a couple with very different ideas on how to spend the golden age of retirement.

The five programmes are Ankle Tag starring Elis James (Crims, Josh) and Katy Wix (Not Going Out, Fried), The Peterford Golf Club written by and starring Simon Farnaby (Horrible Histories, Yonderland, Paddington), Barbara Nice by Janice Connolly (Phoenix Nights, Dead Man Weds), The Tim Vine Chat Show, and The King’s Men starring Robert Webb (Peep Show, That Mitchell and Webb Look) and Terry Mynott (Toast Of London, The Mimic).

Julia McKenzie, Acting Head of BBC Radio Comedy, said: “Radio 2 continues to nurture and support new comedy, and it is fantastic to be able to bring such a range of comedic talent and Showcases to the network.”

Lewis Carnie, Head of Programmes for BBC Radio 2, said: “I’m delighted to have a new raft of Comedy Showcases, it exemplifies Radio 2’s commitment to original and distinctive content. Radio 2 has been a valuable launch pad for new comedy in recent years, seeing the sitcom Miranda Hart’s Joke Shop go on to become the highly acclaimed Miranda series on BBC One, plus Matt Lucas’s And The Winner Is… commissioned for Radio 2, made into a BBC television series, The Matt Lucas Awards.”

The Comedy Showcases will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 thorough the week beginning Monday 16 November at 10pm.

Programme details:

The Peterford Golf Club
Monday 16 November, 10-10.30pm
The Peterford Golf Club does for golf clubs what Green Wing did for hospitals. Written by Simon Farnaby (Horrible Histories, Yonderland, Paddington) and starring an ensemble cast including Simon, with Claire Keelan (The Trip), Barunka O’Shaughnessy (Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show), and Tom Meeten (Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy).

Golf club regular Stuart thinks he has a chance of being appointed to the all-powerful Committee, if only he can get his rival Bob out of the way. Meanwhile, players Chris and Jane are trying to rekindle their relationship, which has gone into the rough. They just need to find some peace and quiet on the green. Jill has always avoided the women’s group, as her husband David chairs the committee and doesn’t approve, but today she has agreed to play a round with them. Might she be persuaded to join them? And what, exactly, are they up to?

Farnaby said: “The Peterford Golf Club hopes to expose the dark underbelly of middle England. All looks well on the surface but scratch a little and you’ll find prejudice, sexism and aspiration so fervent, people are willing to kill to get a better parking space. No one will want to see themselves in The Peterford Golf Club, but we’re all there!”

The King’s Men
Tuesday 17 November, 10-10.30pm
After discovering what they believed to be a German plot to invade The Isle of Sheppey (their main piece of evidence ultimately turned out to be a child’s treasure map), policemen Ernest Ridley and Arthur Smyth – played by Robert Webb (Peep Show, That Mitchell and Webb Look) and Terry Mynott (Toast Of London, The Mimic) – are asked to join the new Secret Service in London: an organisation dedicated to uncovering foreign spies and plots in the uncertain and paranoid years before the Great War.

Set in 1909, the two men have been friends since childhood and served together in the British Army in India. Although they bicker a lot of the time like an old married couple, they are inseparable. They live together in the same boarding house, and share the same love of King and Country. The pair encounter new technologies, Victorian repression and an array of memorable characters. If only they were a little better at their jobs…

Co-writer Arthur Mathews said: “I’ve been a fan of Terry since I first saw The Mimic. I met him doing Toast of London last year and he asked me to get involved in the project. We both have an interest in history, and the Edwardian era seemed a fruitful period. It was great to work with such a wonderfully talented cast too.”

Ankle Tag
Wednesday 18 November, 10-10.30pm
Played by Elis James (Crims, Josh), Gruff is a new father whose father Bob suddenly comes back into his life after a long absence.

Bob is a convicted fraudster, released from prison on licence, who wants to inveigle his way back into his estranged son’s life (again through fraud). He’s charming, optimistic and warm. People like him. That’s why they gave him so much of their life savings. Gruff’s wife Alice, played by Katy Wix (Not Going Out, Fried) is quite taken with the charming Bob.

Elis James said: “I’m super excited to be playing Gruff in Ankle Tag. Having played a convicted criminal in Crims, to play the law abiding son of a criminal helps redress the balance a bit. I’ve also loved writing with Ben and Gareth in the past, so to be reunited with them is brilliant. They write great scripts and Gareth has seemingly forgotten that I owe him money.”

Barbara Nice
Wednesday 18 November, 10.30-11pm
A sitcom built around the comedy character Barbara Nice by Janice Connolly (That Peter Kay Thing, Dead Man Weds).

Set in Manchester, Barbara is worried she and her husband, Ken, played by John Henshaw, (Cilla, Cradle to Grave), are at risk of adding to the numbers of silver splitters. With Ken recently retired, Barbara is starting to realise they have nothing in common.

His idea of retirement involves a marathon session of the daytime television quiz show Pointless, which doesn’t fit with Barbara’s idea of a well spent golden age. When a homeless Spanish busker needs some help, Barbara sees it as the perfect opportunity to do some good and stir things up at home. A little more than she expected.

The Tim Vine Chat Show
Thursday 19 November, 10-10.30pm
The Tim Vine Chat Show is half an hour of silly exuberance, stand-up comedy and a celebration of ordinary people.

It’s a chat show with a twist, where the Great British public are the stars. Tim not only interviews members of the audience and hears their entertaining and diverse life stories, but he also sings his much loved (and often ridiculous) songs, as well as showcasing the world famous one-liners that have made him a global comedy star

Tim Vine said: “I’m jolly excited to be bringing the fascinating stories of the Great British Public to Radio 2 – as well as some jokes about eagles, lumberjacks and acting like a mop. It’s the Tim Vine Chat Show and it’s this November.”