Ian Wolf

Radio Weekly #17

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Gigglebox Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week Ian Wolf listens to a song about rickets and hears some frighteningly strong discipline.

Andrew Lawrence: How Did We End Up Like This

In this new series on Radio 4, comic ranter Andrew Lawrence explores different social themes – from their impact in the modern world and throughout the rest of history – alongside fellow comedians Marek Larwood and Sara Pascoe.

In the opening episode, Lawrence looked at the subject of diet and food in his usual style; Lawrence’s delivery is highly enjoyable if you can get into it. For some, it might be a bit too rapid-fire, but if you can keep up with the pace it does often pay off in big laughs.

Lawrence also cleverly avoids falling into the trap that many “ranters” fall into, which is that he avoids coming across as too angry. Some comedians often like to build up to a massive rage, but with his more deadpan approach Lawrence’s commentary is a lot more subtle than most.

For those who do find the delivery too speedy for them, luckily the show is broken up with sketches and songs. The songs in question were something of a highlight in the programme, my personal favourite being Lawrence’s guide to rickets. In the end, a good opening episode.

The Gates

Up across the border, and luckily on the iPlayer, is this new mockumentary sketch show on BBC Radio Scotland.

Written and starring Pauline Goldsmith, Vivien Grahame and Jo Jo Sutherland, the series is meant to be a look at the lives of parents (or to be more exact, mothers), hanging around at the school gates waiting to pick up their kids.

Interesting ideas floated around the characters, especially Linda, a wannabe celebrity who (on her way to the school) calls up a glossy magazine letting them know where they can get good pictures of her.

My favourite characters in the opening, however, were a bit further afield. One was simply the show’s monotone announcer, who was so inept that he kept reading the notes in the script literally (for example, saying “ironic tone” rather than speaking in an ironic tone). The other was the disturbingly creepy pious mother who seemed to delight in giving her son physical punishment.

This series certainly has its moments, and while it could be argued that it’s patchy in places, it has more than a few laughs throughout.