Radio Weekly #6
This week Ian Wolf listens to a mayoral election and a debate on panto.
Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off
Marcus Brigstocke’s upper-class student twit has been on Radio 4 for nearly a decade now. Things have changed over the years since he first arrived on air, though. Gone are the days of ex-public school idiot Giles Wemmbley Hogg (two ms, two gs) causing chaos around the world, with him now running his own travel agency GWH Travvel (mix up at the printers) in his native Budleigh Salterton.
The first episode of the fifth series sees Giles running for mayor in an election manipulated by American entrepreneur Donald Crump (I wonder who that could be a reference to) who plans to destroy the town and turn it into a seven star resort. Despite thinly-veiled satire, Giles is a great character. His idiocy appears to know no bounds, from being unable to put on his Velcro strapped shoes, or selling his car because he couldn’t get around a bollard in a car park.
The situations depicted are also highly amusing. The opening scene takes place on the local golf course, which, due to budget cuts, is being shared by the TA, resulting in spontaneous appearances of new bunkers. It seems that the show has won the right to return.
This panel show is returning for its eighth series, the fourth to feature Victoria Coren as host. The series began with guests Mark Steel, Christopher Biggins and novelist Jessica Berens (whom I’ve never heard of).
For those not familiar with the show, in each programme the guests talk about a normally held assumption and argue against it. In this week’s edition the statements they had to argue against were: “Pantomime is an outdated art-form,”, “Drunken displays on our nation’s streets are a sign of national shame,” and “It would be nice to live in a house like Downton Abbey.”
While Biggins is obviously passionate about pantomime, not surprisingly it was Steel who was the funniest on the programme, especially with his idea of doing a panto version of King Lear. Berens seemed to add little to the programme, though. Obvious solution – have more comedians and less novelists. Not much else to be said.