Radio 4 is bringing back Dead Ringers

Tuesday 8th July 2014 @ 12:28pm

Dead Ringers. Image shows from L to R: Jan Ravens, Jon Culshaw. Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.Radio 4 is bringing back its hit impressions show Dead Ringers after a break of 7 years.

Created by writer and producer Bill Dare, the comedy was on Radio 4 for 11 series between 2000 and 2007, with a high-rated television version also running concurrently on BBC Two between 2002 and 2007. The series starred Jon Culshaw, Jan Ravens, Phil Cornwell, Kevin Connelly and Mark Perry.

A new six-part series will start on Radio 4 on Wednesday 30th July, featuring Culshaw and Ravens (pictured) alongside Lewis Macleod, Debra Stephenson and Duncan Wisbey.

Bill Dare, talking to the British Comedy Guide, confirmed: "Yes, Dead Ringers is coming back quietly over the summer."

Speaking about why the show has been scheduled in a 'quiet news' month, he explained: "That was the only slot available. It's on a Wednesday, but we're hoping that it will one day return to its rightful place on Friday nights. There won't be masses of political news around, but then Dead Ringers wasn't a very political show."

Since 2008, Dare has been writing and producing another Radio 4 impressions show, The Secret World, which - unlike Dead Ringers - is recorded in a studio rather than in front of a live audience. The show has become a big success too, and won Gold at the Radio Academy Awards in May.

The return of Dead Ringers means that The Secret World will be paused. Dare tells us: "The Secret World has been put on hold for a bit partly because I don't think I could write/produce both impressions shows. For that reason I decided to bring the cast of The Secret World into Dead Ringers - it's a kind of hybrid cast of the two shows - all but Jan were also in The Secret World."

The Secret World. Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.Dare, who wrote The Secret World with Julian Dutton and Duncan Wisbey, is returning to more of a Producer-only role for Dead Ringers. "I think it works better with me as Producer, but couldn't help writing a character for the deep-voiced Jamaican Radio 4 announcer Neil Nunes, whose deep tones drive women wild, so much so that he needs to hire Matthew Parris as his bodyguard."

The new series of Dead Ringers will feature a script team made up of experienced writers as well as new talent. Bill Dare tells us: "It's exciting to be working with a big bunch of newer writers and also the old guard: Tom Jamieson, Nev Fountain, Laurence Howarth. I am working with eight writers I've never worked with before.

"Dead Ringers has been described a cross between Private Eye and the Beano and the thing I most like is that much of the show's raw material comes from Radio 4 itself, which is my medium of choice. I have a love/hate relationship with it, which is probably the best position for a parodist to be in. I don't think it's possible to parody something you don't know and love."

The writing team are currently discussing potential sketches, with one idea explained as follows: "With the East End being so middle class these days, there are going to be new Mitchells on EastEnders - who else but David and Victoria Mitchell?"

Bill Dare also jokingly adds: "Nigel Farage will make his first appearance on the show. Well, he's in every other show on the BBC, so we couldn't very well leave him out: it's BBC policy to have him on every show."

Dead Ringers. Image shows from L to R: Jon Culshaw, Phil Cornwell, Jan Ravens, Mark Perry, Kevin Connelly. Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.Whilst Dead Ringers is set to return to Radio 4, it seems unlikely the TV format (pictured) will return, because the production team are clearly more fans of the radio medium. Dare tells BCG: "I loved doing the radio series, but in some ways I regarded the TV series as a chore. The pace of the radio show is amazing. We can write half of it on a Monday, record on a Tuesday, and it transmits on a Wednesday. We don't have to cut anything because it's too expensive, and we can take a punt on material we're not sure about because it costs nothing to record an extra sketch."

Tickets to the Tuesday night recordings are expected to be announced shortly via bbc.co.uk/tickets. Dare explains how useful it is to record the show in front of an audience: "We record the show on a Tuesday evening and if the audience doesn't laugh, the sketch doesn't make the Wednesday transmission. I regard the audience as the show's editor-in-chief."

Dead Ringers returns on Wednesday 30th July.

Below is a clip from the TV series featuring Tony Blair and Hitler in the same bunker:


Old episodes of Dead Ringers are currently being repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra. They can be listened to anytime via BBC iPlayer

 

Latest News

Ricky Gervais to write and direct new Hollywood film

Ricky Gervais to write and direct new Hollywood film

Ricky Gervais will write and direct Special Correspondents, a new movie about a war correspondent 'faking it' from the comfort of New York.

New quiz show pilot for Robert Webb

New quiz show pilot for Robert Webb

Robert Webb will host the pilot episode for a new quiz show, it has been announced.

Liam Mullone to present Radio 4 pilot of disappointment

Liam Mullone to present Radio 4 pilot of disappointment

Radio 4 is to pilot a new comedy "tackling the universal theme that sums up all human endeavour... disappointment", hosted by Liam Mullone.

Tom Rosenthal to host new social-media comedy pilot

Tom Rosenthal to host new social-media comedy pilot

Friday Night Dinner star Tom Rosenthal is to host a comedy pilot focusing on social media and our online behaviour.

Jason Manford to star in The Producers tour

Jason Manford to star in The Producers tour

Jason Manford is to star as Leo Bloom in the new UK tour of the hit Broadway musical The Producers.

Miranda Hart confirms an end to her hit sitcom

Miranda Hart confirms an end to her hit sitcom

Miranda Hart has confirmed that the upcoming two Christmas specials of her hit sitcom, Miranda, will be the show's finale.

Get More News

In The Press

In The Press

The latest press clippings from the newspapers and various internet blogs.

Newsletter

Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list to get news and more in your inbox every Monday.

Twitter

Twitter Feed

You can follow us on Twitter too. We post the latest news and gossip every evening.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Subscribe to our RSS feed to get our headlines in your news reader software.

Battle Of Britain sketch

Battle Of Britain sketch

The Battle Of Britain ended 74 years ago today. Here's outspoken Winston Churchill talking about it. Watch

10 Halloween Puns

10 Halloween Puns

Laugh at the scary. Here's 10 Halloween-based puns from Darren Walsh, the UK's pun champion. Read

The Tartan Special One

The Tartan Special One

Jocky the cult character from The Tartan Special One book offers his thoughts on Scotland having voted no. Read

Cofilmic 2014 winners

Cofilmic 2014 winners

Watch the winners of the Cofilmic Awards 2014 here, including This Glorious Monster and The Butcher. Watch

Live At The Apollo S10

Live At The Apollo S10

The full line-up of hosts and guests for the tenth series of Live At The Apollo, starting next month. Browse

The Lost Hancocks interview

The Lost Hancocks interview

Kevin McNally talks about taking on the role of legendary comedian Tony Hancock in The Missing Hancocks. Read

Jim Davidson competition

Jim Davidson competition

Win tickets to see Jim Davidson's stand-up show in London on Saturday 22nd of November. Enter

James Acaster interview

James Acaster interview

An interview with 'low energy' stand-up comedian James Acaster, who has been having a great year. Read

What's your rapper name?

What's your rapper name?

Find out what your rapper name is, via this tool designed by Curtis from TV sketch show Cardinal Burns. Try It

Clubbed To Death

Clubbed To Death

A funny satirical short story featuring the characters of new book Clubbed To Death reacting to a problem. Read

Stand-up course diary

Stand-up course diary

A blog from Craig Beadle discussing what caused him to decide to sign up to a stand-up course. Read

Brendon Burns on RHLSTP

Brendon Burns on RHLSTP

Outspoken stand-up comic Brendon Burns is the guest on this week's episode of Richard Herring's podcast. Listen