Who's been listening to series nine - nine! - of JFSP? If you haven't, and you want to, look away now, there are spoilers.
The fact that one can even have spoilers for a sketch show proves what an odd beast this is. After episode 1 I thought it was pretty drab, a bunch of barely connected sketches that were mostly not funny at all. After episode 2 I realised what the format was, and by the time we'd got to the end of episode 4 I was pretty immersed in the story (such as it is). I'm looking forward to this week's, where hopefully some questions will be answered, especially about parentage. Episode 5 left a lot still to be explained (although, I was very happy with the ending - "MR James, be born, be born!").
The only thing to note is, it's still mostly not funny at all. At least, not funny like a sketch show...and certainly not funny like Finnemore's previous sketch shows. But it is highly pleasing. As an incremental, long-form depiction of a quirky family, it's quite novelistic; I found myself thinking of Salinger's Glass family (sans suicide), a tiny bit of Wodehouse, and a fair bit of HE Bates (HE Bates, be born, be - oh, wait, that doesn't make any sense).
My only real criticism of it is that it shouldn't have been under the name JFSP. It has far more in common with Double Acts than the other eight - eight! - series of sketch shows, and to be honest I smell some commissioning jiggery-pokery. That's only an issue if someone tuned in for ep 1, and was bemused, and didn't have the trust to tune in again; then again, how many Radio 4 listeners have not built some Finnemore trust by now?
I'm fascinated to find out how all pieces will fall into place. It's almost like a whodunit (PD James, be bo-...no, you're right, best not).