John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme Page 3

John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme. Image shows from L to R: Carrie Quinlan, Simon Kane, John Finnemore, Lawry Lewin, Margaret Cabourn-Smith. Copyright: BBC.


  • Sunday 16th November 2014, 1:11pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 2,541 posts

I doubt that he'll go down the Stephen Fry route as he's not that well-known outside the comedy niche/Radio 4 audience. Sir Stephen has always been more visible for his continual forays into the medium I like to call 'the haunted fishtank'.



  • Sunday 16th November 2014, 5:38pm
  • England
  • 6,622 posts

In general though, very many of the most talented sketch-writer/performers give it up when they go on to doing something else.



  • Monday 7th June 2021, 6:37pm
  • Oxford, England
  • 2,192 posts

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, you're right, best not).

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  • Monday 7th June 2021, 6:57pm
  • Surreyish., England
  • 32,203 posts

I've just discovered this as I wake up at 5.30 in the morning and listen on Radio 4 Extra.

Strange concept to get your head round but on the whole very funny.

Quote: Chappers @ 25th October 2014, 10:14 PM

Never heard of this or him and missed this thread before. I'll try to look out for it. Is it on iPlayer?

In the days before I listened to radio comedy.



  • Saturday 12th June 2021, 8:21pm [Edited]
  • Oxford, England
  • 2,192 posts

Having listened to all 6, I really enjoyed it. It was great fun (though not greatly funny). The structure was impeccable, as we've come to expect from Finnemore. My only niggling concern (well, apart from the fact that I wrote a Desert Island Disc sketch just a few weeks ago in which someone chooses sound effects records then the show's theme tune) is that I can't work out why Oswald was not drafted in WW1 (we know it wasn't flat feet nor an eye for the other soldiers).

Also, did I miss why he was called Newt, and what his sister Gally's real name was?