Weekly Newsletter

Monday 5th October 2020

Have you heard the story about how Arthur Lowe wanted to be a sailor? Have a read of our Comedy Chronicles feature below. Don't miss the Brian Blessed interview either.

Latest comedy news

CBBC orders new comedy Monster Court

CBBC orders new comedy Monster Court

Monster Court, a new comedy entertainment series focused around a puppet-based judge, is being made for CBBC.

Victoria Wood's Secret List coming to BBC Two

Victoria Wood's Secret List coming to BBC Two

BBC Two is to broadcast Victoria Wood's Secret List, a two-part show featuring some of the comedian's favourite sketches, as detailed in one of her personal notebooks.

Did The Daily Show "rip off" Room Next Door creator Michael Spicer?

Did The Daily Show "rip off" Room Next Door creator Michael Spicer?

America's The Daily Show has been accused of "ripping off" British comic Michael Spicer, who also appears on James Corden's US talk show, and his Room Next Door 'Secret Political Adviser' character.

Cast details revealed for Iain Stirling's ITV sitcom Buffering

Cast details revealed for Iain Stirling's ITV sitcom Buffering

Jessie Cave is set to star alongside Iain Stirling in his new ITV2 sitcom Buffering.

Ian Cognito film being made

Ian Cognito film being made

Ian Cognito, the hellraising stand-up comedian who died in 2019, is to be the subject of a new film.

Radio 4 orders Chris Neill's Woof follow-up Raging Enigma

Radio 4 orders Chris Neill's Woof follow-up Raging Enigma

After three series of popular autobiographical comedy Woof, Radio 4 has commissioned Chris Neill to produce a follow-up, Raging Enigma.

CBBC star Archie Lyndhurst dies aged 19

CBBC star Archie Lyndhurst dies aged 19

Archie Lyndhurst, the star of CBBC sitcom So Awkward and the son of Only Fools And Horses star Nicholas Lyndhurst, has died aged 19.

Netflix in talks to reboot Maid Marian And Her Merry Men

Netflix in talks to reboot Maid Marian And Her Merry Men

Tony Robinson has revealed that he is in talks with Netflix to reboot 1990s kids TV classic Maid Marian And Her Merry Men.

Frank Skinner writing a book about the "magic" of religious faith

Frank Skinner writing a book about the "magic" of religious faith

Frank Skinner is writing a religious treatise, A Comedian's Prayer Book. The comic, who is a practising Catholic, says he wants to celebrate his "unfashionable" belief in God.

People Just Do Nothing team take gym comedy to BBC

People Just Do Nothing team take gym comedy to BBC

The People Just Do Nothing team are piloting Peacock, a comedy set in a gym. Thomas Gray stars as the instructor training his selfie-obsessed clients.

Imran Yusuf to record Radio 4 stand-up show

Imran Yusuf to record Radio 4 stand-up show

Imran Yusuf is piloting a Radio 4 series about identity. Provisionally titled Relabelled, the stand-up showcase will see the comic analysing how he and others perceive him.

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing to return for fourth series

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing to return for fourth series

Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse are to return to BBC Two next year in a fourth series of their light-hearted angling comedy series, Gone Fishing.

Features

Mo Omar interview

Mo Omar interview

Stand-up comedian Mo Omar moved from Somalia to Cardiff as a child. In his storytelling for BBC Radio Wales (6:30pm today), he examines all the ways in which he has become Welsh since he arrived in the UK. You might've seen him on Stand Up For Live Comedy last week - he explains more in this interview.

Comedy Chronicles: Aye aye, Cap'n: Arthur Lowe at sea

Comedy Chronicles: Aye aye, Cap'n: Arthur Lowe at sea

The off-screen sitcom legend Arthur Lowe could be no less self-important than his on-screen characters, but in real life he also sought to sail the ocean blue...

Does laughing and joking help you live longer?

Does laughing and joking help you live longer?

An extract from the book How To Live To 100. Comedian Ariane Sherine and public health expert David Conrad take a look at whether humour might help you reach old age.

First Gig, Worst Gig: John Cooper

First Gig, Worst Gig: John Cooper

The comic who's moved into comics, John Cooper gives us his gig story.

Want to appear on Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable?

Want to appear on Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable?

Details on how to apply to appear on new panel show Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable. You'll need to be OK to confess on TV the worst thing you've ever done!

British Comedy Quiz #121

British Comedy Quiz #121

All Gas And Gaiters, Brass Eye, Please Sir! and Bridget Christie are amongst this week's question topics.

Behind-the-scenes on Series 2 of Ghosts

Behind-the-scenes on Series 2 of Ghosts

A look behind-the-scenes on the second series of Ghosts. Director Tom Kingsley has shared a number of photos and videos showing how the hit comedy is produced.

Random 8: Brian Blessed

Random 8: Brian Blessed

The Dalai Lama! The magnetic North Pole! The magnetic Sophia Loren! British acting titan Brian Blessed, OBE, gives us eight of the best.

BCG Pro

BCG Pro

If you're interested in comedy writing, you'll find lots on BCG Pro for you. If you're just starting out, there's advice and insight. For those more experienced, there's exclusive opportunities and competitions. For example, right now there's a chance to join a writers' room.

Podcasts

Podcasts

Richard Herring's podcasts continue. For more laughs, why not check out some of the other shows we publish? There's hours of silly stories to enjoy via The Worst Writer In The World.

TV listings

Ghosts

Ghosts

Monday 8:30pm, BBC One

Alison and Mike hit a new obstacle, which supportive yet straight-talking event planner Martin informs them is the only thing standing in the way of booking their first potential client, Claire.

Guessable

Guessable

Monday 9pm, Comedy Central

A new panel series in which teams compete to identify the famous name or object inside a mystery box. Sara Pascoe hosts with help from John Kearns. Darren Harriott and Alan Davies are the team captains.

Hey Tracey!

Hey Tracey!

Monday 10pm, ITV2

A second series of the cold-calling comedy quiz in which Joel Dommett and his virtual PA connect celebrities to real people around the UK in the search for answers. Megan McKenna, Roman Kemp, Mark-Francis Vandelli, Melvin Odoom, Verona Rose and Christine McGuinness play first.

Sorry, I Didn't Know

Sorry, I Didn't Know

Tuesday 10:45pm, ITV

If you have a good memory, you might remember this panel show - in which Jimmy Akingbola asks teams about black history topics - was piloted on ITV2 in 2016. It's now been revived for a series, as part of ITV's Black History Month programming.

Comedy Game Night

Comedy Game Night

Wednesday 9pm, Comedy Central

Ivo Graham, Desiree Burch, Darren Harriott, Nina Wadia, Gethin Jones and Gaby Roslin play a series of party games this week. There's a preview clip on our website.

Two Weeks To Live

Two Weeks To Live

Wednesday 10pm, Sky One

In the final episode, as the gang reach the safety of the cabin, Kim finds herself back where she started, her plans now shattered and her mum's lies revealed.

Urban Myths: Les Dawson's Parisienne Adventure

Urban Myths: Les Dawson's Parisienne Adventure

Wednesday 10pm, Sky Arts

The first in a new series of Urban Myths one-off episodes. Sky Arts is now on Freeview, so everyone can see this batch. This first is inspired by the true story of Les Dawson's time in Paris during the 1950s.

A League Of Their Own

A League Of Their Own

Thursday 9pm, Sky One

Freddie Flintoff takes a turn as host. Ally McCoist, Laura Woods and Last Leg stars Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe are the players taking part this week.

Comedy Legends

Comedy Legends

Thursday 9pm, Sky Arts

A third series of the documentary format presented by Barry Cryer. Again, now Sky Arts is free-to-air, everyone can enjoy this show. First up in the spotlight is Charlie Chaplin.

The Russell Howard Hour

The Russell Howard Hour

Thursday 10pm, Sky One

Mo Gilligan is set to join Russell Howard this week. If you don't have Sky, you can still see a large percentage of each episode by checking out YouTube clips the next day. You can find them via our website.

Frankie Boyle's New World Order

Frankie Boyle's New World Order

Thursday 10pm, BBC Two

Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Sara Pascoe and Sophie Duker are set to return this week, to join Frankie Boyle as he continues to try and work out what is going on both in this country and over there in Trumpland.

Stand Up For Live Comedy

Stand Up For Live Comedy

Friday, BBC Three

The third episode of the stand-up show. Darren Harriott hosts from Birmingham, and introduces Bella Hull, Kemah Bob and Chris Washington.

Have I Got News For You

Have I Got News For You

Friday 9pm, BBC One

Adil Ray hosts the satirical quiz this week, inviting Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Conservative Baroness Nicky Morgan to join regular team leaders Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.

The Graham Norton Show

The Graham Norton Show

Friday 10:45pm, BBC One

Ewan McGregor, Ashley Banjo and Miley Cyrus are set to be amongst Graham Norton's guests this Friday.

Jonathan Ross' Comedy Club

Jonathan Ross' Comedy Club

Saturday 10:10pm, ITV

Russell Kane will be trying out some new material on the final episode of the series, which also features Aurie Styla, Fern Brady and Babatunde Aléshé.

New on the radio this week: Mo Omar: Becoming Welsh (Radio Wales, Monday, 6:30pm), Rob Newman's Half-Full Philosophy Hour (Radio 4, Tuesday, 6:30pm) and Nicholas Parsons: A Man Of Many Parts (4 Extra, Saturday, 7pm). For a complete list of TV and radio broadcasts, including repeats, see our full schedule.

Shop

Jason Hazeley & Nico Tatarowicz - What Not To Say To Your Wife

Jason Hazeley & Nico Tatarowicz - What Not To Say To Your Wife

Pre-order. eBook, Hardback

The perfect gift for anyone who is, miraculously, still in a relationship. Be prepared and know exactly what not to say when...

... she's off to book group
... she's shopping for holiday clothes
... she's giving birth to your child

What Not To Say To Your Wife is the joint first book in a brand-new series by comedy-writing duo Jason Hazeley (co-author of the Ladybird Books For Grown-Ups series) and Nico Tatarowicz, alongside What Not To Say To Your Husband.

Monty Python's Flying Circus - The Complete Series 1-4

Monty Python's Flying Circus - The Complete Series 1-4

Out now. Blu-ray, DVD

Today marks the 51st anniversary of the iconic BBC TV comedy series, and following last autumn's mammoth, deluxe-packaged box set release of the complete Monty Python's Flying Circus - a definitive presentation of the sketch show - comes this slightly less extravagant set, available in both Blu-ray (HD) and DVD (SD) formats.

A ground-up restoration produced from the best available materials, every episode has been painstakingly restored frame-by-frame, with previously edited sketches returned to their original length, and filmed sequences and Terry Gilliam's animations newly scanned in high definition, adding unimaginable depth and clarity to classic moments.

From the archive come genuine rarities including previously unseen studio outtakes and extended versions of filmed sketch material, making this the ultimate in television restoration and a must-have for every generation of Python fan.

Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

Out now. Blu-ray

John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin returned for a final time in 1983 to explain The Meaning of Life in their final film. The naughty Pythons offer the usual tasteful sketches involving favourite bodily parts and functions, the wonders of war, the miracle of birth and a special preview of what's waiting for us in Heaven. Nothing is too sacred for the probing Python crew.

This latest issue of the classic feature film includes more than two hours of bonus features.

Michael Spicer - The Secret Political Adviser: The Unredacted Files Of The Man In The Room Next Door

Michael Spicer - The Secret Political Adviser: The Unredacted Files Of The Man In The Room Next Door

Out now. Hardback, eBook

The debut novel from comedian Michael Spicer, The Secret Political Adviser imagines the life of a secret political adviser working with the biggest political figures on Earth.

Little is known about the secret political adviser known as the Man in the Room Next Door - only a handful of people know his real name - but this explosive journal and collection of his correspondence offers a startling insight into his life. It reveals the elusive organisation that employs him, as well as reams of information about working with clients such as Boris Johnson, Prince Andrew and Donald Trump.

Jasper Rees - Let's Do It: The Authorised Biography Of Victoria Wood

Jasper Rees - Let's Do It: The Authorised Biography Of Victoria Wood

Pre-order. eBook, Audiobook, Hardback

From Jasper Rees, the journalist who interviewed her most and got to know her the best, comes this biography of the legend, Victoria Wood, fully authorised by her family.

With complete and exclusive access to Victoria's extensive archive of personal and professional material, and with exclusive interviews with her family and closest friends - including Julie Walters, Dawn French, Celia Imrie and many others - Rees promises to "finally tell her rich story in full".

For more, see our full list of new releases and items coming soon.

NextUp

Laughter Lounge

Tried out leading stand-up streaming platform NextUp yet? With hundreds of shows already available, the company is looking for investment ahead of its next round of growth. You could put up as little as £10, with perks include lifetime membership to the service. Find out more

Comedy videos

Cars Schmars

Cars Schmars

This is the winner of our BCG Pro Video Contest for October. Ella Gonzales plays a 'geezer' reviewing a Ford Fiesta. It's inventive and a lot of fun.

Gollum vs Donald Trump

Gollum vs Donald Trump

We are all grappling with how to feel about the news from America. In this great sketch from George Weightman, Smeagol/Gollum articulates our conflict.

7 Hours On Earth - Ramona Marquez in 7 Hours On Earth

Ramona Marquez in 7 Hours On Earth

Here's a clip of Ramona Marquez (remember her as Karen Outnumbered?) appearing in 7 Hours On Earth.

Nabil Abdulrashid on Britain's Got Talent semi-final

Nabil Abdulrashid on Britain's Got Talent semi-final

Stand-up comedian Nabil Abdulrashid impressed the judges on Britain's Got Talent at the weekend - here's the set that saw him through to the final.

100 Reasons - Marathons

100 Reasons To Hate... Marathons

Ian Smith is amusingly ranting again. To tie in with yesterday's London Marathon, he delivered this video explaining why he really doesn't like running events.

Spitting Image - Michael Gove visits Mistress Priti Patel's Boudoir

Spitting Image - Michael Gove visits Priti Patel

Spitting Image is back... on BritBox. The first episode was published on Saturday. Here's a clip from the show, in which Michael Gove visits Mistress Priti Patel's Boudoir.

Nick Helm - List of Films

Nick Helm - List of Films

In his latest music track Nick Helm lists a load of films. It's just a list. No, really.

When podcasts go wrong

When podcasts go wrong

Starting a podcast sounds easy, right? What could possibly go wrong?

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm trailer

Borat 2 is going to be published on Amazon Prime Video on 23rd October. Here's the trailer for the now highly-anticipated film sequel.

Where Did It Come From? - The Hat

Where Did It Come From? - The Hat

An educational look at the hat, "the head's hollow husband". Ralph Jones, who stars in this, has just won our BCG Pro Talent Award for writing, and this is a good demonstration of his talents.

Spotlight

The Rag Trade

The Rag Trade

One of our favourite comedies of the illustrious 1960s, BBC sitcom The Rag Trade - starring the likes of Peter Jones, Reg Varney, Miriam Karlin, Sheila Hancock and Esma Cannon - marks its 59th anniversary tomorrow, so it feels a great point to look back at this beautifully written working class, workplace series from the writers of On The Buses (and much more). Set in the workshop of a small London clothing firm, the series follows the predominantly female, strike-happy staff as they go about their work and regularly attempt to make a bit more money on the side, under the nose of foreman Reg and boss Hardold Fenner. Running for 37 episodes over 3 series, its success was such that the writers, Wolfe and Chesney, revived the format for ITV at the end of the 1970s, making another 22 programmes. Almost every (surviving) episode is available on DVD.

Thanks for reading

Stephen Holford has won the latest BCG Pro Gag-a-Week competition on the topic of comedy itself:

I saw a vet do stand-up comedy once. The jokes were fine but the put downs were heart-breaking.

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