Weekly Newsletter

Tuesday 6th April 2021

Beryl Vertue celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday. Whether or not you know her name, you should certainly know her work - our Comedy Chronicles article featured below is a fascinating read.

Latest comedy news

Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter dies aged 54

Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter dies aged 54

Paul Ritter, who plays Martin in Friday Night Dinner, has died of a brain tumour.

Ben Miller to play a zombie in The Loneliest Boy In The World

Ben Miller to play a zombie in The Loneliest Boy In The World

Ben Miller is back with another role from beyond the grave, playing a zombie in comedy-horror film The Loneliest Boy In The World.

Hi-De-Hi! star Jeffrey Holland to pilot Simply Ken sitcom

Hi-De-Hi! star Jeffrey Holland to pilot Simply Ken sitcom

Hi-De-Hi! star Jeffrey Holland appears in Simply Ken, a sitcom pilot set in 1980s Sheffield. The half hour pilot focuses on Ken Codd, a character played by Craig Shepherd, who has lost everything.

Jessica Hynes and Ryan Sampson pilot Catching The Bus

Jessica Hynes and Ryan Sampson pilot Catching The Bus

The taster pilot for Catching The Bus, a black comedy starring Jessica Hynes and Ryan Sampson, has been released online.

Lost Voice Guy finds his Geordie voice

Lost Voice Guy finds his Geordie voice

Stand-up comedian Lee Ridley is getting a new voice, after a competition to find him a genuine Geordie accent. Actor and voiceover artist Dan Pye will now provide the voice for Ridley's communication aid.

Mel Giedroyc's Unforgivable to return for Series 2

Mel Giedroyc's Unforgivable to return for Series 2

Mel Giedroyc's Unforgivable is returning to Dave for a second series, the host has revealed.

Ghosts to be remade in America

Ghosts to be remade in America

American TV network CBS is working on a US version of Ghosts. A series of the comedy has now been ordered, following a pilot episode that was filmed in December.

Sitcom creators Marks & Gran to publish comedy writing guide

Sitcom creators Marks & Gran to publish comedy writing guide

Sitcom writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran are publishing a comedy writing guide, collecting together scripts from pilot episodes of their most celebrated shows, with essays on each.

Back To Life Series 2 filming now with Meera Syal and Adrian Edmondson

Back To Life Series 2 filming now with Meera Syal and Adrian Edmondson

Meera Syal and Adrian Edmondson have joined the cast of Daisy Haggard's dark comedy drama Back To Life. The second series of the BBC Three show is being filmed now.

Mo Gilligan to publish autobiography

Mo Gilligan to publish autobiography

Stand-up comedian Mo Gilligan will publish his autobiography in September. That Moment When: Life Stories From Way Back Then will focus on the turning points in his life.

Cruise ship slasher comedy Wrecked coming to BBC Three

Cruise ship slasher comedy Wrecked coming to BBC Three

BBC Three has commissioned Wrecked, a comedy-horror series set aboard a cruise ship.

Defending The Guilty's second series cancelled because of coronavirus

Defending The Guilty's second series cancelled because of coronavirus

Defending The Guilty will not be returning for a second series. The BBC Two legal comedy was commissioned to shoot further episodes last year, but due to cast availability being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic the series has now been cancelled.

Maya Jama joins Celebrity Juice panel

Maya Jama joins Celebrity Juice panel

Maya Jama has been announced as a new regular panellist on ITV2's raucous Celebrity Juice.

Lenny Henry given Legend Of Comedy award

Lenny Henry given Legend Of Comedy award

Lenny Henry has been named a Legend Of Comedy in the Leicester Comedy Festival Awards 2021. Other prize winners include Patrick Monahan, Esther Manito, Ahir Shah and Jonny Awsum.

Katherine Ryan goes Backstage with Amazon for Q&A show

Katherine Ryan goes Backstage with Amazon for Q&A show

Katherine Ryan is making an audience-led comedy show for Amazon Prime. In Backstage With Katherine Ryan, the Canadian comic is asking a studio audience of fans to submit their "burning questions" to her.

Advert

Grave New World

Four-part mini series Grave New World is out now. What will life after a pandemic really be like? Created by Stuart Laws, it features a cast of comedians including James Acaster, Harriet Kemsley, Bobby Mair and Evelyn Mok. Watch

Features

Radio 4's Alone cast discuss Series 3

Radio 4's Alone cast discuss Series 3

Angus Deayton, Pearce Quigley, Abigail Cruttenden, Kate Isitt and Bennett Arron discuss recording the third series of Radio 4 sitcom Alone in a socially distanced studio setting.

Comedy Chronicles: Beryl Vertue: The woman who changed her world

Comedy Chronicles: Beryl Vertue: The woman who changed her world

Accidentally falling into a job with the likes of Sykes, Milligan, Galton, Simpson and Howerd, Beryl Vertue quickly became a one-woman powerhouse, transforming the British television industry with changes that remain to this day.

Five Years of First Gig, Worst Gig - Part 2

Five Years of First Gig, Worst Gig - Part 2

It's our second jog through the FGWG archives, five years on, starring Rosie Jones, Jeremy Hardy, Natalie Haynes, Dane Baptiste, Jen Kirkman and many more.

Katerina Robinson & Kat Ronson: Our struggles being female comedians in a male dominated industry

Katerina Robinson & Kat Ronson: Our struggles being female comedians in a male dominated industry

Katerina Robinson and Kat Ronson, who have launched a new sitcom series called LADS, share their experiences of being female comedians in the male dominated world of comedy.

British Comedy Quiz #147: USA Remakes

British Comedy Quiz #147: USA Remakes

All of the questions in this week's quiz are based around British comedy formats that were remade in America. A couple were hugely successful, but there're tricky questions too as some were cancelled very quickly!

Random 8: Loyiso Gola

Random 8: Loyiso Gola

His landmark Netflix special is streaming now, but why would Loyiso Gola like to emulate a bit of Brad Pitt's career?

BCG Pro

BCG Pro

For everything related to making comedy, see our BCG Pro platform. Our latest feature focuses on how they made the new film I'm Not In Love.

TV listings

Sitting

Sitting

Wednesday 10:30pm, BBC Four

A one-off adaptation of Katherine Parkinson's stage play about three people sitting for a painter. This airs as part of BBC Four's Lights Up Festival.

A League Of Their Own

A League Of Their Own Road Trip: Loch Ness To London

Thursday 9pm, Sky One

A new travel adventure series for the panel show regulars. Jamie Redknapp, Freddie Flintoff and Romesh Ranganathan are joined by Jack Whitehall as they travel from Loch Ness to London. It starts with a SAS Highlands Survival challenge.

Taskmaster

Taskmaster

Thursday 9pm, Channel 4

Charlotte Ritchie climbs a ladder with some loo roll, Mike Wozniak tries out a new catchphrase and Lee Mack terrifies an innocent member of the public. Little Alex Horne has greased a lot of bottles this week.

Celebrity Juice

Celebrity Juice

Thursday 10pm, ITV2

Roman Kemp, Shirley Ballas, Judi Love and Jamie Laing join Keith Lemon and team captains Laura Whitmore and Emily Atack as Series 25 of the panel show begins.

Meet The Richardsons

Meet The Richardsons

Thursday 10pm, Dave

Series 2 of the constructed reality sitcom. The new episodes see Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont embracing life under lockdown. Lucy gets in touch with an old flame and starts work on the pilot for her BBC sitcom, directed by Johnny Vegas.

Dating No Filter

Dating No Filter

Thursday 10pm, Sky One

Danielle has double the fun when her blind date turns out to be identical twins. Will she hit it off with either as the thruple go axe throwing, or will she have to give both the chop? Also this week, Jack and his date Jenni go ballroom dancing.

Trip Hazard: My Great British Adventure

Trip Hazard: My Great British Adventure

Friday 8:30pm, Channel 4

A new comic travelogue series spoofing the travelogue format itself, fronted by Rosie Jones. In this first episode Rosie and Scarlett Moffatt head to the Lake District. Frankly, from the pictures alone we wish we'd been able to join them!

Have I Got News For You

Have I Got News For You

Friday 9:30pm, BBC One

David Tennant guest presents the first episode in Series 61. He will be joined by comedian Jack Dee and journalist Helen Lewis as the programme continues to record in studio, with a virtual audience.

The Graham Norton Show

The Graham Norton Show

Friday 10:45pm, BBC One

John Bishop is set to appear this Friday, to promote his stand-up tour. Also: Tom Cruise and his Top Gun co-stars Jennifer Connelly and Miles Teller; Felicity Jones; Wunmi Mosaku; and Olly Alexander's Years & Years.

The Jonathan Ross Show

The Jonathan Ross Show

Saturday 9:35pm, ITV

Series 17 of the ITV chat show format debuts, after the recent run of highlights. The always-funny Daisy May Cooper is set to appear, as is Jimmy Carr. Also: Oti Mabuse, Martin and Roman Kemp, and James Arthur.

Jo Brand's Classic Comedy

Jo Brand's Classic Comedy

Saturday 10:30pm, Channel 5

Jo Brand looks back at the best sketches from previous decades in this new series, starting with a selection of great moments from the 1970s.

If you're a radio comedy fan, listen out for the new series of Alone (Wednesday, 6:30pm) and Athena's Cancel Culture (Wednesday, 11pm). For a complete list of TV and radio broadcasts, including repeats, see our full schedule.

Shop

Lenny Henry - Who Am I, Again?

Lenny Henry - Who Am I, Again?

Pre-order. Paperback

Published in hardback, eBook and audio formats way back in October 2019, Lenny Henry's acclaimed autobiography is released in paperback in June.

In 1975, a gangly black 16-year-old from Dudley, decked out in floppy bow tie and Frank Spencer beret, appeared on our TV screens for the first time. So began the transformation from apprentice factory worker to future national treasure of Sir Lenny Henry. In his long-awaited autobiography, Lenny tells the extraordinary story of his early years and sudden rise to fame. Raised as one of seven siblings in a boisterous, hilarious, complicated working household, a natural ability to make people laugh came in handy. At school it helped subdue the daily racist bullying. In the park, it led to lifelong friendships and occasional snogs. Soon, it would put him on stage at working men's clubs and Black Country discotheques. And then an invitation to audition for ITV's New Faces would change his life for ever.

But those first years of show business, in a 1970s Britain of questionable variety shows, endless seaside summer seasons, casual chauvinism and blatant racism, were a bewildering experience for a lone black teenager. At every stage, he wondered: 'Am I good enough? Is this what they want? Who am I, again?' Riotous, warm-hearted and revealing, and told with Lenny's trademark energy - expect recipes, comic strips, and tips for aspiring comedians - Who Am I, Again? is the "heart-breakingly honest and inspirational" coming-of-age story of a man who holds a very special place in British hearts.

Jules Verne's Rocket To The Moon

Jules Verne's Rocket To The Moon

Pre-order. DVD, Blu-ray

A brand new restoration of Jules Verne's Rocket To The Moon, inspired by the work of the great pre-science-fiction author: a British comedy directed by Don Sharp and starring Oscar winner Burl Ives, Troy Donahue and Gert Frobe, plus Dennis Price, Terry-Thomas, Jimmy Clitheroe and many more.

Contestants from all over the world compete in a competition to be the first scientist to construct and launch a rocket to the moon. Phineas T. Barnum, the great American showman, comes to England to escape his creditors. Always on the lookout for an opportunity to make money, he enters the competition in an ambitious attempt to launch a rocket to the moon with the aid of a powerful, new explosive. Money troubles, spies and saboteurs ensure that the plan is doomed before it even starts.

The Hauntening - Complete Series 3

The Hauntening - Complete Series 3

Pre-order. Audio Download

Modern technology is terrifying. The average smartphone carries out three-point-three-six billion instructions per second. The average person can only carry out one instruction in that time. Stop and think about that for a second. Sorry, that's two instructions; you won't be able to do that.

But what if modern technology was...literally terrifying? What if there really was a ghost in the machine? Travel through the bad gateway in this modern ghost story as award-winning writer and performer Tom Neenan (The Mash Report, Spitting Image) discovers what horrors may lurk in our apps and gadgets...

The Pot Carriers

The Pot Carriers

Pre-order. Blu-ray, DVD

Ronald Fraser reprises his role as a petty career criminal in this big-screen remake of a hit 1960 Play Of The Week comedy drama of the same name.

An authentic and original look at life behind bars, The Pot Carriers also stars Paul Massie as a first-time prisoner, Carole Lesley as the girl he left outside and Dennis Price in a memorable turn as the charming-but-unprincipled Smooth-Tongue Bertie. It is featured here as a brand new high definition transfer from original film elements in its original theatrical aspect ratio.

James Rainbow is sentenced to twelve months for GBH. Assigned to prison kitchen duties he is taken under the wing of several old lags led by Redband and becomes involved in some of their fiddles. Redband, however, is due to be released soon and wants to pull one really big fiddle before he goes!

Russell Brand - Revelation: Connecting With The Sacred In Everyday Life

Russell Brand - Revelation: Connecting With The Sacred In Everyday Life

Out now. Audiobook

Russell Brand takes a "deep, earnest, yet witty dive" into the meaning of life, death, and the sacred space in between in this Audible Original. An Aussie woman living alone in a forest, at one with nature and technology. A former addict celebrating an anniversary in recovery with friends - all ex-addicts - at a humble community centre in LA. A man, no stranger to personal tragedy, training others to swim in arctic waters. The mortality of a close friend, a beloved pet cat, and - ultimately - ourselves. Russell Brand finds the sacred in all these people, locations, and experiences and advocates for discovering and embracing the sacred that is in all that surrounds us.

Unsparing of himself, and with insights that are "sure to resonate with any listener", Revelation sets a context for our need for the sacred - especially now, given current societal fragmentation and the dearth of mitigating social and political ideas.

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

Comedy videos

No Institutional Racism advert

No Institutional Racism advert

Dr Tony Sewell (Toussaint Douglass) reveals how you too can no longer see institutional racism, "just like the UK Government".

Lucy Pearman - Egg Time

Lucy Pearman - Egg Time

This offering, starring Lucy Pearman as Eggy Parton, was definitely the most surreal of the Easter-based comedy uploaded to the internet over the weekend.

Line Of Duty impressions by Chi With A C

Line Of Duty impressions by Chi With A C

Impressionist Lucia Keskin takes on Line Of Duty. AC-12 team has a new lead and it's... hang on, is that Lindsay Denton?!

Bracknall

Bracknall

Meet Steve Bracknall. Bracknall is a bold and energetic comedy with one man at the centre. Ill-adjusted to the modern world and burdened by a mid-life crisis, Steve Bracknall finds purpose as the assistant manager of a ramshackle pub football team.

How to level up your home work station - The Pin

How to level up your home work station - The Pin

This is an innovative configuration for a Zoom desk...

What if The Simpsons was British?

What if The Simpsons was British?

Alasdair Beckett-King imagines what The Simpsons would be like if were a British show. Essentially, it would be shorter and a lot more depressing.

Fleur Delish's daily routine

Fleur Delish's daily routine

Whimsical influencer Fleur Delish's daily routine is strikingly similar to Orlando Bloom's.

When we're back at the office

When we're back at the office

Katie Davison predicts what the conversations will be like when we all return to our offices.

Spotlight

Gorden Kaye

Gorden Kaye

With his unique forename owing to a professional misspelling, tomorrow marks 80 years since the birth of the actor best known and internationally hugely loved for his starring role in 'Allo 'Allo! as René Artois. But this popular star, although only finding real fame in his late thirties, has a long selection of other credits, from the Porridge feature film to early 2000s BBC Scotland sketch show Revolver, and guest appearances in a range of other sitcom hits. Still seen on television every single day with the French-set wartime sitcom's ongoing popularity, Gordon died in January 2017.

Thanks for reading

Sergio Cortes Allsopp won the BCG Pro Gag-a-Week competition with this topical joke:

Jesus only lasted three days in lockdown and got a holiday in his honour. I lasted a year and got made redundant.

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