Adam Drake (Goose, Bounty Hunters), Charlotte Ritchie (Call the Midwife, Fresh Meat), Ben Rowse (Goose), Freddy Syborn (Bounty Hunters, Bad Education), Liam Williams (Pls Like, Double Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee) and Matilda Wnek (BEARD, BAFTA Rocliffe Award Winner) have teamed up to make a new satirical podcast. They explain more here:
Nero fiddled while Rome burned, but we made a podcast.
Capital is an improvised sitcom about the government having a referendum to bring back capital punishment, which passes by 51%, and the hapless civil servants tasked with making it happen.
Set in the near-future, it follows a referendum (sound familiar?), only held to appease right-wing factions of an increasingly fragmented Conservative party (sound familiar?) which, to everyone's surprise, passes by a narrow majority (sound familiar?) and must now be implemented by a department headed by Harry Enfield (that bit is different).
Capital is inspired by Brexit, in the same way Trainspotting was inspired by a grisly and community-destroying heroin epidemic. This isn't the first time British politics has inspired comedy, from the gnomic witticisms of Yes, Minister, to the deft verbal slapstick of The Thick Of It, to the names of Jacob Rees-Mogg's children.
Satire has become a dirty word, like 'New Labour' or 'rimming', so we tried to construct characters as much as satirical ciphers, humanising the cognitive dissonance of the civil servants bringing back hanging despite not necessarily believing in it. In order to root our podcast in the reality of the civil service, it was important we got our research right. So we didn't do any. Zing.
We improvised each episode around a 'beat sheet', partly because we wanted our riffy stumblings to reflect the genuine cluelessness of politicians, and partly because Charlotte was filming and we couldn't coordinate diaries. We had a host of guest stars as well, including Jon Snow as himself, and Harry Enfield as the Minister for Capital Punishment. A question that came up all the time was 'What's it like working with Harry Enfield?', mostly from us because we were very nervous about working with him.
For each episode, we'd improvise for ten indulgent and long-winded hours, which Freddy would then edit down into a lean, sensical thirty minutes, like a gardener pruning down an orchard full of plum trees nourished by the weak sunlight of a Wiltshire spring, before returning to his home in a Vauxhall Corsa 1.6 litre engine, which he borrows from his uncle Gwendyn for out-of-town jobs and the odd weekend away. (Freddy's currently too busy editing episode 6 to edit this article.)
We released the first three episodes this summer and, like a typical Leave voter, our mad little subversive project got way out of hand: we got to the top 10 on the iTunes charts within 24 hours. We had a such great time making the first three, that we've made three more. We're releasing them on 11 December, 18 December, and Christmas Day. So, when your family is divided over the turkey, what better to bring them together than the uncontroversial topic of capital punishment?