Just seeing the title will be enough for true fans of Ed Reardon. They need not read on. Their favourite show has returned. But for those who've never encountered the cynicism, dry asides and borderline-psychotic vitriol of Mr Reardon, now is the time to get acquainted.
Reardon is the comic creation of Andrew Nickolds and Christopher Douglas (who plays him) and as the ninth series opens our hero is down on his luck - again. The gas and electricity have been switched off, he doesn't have a penny to his name and his fingers are too big to type on the minuscule keypad of his phone - "Sunday" comes out as "dimfat", a result that will resonate with many adult readers.
And so he turns to his now ex-girlfriend Fiona (played by Jenny Agutter), arriving at her house in a state of total self-abasement, which lasts as long as it takes for her to offer him some lunch. She agrees to consider taking him back if he gets a proper job and this is where his old rival Jaz Milvane (Philip Jackson) comes to the rescue.
There's money to be made from Harry Potter and though Ed declares he'd rather hang himself with a Hogwarts' scarf than contribute any more money to JK Rowling, he's soon dressing up as a porter at King's Cross station. Next he's persuading Japanese students to stuff £20 notes into his satchel before they "board" the Hogwarts Express.
This is not just funny, it's comic genius.Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 11th November 2013
One of our finest cricketers, Dave Podmore (Test batting average: four) is bereft. His beloved dog Saxon is dead. And, as befits a great canine and a great master, only the most lavish of funeral ceremonies will do.
Fans of the Pod will smell the stench of oncoming disaster at this point - anything involving Dave either spending or trying to earn money is doomed. This time the cost of hiring Gareth Malone to lead the choir has hit him hard. Could glamorous wife Jackie not help him? She's too busy in the Emirates, setting up her vajazzle franchise. And so Pod must fall back on his cricketing knowledge to earn some money. Who better than he to represent England at the Ashes press conference . . ?
Chris Douglas, Andrew Nickolds and Nick Newman's writing remains as sharp as any Poms vs Aussie rivalry. Best Pod line at the press conference? "If it wasn't for Ant and Dec, no one would have heard of Australia."Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 7th July 2013
Ed Reardon, sublime creation of Andrew Nickolds and Christopher Douglas, is already well-established as a comic hero. His eighth series of adventures, to he heard in Ed Reardon's Week on Radio 4 on Tuesday evenings, is turning him into a national treasure.
Ed, as those of us who have loved him from his first Radio 4 appearance in January 2005 will know, is the curmudgeon's curmudgeon. Failed writer, failing adult education lecturer, divorced, perpetually hard up, bad father, constantly on the scrounge, possessed of an agent who does nothing for him, pursued by furious envy of a more successful erstwhile friend, he is fluently pompous, witheringly contemptuous and utterly recognisable, especially when ranting. I used to think I was once married to him. Now when I hear Ed, I hear me.
In the manner of the best comedy, he is first set at a distance but gradually brought close enough to recognise. In last week's episode, Original British Drama, Ed was nicking cat food and canned pudding from charity food banks, trying to stave off a rent rise, wasting police time and gleefully concocting a totally fictional biography for a supposedly real-life BBC TV docudrama. In the process, through the dialogue between all the other characters, the programme began to speak for everyone who shouts at TV plays for their gross verbal and visual solecisms, anyone who can't quite adapt to chatty new Radio 3.
We laugh when the desk sergeant tells Ed that Radio 3 is what they have on all the time now, how it lowers stress levels. We rant along with Ed at how the old Third Programme is now the home of "guess the mystery instrument" phone-ins. If Count Arthur Strong has turned you off the 6:30 slot on Radio 4, conquer your mistrust. Ed (played by Christopher Douglas) is the man. This evening he will again have to reconcile his deep hatred of Jaz Milvaine (once a pal, now a hated Hollywood success) with the need to earn a few quid. This epic struggle will tell you more about contemporary culture than a month of Radio 4's Front Row.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 17th April 2012
Ed Reardon - celebrated creator of an episode of Tenko, ghostwriter for z-list celebrities and, sometimes, their pets - is back, and this time he's happy. So happy, in fact, that his facial muscles have difficulty in adjusting to this new emotional experience.
Reardon fans, who include RT's very own Alison Graham and Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman, need not fear that his inner rage at the injustices of modern life or, more specifically, his life has been dampened. He begins by railing against the happy young women they place on the front of broadsheet newspapers who have just passed their GCSEs with flying colours. Why can't they show abject failures, he wants to know? And why does even the sport section of said papers have to contain a wry look at the world by David Mitchell? Why not just give him his own damn section and have done with it?
Life has certainly improved for Ed since he took up with 1960s model Fiona (played by Jenny Agutter) - she's going to fly him on an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris - but can this spate of happiness last? No, of course not. An attempt to get his passport renewed ends in the squalid disaster we have come to expect from genius writers Andrew Nickolds and Christopher Middleton. Who'd have thought a company called Merkury Kouriers could invoke such disdain?Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 3rd April 2012
Dave Podmore (like the more famous Ed Reardon, the creation of Christopher Douglas and Andrew Nickolds), is England's louchest, laziest former cricketer. But his luck at picking up juicy jobs has run out. He's down to walk-ons in Aladdin at the Meatmarket Theatre, Droitwich. So he has a brilliant wheeze to get back into the headlines, involving old escapades with Miss Scrumpy Jack. Is Dave smart enough to juggle the law?Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 22nd December 2011