Richard Cray has been writing, producing, editing and presenting podcasts since 2005. His work has also been heard on BBC Radio Scotland, Resonance FM and RTM Radio.
Richard was born and raised in London, just down the road from where he lives today, the son of a painter-decorator-handyman, who passed down precisely none of his skills, and a school dinner lady, who passed down nothing but her rhinitis. His sister, 12 years his senior, spent most of the 1980s and early 1990s acting (i.e. getting up at three in the morning to be a face in a crowd or hit by a chair during a bar brawl alongside Tom Selleck, spending months at a time in rep or TiE) and singing (i.e. pubs, clubs and three weeks in the West End as part of the chorus of the worst stage musical of all time).
His sister's trials and tribulations, combined with a brief flirtation with fame in his childhood when he portrayed a hotshot pre-teen footballer in a boys' comic photo strip despite being terrible at football (his PE teachers never quite came to terms with this dichotomy), turned him off acting and live performance in favour of the audio medium, through a love of radio and recorded music that began the day in 1974 he bought his first 7" single: Teenage Rampage by the Sweet.
After a failed attempt to start a school radio station alongside alums who have since gone on to work as news producers in both radio and television, he gained his first proper experience at a hospital radio station aged just 15, leaving as quickly as he had joined after the station manager referred to him as a "tenth-rate Steve Wright". The same manager went on to produce Noel's House Party and Jim Davidson's Generation Game, and later became a senior entertainment executive at the BBC, so make of that what you will.
Looking for something more than any hospital station of the era could reasonably offer, he joined community radio station Radio Thamesmead as a volunteer in 1986, assisting in its successful application for an FM licence (as RTM Radio, later Millennium FM, then Time 106.8) in 1989. Here he produced programme trailers, station promos, brand imaging and public service announcements, and presented 250 live and pre-recorded programmes. He became the station's first Commercial Producer upon the station's eventual FM launch, while maintaining his pre-existing duties and producing occasional standalone features for the BBC World Service and corporate clients.
Radio wages being what they were (and still are), he simultaneously worked casually for a newly established market research agency and ended up staying there for 11 years. He also scripted and voiced telephone weather bulletins for the Daily Mirror and attempted to pronounce racehorse names for The Sporting Life's declarations service at six o'clock on a Sunday morning with varying degrees of success. Thankfully, this kind of stuff is all online now, and Britain's weather watchers and gamblers are all the more grateful.
Frustrated by the lack of career progression offered by commercial production, he left RTM to force a move into programme production ("I'm off to look for a zoo where someone's forgotten to lock the cage," he remarked to one colleague at the time). A demo tape was sent out to a dozen carefully selected local radio stations but, despite being highly praised by a couple of new entrants to the industry, no opportunities were forthcoming. Sadly, this desire to change tack also coincided with the very moment the radio industry began to undergo some seismic changes (i.e. increasing automation, narrowing of speech output, emphasis on phone-ins, general mistrust of anyone with a sense of humour, compliance).
One of two epiphanies was his final job interview for a company producing in-flight entertainment in a Charlotte Street basement. Eager to show off the sort of programming the company was foisting upon millions of pairs of popping ears at 30,000 feet, the interviewer reached for a fader on a small mixing desk that allowed those in the room to hear what was happening in any studio in the building at any time. Richard jokingly thought to himself, "I bet they're playing Careless Whisper." They were. Sensing a mismatch that could only end in disaster, he made his excuses and left.
The second was a brief period around the same time sitting in with Danny Baker at BBC Radio 1 over a few weekends, where it became clear that the nation's most famous radio station was no bigger or better than the one he'd left two years earlier. (For starters, RTM had more toilets.) One of many memorable events from this period was The Big Breakfast's Zig and Zag reading from Richard's copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, which now resides in a protective dust jacket for future generations to behold in wide-eyed amazement.
Rapidly approaching the grand old age of 25, he asked his former manager at RTM for his advice. "Give up" was the brutal reply. So he took a proper full-time job and relegated all of his remaining creative tasks to his spare time. Having already produced comedy inserts for his own radio shows, he continued to write, infrequently - and ultimately unsuccessfully - submitting material to competitions, open-calls and the German TV equivalent of Hale and Pace, who described his sketches as "very funny but too sophisticated for us".
In 1998, he set up a small cassette-based home studio and formed the satirical musical collective Dogs Must Be Carried. After some initial interest leading to radio play on Radio 1, BBC 6Music, Virgin Radio and Dr Demento's long-running show in the US, he cleaned up the least litigious tracks and issued his debut - and, so far, only - CD in 2006. It is still to break even and therefore yet to be certified plasticine, let alone platinum, and is these days fondly referred to as "Richard's Folly" rather than by its actual title.
In 2001, he was introduced to comedy writer and producer Brian Luff, who had just wrapped the Channel Four adult puppet show Pets (as Brian West) and was co-producing a weekly comedy show on the London fringe that would eventually become Sketch Club, a showcase for new sketch and monologue talent that played a substantial role in helping to launch the careers of several leading comedy writers and performers in the Noughties.
Together they co-wrote material for a short-lived online satirical newspaper, The Liar, while Richard tried his hand at submitting material to ITV's not-very-fondly-remembered open-door sketch show Shoot the Writers! Of the 20 sketches submitted, the producers chose the worst sketch of the bunch and cocked up both the set-up and punchline in less than half a minute. Always a glutton for punishment, Richard submitted much better material the following year, which was rejected out of hand.
In the spring of 2005, Richard was approached to become one of the first contributors to Luff's fledgling comedy podcast channel Comedy 365, along with John Dredge. Within six months, the channel found itself rated fourth in the iTunes Top 20, below Stephen Fry and two BBC podcasts but above The Simpsons.
At the same time, Sketch Club was forced to take a new direction and Richard was brought on board as a co-producer, predominantly to help audition acts and perform technical duties on the night. Over the next decade, he ran the sound board at several other character comedy and sketch nights, most notably in London and Manchester with the Scarlet Pimps, for whom he also provided FX and music cues to brief between 2007 and 2011.
Sketch Club also indirectly led to Richard gaining the honour of being one of the few men ever to have a piece performed at the Funny Women Awards final at London's Comedy Store, as well as two stints co-producing bill shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, performing technical duties and editing versions of each night's show to be uploaded as a podcast the following afternoon.
Just before his first Edinburgh, he made the shortlist for Channel 4's Radio HaHa initiative, which aimed to find new comedy talent for its proposed DAB service E4 Radio, and was subsequently nominated for that year's 4Talent Award, despite the fact that one of the judges (now a senior BBC radio executive) told him that, aged 39, he was "too old to be doing this sort of thing". Sadly, the financial crisis put paid to Channel Four's majority shareholding in the 4 Digital Group and the consortium later surrendered its licence.
However, being mentored on the scheme and having lost half a stone pitching to a panel of industry heavyweights did lead to a couple of commissions with BBC Radio Scotland. The first was a short run of spoof advertisements for Janice Forsyth at the turn of the year, the budget for which was made possible by the BBC's competition scandals and stripped thanks to the BBC's Sachsgate scandal. The E4 Radio experience also introduced Richard to award-winning producer Gus Beattie, a fellow escapee from radio commercial production, who some years later commissioned him (together with John Dredge) to write a chunk of Lewis Macleod's Wired News.
Edinburgh 2008 also saw Richard working at the same venue as Jake Yapp, for whom he has since teched three shows at the Edinburgh and Camden Fringes. A decade later, he was called in to tidy up Jake's frankly filthy Old Sex Podcast, which took a breather in the summer of 2018 and is, rather aptly, still waiting to be finished off.
After several years of writing, producing and presenting his own podcasts, first for Comedy 365 and later for its sister feed 404 Funny, to which archive material was moved in 2009, Richard began to work more closely with John Dredge, editing audio recorded elsewhere at first before taking over recording and script editing duties.
Since 2011, he has co-written and produced John's Nothing to Do with Anything Show for British Comedy Guide and Resonance 104.4FM, also lending his voice wherever and whenever required. In addition, he continues to edit comedy and B2B podcasts for a variety of third parties.
In recent years, he has worked in the back end of the media in broadcast metadata and press monitoring. In his spare time, which is only too plentiful at present, he is one of over 400 volunteers assisting a lottery-funded digitization programme at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
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"The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show is a lot of old nonsense - and that is exactly what it intends to be. It is silliness for no other sake than silliness. [It is] expertly spliced together [and] lovely radio made by someone who clearly loves radio."The Big Issue (Robin Ince), 4th June 2020
"Well worth your time. This series is full of slickly-produced surreal sketches, [starting] with the most spot-on spoof of The Archers that I have ever heard."Great British Podcasts (Scott Bryan), 24th May 2020
"Absolutely perfect for lifelong Radio 4 and 4 Extra fans - despite having nothing to do with either network."Radio Times (Jane Anderson), 20th May 2020
"[John Dredge] deserves points for doing this podcast under his own steam rather than waiting for a Radio 4 commission."Radio Times (David Hepworth), 29th April 2020
"An incredibly impressive affair which sounds like it could have been airing on Radio 4 (or a better, funnier radio station) all these years without any alterations. There's a huge amount of truly fantastic ideas on display, all of which are produced in a manner which is remarkably professional too. For once, I've no minor issues or tiny complaints when it comes to a podcast; this is consistently hilarious and a real joy to listen to."Comedy to Watch (Alex Finch), 18th April 2020
"Well written, well performed and well edited. Great production quality all-round. Guaranteed laughs, unless you're humourless - in which case, you have bigger problems."Podchaser.com (Matt Watson), 6th April 2020
"Wonderfully produced and refreshingly ridiculous."The Observer (Miranda Sawyer), 29th March 2020
"Absolutely hilarious nonsense. It sounds like radio from a parallel dimension. To have the production quality that sounds as sharp as something that you would hear on Radio 4 or other radio stations but pulling it off as a podcast is phenomenal."Podcast Radio Hour, BBC Radio 4 Extra (Amanda Litherland and Scott Bryan), 29th March 2020
"[The] fifth season of [the Nothing to Do with Anything Show is] every bit as weird and wonderful as all that preceded it. An audio pastiche of Monty Python meets SCTV by way of The Carol Burnett Show, [John] Dredge's new season debut plays like a teaser trailer of bizarre and warped TV and radio shows rejected by the BBC."New York Magazine / vulture.com (Mark Hershon), 26th March 2020
"Bat-shit ding-dong. There is such madness and care in this show: sound effects, silly lines, layer upon layer of daftness."The Observer (Miranda Sawyer), April 2014
"One of the funniest, most imaginative comedies around, podcast or otherwise."Goodpodcasts.com, April 2014
"Some of the funniest, most imaginative comedy I have heard in years."Goodpodcasts.com, August 2013
"Great use of sound effects and the silliest script ever. Try it if you think Milton Jones is too sensible."The Observer (Miranda Sawyer), June 2012
"Best comedy podcast I've heard in ages."Pick of the Pods (Tom Robinson), June 2012
- United Kingdom
- Home town
- Resident of
- United Kingdom (London)
|2018||The Old Sex Podcast - Swan Burst Media||Editor|
|2016||Lewis Macleod's Wired News - Series 1||Writer|
|2015||Jake Yapp: One-derland - Camden People's Theatre, London||Audio producer / Tech|
|2014||Lewis Macleod's Wired News - Games Special||Writer|
|2014||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 3-5 - British Comedy Guide||Ensemble Actor|
|2014||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 3-5 - British Comedy Guide||Writer|
|2014||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 3-5 - British Comedy Guide||Producer|
|2014||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 3-5 - British Comedy Guide||Editor|
|2013||Lewis Macleod's Wired News - Pilot||Writer|
|2013||Caroline Newte Hardie: Does My Face Look Big in This? - Hen & Chickens, London||Audio producer / Tech|
|2012||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 1-5 - Resonance 104.4FM||Ensemble Actor|
|2012||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 1 & 2 - 404 Funny||Ensemble Actor|
|2012||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 1-5 - Resonance 104.4FM||Writer|
|2012||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 1 & 2 - 404 Funny||Writer|
|2012||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 1-5 - Resonance 104.4FM||Producer|
|2012||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 1 & 2 - 404 Funny||Producer|
|2012||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 1-5 - Resonance 104.4FM||Editor|
|2012||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Anything Show - Series 1 & 2 - 404 Funny||Editor|
|2012||Nine and a Half Minutes: The Poncho Fandango Podcast - 404 Funny||Producer|
|2012||Nine and a Half Minutes: The Poncho Fandango Podcast - 404 Funny||Editor|
|2011||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Xmas Show - 404 Funny||Ensemble Actor|
|2011||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Xmas Show - 404 Funny||Writer|
|2011||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Xmas Show - 404 Funny||Producer|
|2011||The John Dredge Nothing to Do with Xmas Show - 404 Funny||Editor|
|2011||Tales from Steeple Bumstead - 404 Funny||Editor|
|2011||The John Dredge Programme Show - 404 Funny||Producer|
|2011||The John Dredge Programme Show - 404 Funny||Editor|
|2010||The Daily Dredge - Series 2 - 404 Funny||Producer|
|2010||The Daily Dredge - Series 2 - 404 Funny||Editor|
|2010||Eirlys Bellin: Unaccustomed as I Am - Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff||Audio producer / Tech|
|2010||Liar News Election Special - 404 Funny||Host / Presenter|
|2010||Liar News Election Special - 404 Funny||Writer|
|2010||Liar News Election Special - 404 Funny||Producer|
|2009||The 404 Special - 404 Funny||Host / Presenter|
|2009||Liar News - Series 2 - 404 Funny||Host / Presenter|
|2009||The 404 Special - 404 Funny||Writer|
|2009||Liar News - Series 2 - 404 Funny||Writer|
|2009||Liar News - Series 2 - 404 Funny||Producer|
|2009||Sowerby & Luff's All Stars - The White Horse, Edinburgh||Co-producer|
|2009||Comedy 365 at Edinburgh - Comedy 365||Editor|
|2009||Sowerby & Luff's All Stars - The White Horse, Edinburgh||Audio producer / Tech|
|2009||Jake Yapp: Hallo, Music Lovers! - Just the Tonic @ The Caves, Edinburgh||Tech|
|2009||Jake Yapp: Free at Four - Madogs, Edinburgh||Tech|
|2009||Carolyn Castiglia: Brown Ambition - The Mercat Bar, Edinburgh||Tech|
|2009||Liar News Special: Protect and Survive - Comedy 365||Ensemble Actor|
|2009||Liar News Special: Protect and Survive - Comedy 365||Writer|
|2009||Liar News Special: Protect and Survive - Comedy 365||Producer|
|2009||The Daily Dredge - Series 1 - Comedy 365||Editor|
|2008||The Really Short Show - Comedy 365||Editor|
|2008||Vranarama - Lowdown at the Albany, London||Tech|
|2008||The Sunday Defensive - Lowdown at the Albany, London||Tech|
|2008||The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre - The Comedy Pub, London||Tech|
|2008||Sowerby & Luff: Sex Tips for Pandas - Dragonfly, Edinburgh||Co-producer|
|2008||Sowerby & Luff in Edinburgh - Comedy 365||Editor|
|2008||Sowerby & Luff: Sex Tips for Pandas - Dragonfly, Edinburgh||Audio producer / Tech|
|2008||Comedy Circus - The Comedy Pub, London||Tech|
|2008||Fat Tongue - The Arts Theatre (1927 Room), London||Tech|
|2008||Liar News - Series 1 - Comedy 365||Host / Presenter|
|2008||Liar News - Series 1 - Comedy 365||Writer|
|2008||Liar News - Series 1 - Comedy 365||Producer|
|2008||The Janice Forsyth Show - inserts - Demus Productions for BBC Radio Scotland||Voice Actor|
|2008||The Janice Forsyth Show - inserts - Demus Productions for BBC Radio Scotland||Writer|
|2008||The Janice Forsyth Show - inserts - Demus Productions for BBC Radio Scotland||Other: Producer|
|2007||Sketch and the City - The Arts Theatre (1927 Room), London||Tech|
|2007||Holly Burn: Hello, Holly! - The Studio, Eastcote||Audio producer / Tech|
|2007||Holly Burn: Hello, Holly! - The Arts Theatre (Cellar), London||Audio producer / Tech|
|2007||The Really Long Really Short Show - Comedy 365||Editor|
|2007||The John Dredge Not on TV Show - Comedy 365||Editor|
|2007||Eirlys Bellin: Reality Check - Soho Revue Bar (Piano Bar), London||Audio producer / Tech|
|2007||Eirlys Bellin: 50 Minutes of Fame - Soho Revue Bar (Piano Bar), London||Audio producer / Tech|
|2006||The Scarlet Pimps - various shows at venues in London and Manchester||Audio producer / Tech|
|2006||Mary Bourke: Dr Style - Etcetera Theatre, London||Audio producer / Tech|
|2006||Funny Women Awards Final: Maggie Gordon-Walker - The Comedy Store, London||Writer|
|2006||Blue Pepper - various shows at London venues||Audio producer / Tech|
|2006||The Dogs Must Be Carried Top 50 - Comedy 365||Ensemble Actor|
|2006||The Dogs Must Be Carried Top 50 - Comedy 365||Writer|
|2006||The Dogs Must Be Carried Top 50 - Comedy 365||Producer|
|2006||The Dogs Must Be Carried Top 50 - Comedy 365||Composer|
|2005||Sketch Club - Downstairs at the King's Head, London||Writer|
|2005||Sketch Club - Downstairs at the King's Head, London||Co-producer|
|2005||Sketch Club - Downstairs at the King's Head, London||Audio producer / Tech|
|2004||Shoot The Writers!||Writer|
|1990||The Pickle Programme - RTM Radio||Host / Presenter|
|1990||The Pickle Programme - RTM Radio||Writer|
|1987||Richard Cray's Packed Lunch - RTM Radio||Host / Presenter|
|1987||Richard Cray's Packed Lunch - RTM Radio||Writer|
|1986||As We Were Saying - Radio Thamesmead||Producer|
|1986||As We Were Saying - Radio Thamesmead||Ensemble Actor|
|1986||As We Were Saying - Radio Thamesmead||Writer|