Don't Start. Image shows from L to R: Kim (Katherine Parkinson), Neil (Frank Skinner). Copyright: Avalon Television.

Don't Start

BBC Radio 4 comedy drama about a couple who argue. 12 episodes (3 series), 2011 - 2016. Stars Frank Skinner and Katherine Parkinson.

Don't Start. Image shows from L to R: Kim (Katherine Parkinson), Neil (Frank Skinner). Copyright: Avalon Television.

Don't Start

Comedy drama about Neil and Kim, a couple who have a different argument every week. Starring Frank Skinner and Katherine Parkinson

Genre
Comedy Drama
Broadcast
2011 - 2016
Channel
BBC Radio 4
Episodes
12   (3 series)
Starring
Frank Skinner and Katherine Parkinson
Writer
Frank Skinner
Director
Polly Thomas
Producer
Polly Thomas

Don't Start is a scripted comedy with a deceptively simple premise - an argument. Each week, our couple fall out over another apparently trivial flashpoint - a text from a friend, a trilby and a bad night's sleep are just some of the starting points.

Each week, the stakes mount as Neil and Kim battle with words. But these are no ordinary arguments. The two outdo each other with increasingly absurd images, unexpected literary references (Androcles and the Lion pop up at one point) and razor sharp analysis of their beloved's weaknesses.

Underneath the cutting wit, however, there is an unmistakable tenderness.

Writer and star Frank Skinner said: "I've spent an unhealthy percentage of all my relationships in argument mode. Sometimes it's simply destructive but, on other occasions, it can be like an elaborate verbal dance. One of the characters in Don't Start talks about finding 'poetry amidst the bile'. Radio loves language and that gives me license to explore a style of comedy that loves language too. I'm a fan of those Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn films when their bickering is finely-crafted, funny, and yet somehow still very real. That's what I've tried to achieve with Don't Start."

Production Details

Production company
Laugh track
None

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Wednesday 5th October 2011 on BBC Radio 4 at 11pm
Last new broadcast
Wednesday 20th January 2016 on BBC Radio 4 at 11pm
Length of episodes
15 minutes
Last repeat
Wednesday 7th August 2019 at 11:15pm on Radio 4 Extra