Down The Line. Gary Bellamy (Rhys Thomas). Copyright: Down The Line Productions
Down The Line

Down The Line

  • Radio sketch show
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2006 - 2020
  • 34 episodes (5 series)

Spoof phone-in show starring Rhys Thomas as the clueless and tactless DJ Gary Bellamy. Also features Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse, Simon Day, Lucy Montgomery, Felix Dexter and more.

Down The Line. Gary Bellamy (Rhys Thomas). Copyright: Down The Line Productions

Key details

Genre
Sketch Show
Broadcast
2006 - 2020
Channels
BBC Radio 4
Episodes
34 (5 series), plus 1 highlights special
Stars
Rhys Thomas, Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse, Simon Day, Lucy Montgomery, Felix Dexter, Amelia Bullmore, Adil Ray and Robert Popper
Writers
Simon Day, Charlie Higson, Lucy Montgomery, Rhys Thomas and Paul Whitehouse
Producers
Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse
Companies

Award winning journalist Gary Bellamy is waiting for your calls, as Down The Line invites listeners to call Radio 4's groundbreaking phone-in programme.

This comedy, created by the team behind The Fast Show, parodies radio phone-in shows. The show's host, the keen but dim Gary Bellamy, fields calls from experts, idiots, bigots and nutters about a different topic each week.

When it was launched in May 2006, Down The Line caused a massive media stir. The first episode was such an accurate parody of a bad phone-in show that many listeners were fooled into believing it was genuine, and thus complained to the BBC (see the press clippings section of this guide for more on this).

The BBC helped with the subterfuge by publishing a fake profile for Gary Bellamy on the Radio 4 website with a fake picture (below); plus they set up a phone number for the show (with a message saying that the line was busy); and dropped the credits to hide the fact the callers were actually actors.

Down The Line. Copyright: Down The Line Productions

It wasn't until almost a week later that the people behind the show were un-veiled as none other than the well known comedy actors Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson and Rhys Thomas.

In 2010 the show briefly transferred to TV in the form of Bellamy's People. The transfer was not considered a success, but the radio show continues with a loyal fan base.

Additional details

Production
Studio

Website links

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Tuesday 2nd May 2006 at 11pm on BBC Radio 4
Most recent repeats

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