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

Down The Line

BBC Radio 4 sketch show parodying phone-in shows. 34 episodes (5 series), 2006 - 2020. Stars Rhys Thomas, Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse, Simon Day and others.

Press Clippings

Radio comedy reviews

New radio comedy is often disappointing. So welcome back Down The Line - the phone-in show with a twist. Also a look at Cabin Pressure which has started a repeat run, and comedy documentary What's Funny About...

Charlotte Runcie, The Telegraph, 20th May 2020

How Down The Line fooled the nation

As the spoof phone-in show returns for a lockdown special, Rhys Thomas, Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse remember their closest calls.

Tom Fordy, The Telegraph, 14th May 2020

Radio 4's Down The Line to return for lockdown special

Radio 4 has confirmed spoof phone-in show Down The Line will return for a new lockdown special. Meanwhile Radio 4 Extra will broadcast a new comedy-focused documentary series called What's Funny About....

British Comedy Guide, 5th May 2020

Review: Down The Line, Radio 4

I'm sorry the TV series didn't pan out. And welcome back to the radio Gary. I think it's where you belong.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 22nd May 2013

Radio 4's Down the Line is back back BACK, baffling the uninitiated with its phone-in pronouncements. I love how the script is just the wrong side of normal. "Your call is an angry call, so I thought a bit of angry music would help"; "Why not put your headphones on and sit on a washing machine?"; "Have you noticed that if you say cheeky in front of something people think it's OK... how about a cheeky bit of genocide?"; "Nobody really likes those posh sausages you get in the supermarket, made of venison, apricots and snowdrops or something"; "My father would have killed for the rectum of a horse". All useful phrases for life, I think you'll agree.

Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 5th May 2013

It's not real but it's very funny. This spoof phone-in is hosted by (fictional) Gary Bellamy, devised and produced by Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse who also appear, amid a glittering talent line-up which includes Amelia Bullmore, Felix Dexter and Adil Ray in the gloriously comic array of pretend callers. It's hard to go back to the real world of phone-ins after this, so perfectly does it capture their manic levels of non-communication.

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 29th April 2013

The Radio 4 phone-in where every caller's a crank

Last week, a young and cultishly popular talk radio host called Gary Bellamy returned to Radio 4 for a new series of his phone-in programme, Down the Line (Tuesday).

Pete Naughton, The Telegraph, 22nd March 2011

Down the Line is back

Editor's note: when Down the Line first appeared on Radio 4 there was uproar. A popular phone-in with an award-winning presenter most obviously recruited from a different part of the speech radio spectrum? Not a popular commission. However, Radio 4 listeners - ever tolerant - have taken the show, and its enthusiastic (and award-winning) host to their heart - SB.

Gary Bellamy, BBC Blogs, 15th March 2011

Moving Down the Line (the creation of Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson) to TV sounded like such a bad and simply impossible idea, yet Bellamy's People - as the BBC2 spin-off series was called - worked superbly. "Nobody watched it," says Gary Bellamy (Rhys Thomas) in this new run of the radio show. Bellamy is as strong a character as Alan Partridge for how perfectly he captures a certain type of radio presenter - and that failed TV show adds to the character. You'll now hear a Partridge-like mix of deliciously misplaced ego and barely hidden wounds. "I prefer radio," he insists. "I wanted to come back to my roots." So he's back with the "live" Radio 4 phone-in and while not every call works, the majority do, and it's a treat to have the show back again.

William Gallagher, Radio Times, 15th March 2011

When this comedy series began it went out late. It still fooled gullible souls like me into thinking it really was a phone-in and not an exquisite parody of one. Host Gary Bellamy is played by Rhys Thomas, the voices of all those nutters, fanatics, drunks and po-faced poshies come from Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Amelia Bullmore, Simon Day, Lucy Montgomery and Felix Dexter. And very funny they are, probably because they are not a million miles away from the real people who call Radio 5 Live's real-life late-night hosts Tony Livesey and Stephen Nolan.

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 14th March 2011