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

Down The Line

BBC Radio 4 sketch show. 33 episodes (5 series), 2006 - 2013. Stars Rhys Thomas, Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse, Simon Day, Lucy Montgomery, Felix Dexter, Amelia Bullmore and others.

Press Clippings

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

A one-off special edition of the spoof phone-in show, an eve of Budget salute to all the things we don't know and can't grasp about what's happened to the economy and why having a balance in the bank is suddenly a bad thing. Presented, as ever, by the utterly witless 'Gary Bellamy' (Rhys Thomas) with the only too believable callers played by Paul Whitehouse, Amelia Bullmore, Felix Dexter and co, with special guest Mark Gatiss. Word is that this show is about to transfer to television. Ah well, that'll be another one gone to where the big money grows.

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 21st April 2009

Regular listeners to radio phone-ins (not necessarily on Radio 4) can't help but nod in recognition of the cavalcade of callers ranging from the stupid and the xenophobic, to he near deranged and frankly offensive stereotypes reeled out by those cunning comics Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse, who have got their mates to call in to a spoof show, hosted by a spoof DJ. Soon to be unleashed on BBC2, this is a last chance to hear these grotesques in their natural habitat. Prepare to be appalled and amused in equal measure.

Frances Lass, Radio Times, 21st April 2009

The main trouble I've always found with comedy spoof Down the Line is that the material it's lampooning is just so laughable in and of itself - especially, but not limited to, Any Answers? every Saturday. However, this doesn't stop this programme being hilarious in its own right.

Scott Matthewman, The Stage, 17th April 2009