- 2005 - 2017
- BBC Radio 4
- 75 (12 series)
- Christopher Douglas, Philip Jackson, Barunka O'Shaughnessy, Stephanie Cole, Geoffrey Whitehead, Rita May, Alison Steadman, Brigit Forsyth and others
- Christopher Douglas and Andrew Nickolds
- Simon Nicholls and Dawn Ellis
This sitcom follows the life of Ed Reardon, a curmudgeonly writer who has only managed to have one novel published since the 60s.
Despite his distinct lack of success, Ed remains bullishly optimistic about his future. Yes, he may only have a single pair of trousers and have one of the lowest sales ranks on Amazon, but no writer knows more about stealing stationery from their agent... as a freeloader Ed Reardon is the acknowledged king of his profession!
Regular characters joining Ed include Felix, the boss of Ed's publishers, Ping his '12 year-old' agent, the lively pensioners he teaches a screenwriting class to, and his old friend the irritatingly rich and successful movie director Jaz Milvane.
In recent series, Ed found himself still battling through the week encountering the numerous '12-year-olds' who run the media (the young Alex heading up the publishing company); teaching the lively bunch of pensioners who can show him a thing or two about moneymaking schemes, frugal living and having a good time; and having regular run-ins with the rather successful Jaz, director of his only ever book-to-screen adaptation.
In Series 10 Ed is still happily involved with BBC radio producer Laura and her BBC expenses. The pair now seem to be enjoying a state of not uncomfortable, slightly drunken, bliss and the relationship has enabled Ed to reconnect with life in London whilst keeping a toehold, and a cat, in Berkhamsted. But good things never last for Ed...
Over the series, he takes advantage of the numerous empty premises in need of temporary caretakers and live-in guardians, or 'guardian angels' as Ed likes to think of them, as Stan throws him out on the street.
Things have also changed for Ping, who is suffering the biggest disaster to hit the office since they stopped making pens shaped like bananas. She has a new boss called Suzan - pronounced Suzanne. Ed, of course, wastes no time trying to get on the right side of Suzan in the hope of some work whilst Jaz Milvane continues to be his nemesis, plaguing his every move.
In Series 11 Ed is in slightly unfamiliar territory as he has entered the groves of academe and returned to full-time education at "Uni".
He's doing a three-year course in, well he's not entirely sure, but at the end he'll get a BA with the chance of a two-year MA add-on. The fact that he'll have warm, comfortable accommodation for the foreseeable future, a student loan to pay the rent, and that he'll reach 65 by the time he's finished the course and therefore passed the age of paying back the fees, has nothing to do with his decision to study. No, this is all to do with making up for lost time when his studies were cut short in his youth following expulsion from school.
Of course, as with all students nowadays, Ed will need to boost his loan by earning extra cash so he'll still be pestering his agent, Ping, for writing opportunities and so it is as we renew our acquaintance with Ed, and trusty companion Elgar, that we find him reimagining a series of children's books and giving them a savvy post-modern twist for a "cool hundred each" whilst trying to keep up with the other students and their love of coffee shop loyalty cards, seminar satisfaction surveys and certain daytime TV programmes.