The Meaning Of Liff At 30. Image shows from L to R: Douglas Adams, John Lloyd. Copyright: BBC
The Meaning Of Liff At 30

The Meaning Of Liff At 30

  • Radio documentary
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2013
  • 1 episode

A programme marking the 30th anniversary of Dogulas Adams and John Lloyd's dictionary of things there should be a word for but aren't - with new liffs. Features John Lloyd, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Terry Jones, Steven Pinker, Stephen Fry and Matt Lucas

Press clippings

John Lloyd to play the Edinburgh Fringe

Top comedy producer John Lloyd is to debut a solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe. The show is partly inspired by The Meaning Of Liff, the classic, 30-year-old comedy dictionary providing words for things that should have a name but don't, which he co-wrote with Douglas Adams.

Jay Richardson, Chortle, 11th April 2013

Could the prolific John Lloyd be about to come up with yet another long-running programme idea? His one-off celebration The Meaning of Liff at 30, in the company of Sanjeev Bhaskar, Terry Jones and Helen Fielding, was such good fun you felt it was a panel game waiting to happen.

The simple premise of The Meaning of Liff, the bestseller Lloyd wrote with Douglas Adams in the 1980s, was to impose silly meanings on British place names - for instance, Pontybodkin became the stance adopted by a seaside comedian that tells you the punchline is imminent, and Plymouth was to relate an amusing story to someone without realising it was they who told it to you in the first place.

For this anniversary show, Lloyd invited listeners to submit their own reinventions, some of which were every bit as witty as the originals. Helen Fielding - or "Helly", as Lloyd insisted on calling her - was especially taken with Tildonk (a village in Belgium, so not strictly within the rules of the original Liff) to define the wedge-shaped object on a supermarket conveyer belt used to separate one person's shopping from another's. How brilliant was that?

There was also Badgers Mount, describing the sexual position you knew wouldn't work despite your partner's eagerness to try it, and Norwich - any snack where the filling drops out as you take a bite.

Nick Smurthwaite, The Stage, 11th March 2013

Lloyd: Liff most enjoyable thing Adams & I did

"I begged him to call it The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Dictionary by Douglas Adams, with my credit tucked away inside... But no sane publisher ever dreamt of disagreeing with him on anything, so The Meaning of Liff it was"

John Lloyd, Radio Times, 28th February 2013

John Lloyd marks the 30th anniversary of the book he co-wrote with the late Douglas Adams. It's a strange dictionary, as you'd expect from the inventor of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and his radio producer. In The Meaning of Liff you'll find definitions in a new dimension, as place names become definitions for experiences we recognise but don't really have a word for. It started as a game for Adams and Lloyd but Stephen Fry and Matt Lucas now tell Lloyd why they love it. Fellow devotee Professor Steven Pinker talks about the psychological relief and sense of bonding that comes from realising you're not alone in having the thoughts and feelings that Liff captures. And the studio audience throw in their own suggestions, too, to be judged, accepted or rejected by Lloyd and his distinguished judges Helen Fielding (creator of Bridget Jones), ex-Python (and Chaucer scholar) Terry Jones and actor/writer Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 22nd February 2013

New Meaning Of Liff book and Radio 4 celebration announced

To mark the 30th anniversary of Douglas Adams and John Lloyd's hit book The Meaning Of Liff, submissions for a new Liff book are being sought via Radio 4.

British Comedy Guide, 26th January 2013

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