Mordrin McDonald: 21st-Century Wizard. Mordrin McDonald (David Kay). Copyright: The Comedy Unit.

Mordrin McDonald: 21st-Century Wizard

BBC Radio 4 sitcom. 14 episodes (3 series), 2010 - 2012. Stars David Kay, Jack Docherty, Gordon Kennedy, Cora Bisset, Callum Cuthbertson, Eleanor Thom, Grant O'Rourke and others.

Press Clippings

Radio 4 broadcasts wrong episode of Mordrin McDonald

Radio 4 broadcast a month-old episode of its sitcom Mordrin McDonald: 21st Century Wizard, instead of the series finale.

British Comedy Guide, 3rd March 2011

When this comedy series dropped into the schedules last year I listened and I did not get it. This was my radio equivalent of Miranda over on BBC2 (which has still to make my mouth vaguely twitch, let alone invoke laughter). But the fact that it reunited Gordon Kennedy and Jack Doherty from Absolutely made me stick with it and my steadfastness was rewarded by the comedy fairy. Or, rather, the comedy warlock. Mordrin McDonald is to wizardry what Rab C Nesbitt was to elocution: he is a procrastinating, lethargic waste of space who expects the worst from the world and is never disappointed. This opener to the new series sees him forced, once more, into a heroic act and the dry one-liners are first-rate. Maybe it's time for me to give Miranda another try?

Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 26th January 2011

Mordrin McDonald: 21st-Century Wizard (Radio 4, Wednesdays) is proof that, somewhere beyond the usual shouting and swearing, real comedy still exists. It's written by David Kay and Gavin Smith, stars Gordon Kennedy (as Mordrin) and Jack Docherty (as fellow wizard Bernard the Blue) and concerns a 2,000-year-old being who fights evil whenever he isn't jam-making or chatting to the neighbours. He is a Scot and lives in Scotland which imbues in him a world view like those of the great Chic Murray or the marvellous Arnold Brown, tending to the school of rueful reflection and deflation of expectation. Asked if wizards can sense each others' presence he replies, "No, I just look out the window." He knows how to disarm a dragon and what to do when the binmen don't arrive. Every urban village needs a Mordrin. I hope this one stays longer on Radio 4 than his four allotted episodes. His chances of doing so are enhanced by good casting and strong production (by Gus Beattie, for independents The Comedy Unit).

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 8th February 2010

A comedy worth catching: Mordrin McDonald: 21st Century Wizard: Said Scot is the UK's 19th most powerful necromancer, living in a wee Scots village and failing to avoid being sent on any quests (such as "Can you chaperone this fairy to the ceilidh? Can you return these DVDs to Blockbuster?"). He ends up in the first episode saving Aviemore from a dragon by serenading it with "Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon. Co-writer and star David Kay evokes fond memories of Ivor Cutler, and there is no higher praise.

Chris Maume, The Independent, 31st January 2010

I was understimulated by the first mention of Mordrin McDonald: 21st Century Wizard. Joanne Rowling's ubiquity has been in danger of buggering up wizards: you find yourself in danger of echoing that don in the Eagle and Child who greeted another self-congratulatory reading session between CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein with the necessary phrase: "Not more fucking elves."

But this was good. Funny good, pithy good. Mordrin is a laconic, lazy, pissed-off Scottish wizard, doomed to attempt, with vitriolic reluctance, heroic tasks in an unheroic world. No missing back-story here on, for instance, Mordrin's name: his grandfather was bored during Countdown a thousand years ago: yes, that's the kind of throwaway line I enjoy, and this is full of them, and it also reunites Jack Docherty and Gordon Kennedy from TV's sorely missed Absolutely, which is a humungous golden spitting dragon of a good idea.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 31st January 2010

Sorcerers, wizards and witches live among us, says the narrator, guarding us against all manner of evil, protecting the planet. This is about 2,000-year-old Mordrin, a laconically philosophical wizard coming to grips with trite human challenges and getting on with his jam-making. He's rather wonderful. Written by David Kay and Gavin Smith, starring Gordon Kennedy.

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 27th January 2010