Radio 4 announces more than 40 comedy shows

Monday 15th February 2016, 11:00am

David Jason.

Radio 4's new Commissioning Editor for Comedy has announced a number of new comedy series and re-orders for established shows - more than 40 in total.

The programmes will feature established stars such as Sir David Jason, Alexei Sayle and Sandi Toksvig; and new talent such as Tez Ilyas, sketch group Daphne and double-act Max & Ivan.

Sioned Wiliam says: "I am delighted to reveal my first round of comedy commissions. It's a real joy to be able to bring this astounding range of writers and performers to the millions of Radio 4 listeners who tune in every week. My slate includes exciting new voices as well as some of the luminaries of the comedy world. Radio 4 has a long tradition of giving comedians the creative freedom to try out fresh ideas in front of a captivated audience and I have been so impressed with the quality and originality of the programmes. I can't wait for them to make it to the airwaves from this Summer."

The commissions include:

Sam Simmons Is Not A People Person

Sam Simmons, who in 2015 won both the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show and the Barry Award for Best Show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, has been given his own series. Sam Simmons Is Not A People Person sees "the Aussie clown trying to get away from it all, searching for rare birds in exotic locations but no matter how far he travels he can't escape his own thoughts".

Simmons says: "I'm very excited to be let loose on BBC Radio 4! And I can't wait for the opportunity to crawl inside your hearts and holes (ear holes). Hopefully this should sound like a mid-life crisis filtered through the mind of a bird-obsessed maniac as he whinges around the globe in search of feathery solace."

Mae Martin's Guide To 21st Century Sexuality

Mae Martin will explore the Millennial-generation's sexual revolution which is transforming how society perceives sex and gender - all through the lens of her own unique upbringing - in Mae Martin's Guide To 21st Century Sexuality.

Martin says of getting her own series: "Holy moly. I'm too excited and thrilled about recording my show for Radio 4. It's a four episode show about sexuality. I keep waking up in a cold sweat about it, that's excitement right? My parents have told all their friends so I hope the BBC doesn't change its mind."

Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar

Of Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar the BBC says: "one of the country's true comedy legends returns to the BBC with a new stand-up and storytelling show".

Alexei comments: "For years I have been telling people falsely that I run a sandwich bar, now thanks to BBC Radio 4 I have the exciting and thrilling opportunity to make my sandwich bar real except it will still be imaginary. Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar will be the kind of show that the abbreviation WTF was invented for."

A Beginner's Guide To India

Following the success of A Beginner's Guide To Pakistan last year, Aditi Mittal flies in from Mumbai to present A Beginner's Guide To India, to tell listeners about "actual Indian history, and how actual Indians actually feel about it". Aditi is one of Forbes India's "Thirty Under 30", and one of the Times of India's Top Ten Comics.

TEZ Talks

Tez Ilyas is a comic from Blackburn who wowed Edinburgh last year. TEZ Talks sees him giving "an extremely timely and topical guide to being a British Muslim"; it's a show Radio 4 says "couldn't be any more of the moment".

Illyas says: "As a massive fan of Radio 4, I can't wait to develop TEZ Talks into a series for a whole new audience of Tezbians!"

Sarah Kendall - Australian Trilogy

Sarah Kendall - Australian Trilogy will bring Sarah's multi-award winning series of funny and moving stories to Radio 4, taking listeners on a trip, giving them a unique snapshot of small-time life in Australia in the early 1990s.

A Normal Family

Since Henry Normal last had his own show on Radio 4 in 1994, he's been a writer (The Royle Family) and a producer (Gavin & Stacey), and run one of Britain's most successful independent production companies (Baby Cow). He returns to live performance for the first time in twenty years with A Normal Family, about his "mildly severely" autistic son, Johnny.

The Tim Vine Chat Show

Following on from a pilot episode in November, The Tim Vine Chat Show sees internationally acclaimed master of the one-liner, Tim Vine, interviewing members of his live audience as he embarks on a quest to hear the life stories of the Great British public while simultaneously showcasing his trademark mirthful wordplay and preposterous songs.

Tim says: "I'm very excited to be interviewing members of the Great British public on Radio 4. The time for interviewing celebrities is over. Let's find out what everyone else is thinking. (I'm going to do jokes as well.)"

Dr John Cooper Clarke At The BBC

In Dr John Cooper Clarke At The BBC, "the Bard of Salford" will regale listeners with stories, jokes and excerpts from his world class back catalogue of poetry.

Rich Hall's (US Election) Breakdown

Rich Hall's (US Election) Breakdown will see Rich Hall joined by a selection of comedians from both sides of the Atlantic to guide listeners through the chaotic circus that is November's US Presidential election.

Sandi's Ticket To Ride

Sandi Toksvig returns to Radio 4 with a series that sees her taking bus rides with comedy chums in Sandi's Ticket To Ride.

Daphne Sounds Expensive

Sketch group Daphne will bring their brand of "Goon Show-esque" comedy to the airwaves in Daphne Sounds Expensive.


Rumbunch stars Justin Edwards, Mel Giedroyc and Dave Mounfield in a live audience gang show coming soon to a fictional town near you. Each week the hapless trio will do their utmost to hold together a chaotic array of sketches and musical comedy, ably assisted by a special guest and a disgruntled house band.

Desolation Jests

Sir David Jason stars in a new David Renwick radio comedy show, Desolation Jests, featuring quirky sketches in a variety of styles framed in a dark, surreal and joke-filled faux interview format.

David Jason says: "I am delighted to be able to say that we will be giving the Radio 4 audience some comic gems from the pen of the great David Renwick who fortunately has not got One Foot in the Grave. There is more to Renwick than Victor Meldrew and we'll be there to prove it."

Domestic Science

The maths, science and comedy trio Festival of the Spoken Nerd look around the domestic landscape for inspiration and give you a bite size blast of science to make sense of it all in Domestic Science.

Rob Newman's Entirely Accurate Map Of The Brain

Continuing in the scientific vein, one of Britain's finest comedians, Rob Newman, will bring us his Entirely Accurate Map Of The Brain, "a brilliantly subversive challenge to notions of neuroscience that will lift the lid on the incredible world inside our heads."

Lemn Sissay's Origin Stories

Lemn Sissay's last Radio 4 show, Homecoming, was nominated for an international Rose d'Or award; he returns with Lemn Sissay's Origin Stories, a four-part series about famous orphans and foster children literature - from Oliver Twist to Harry Potter - which looks back at incidents from his childhood of care homes and fostering, comparing how he behaved to how notable fictional figures behaved in their fictional worlds.

Cracking Up

With nearly 50% of marriages ending in divorce, there are countless families trying to negotiate a practical way forward. In Cracking Up we meet Spencer Pandy, a psychotherapist who thinks he has the answer, if only his ex-wife and kids would listen.

Simon Evans Goes To Market

Simon Evans Goes To Market is back with "another four doses of Jokenomics - or is it Economedy?" Having looked at commodities in the first and legal addictions in the second series, this time he finds the funny money in births, marriages and deaths.

The Pin

A second series for sketch show The Pin, the highly acclaimed programme in which Alexander Owen and Ben Ashenden deconstruct the boundary between them and the listener, revealing the twisted logic behind their skewed approach to comedy. The BBC says: "The hugely-praised first series got celebrity-comedy plaudits from the likes of David Walliams and Ben Stiller - the next series is set to be even better."

All Those Women

Another series of the sitcom written by Katherine Jakeways.

To Hull And Back

A second series of the sitcom starring Lucy Beaumont and Maureen Lipman.

Alex Edelman's Peer Group

In Alex Edelman's Peer Group, the young American returns with a stand-up series exploring Generation Y, which is "fighting back against its reputation as a group of cheap, lazy, smart-phone bandying, online-dating, tradition-flouting narcissists - a rather unfair criticism, as really only some of this is true".

John Finnemore's Double Acts

Another series of the Award winning show written by John Finnemore.


Morwenna Banks and Rebecca Front's library-based sitcom Shush! returns for another series.

Reluctant Persuaders

Reluctant Persuaders, the sitcom which just won the Best Scripted Comedy With A Live Audience gong at the BBC Audio Drama Awards returns for another run.

Kayvan Novak's The Celebrity Voicemail Show

Kayvan Novak's The Celebrity Voicemail Show, the programme in which all the voices are performed by Kayan Novak, also returns for a new series.

Big Problems With Helen Keen

Another series of the show written and performed by Helen Keen.


Susan Calman's sitcom Sisters has also been renewed.

Terry Alderton's All Crazy Now

Further "audio madness" from Terry Alderton, in Terry Alderton More Crazy Now.

The Absolutely Radio Show

The Absolutely Radio Show, starring sketch group Absolutely, is to return to the airwaves for another series too.

The Casebook Of Max & Ivan

Gag-packed comedy The Casebook Of Max & Ivan has also been given another set of episodes.


Hal, the sitcom created by stand-up Hal Cruttenden, is to return for Series 2.

The Price Of Happiness

Another series of the show from stand-up poet Kate Fox.

Deborah Frances-White Rolls The Dice

A second series for Deborah Frances-White Rolls The Dice.

John Shuttleworth's Lounge Music

Another run of John Shuttleworth's Lounge Music.

Count Arthur Strong

Steve Delaney's character will return for more Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show! in 2016.


Another series of Gloomsbury, the parody of the arty Bloomsbury group.

Meet David Sedaris

Storytelling show Meet David Sedaris is also coming back in 2016.

Ayres On The Air

Pam Ayres will be back with more Ayres On The Air this year.

Ed Reardon's Week

Long-running sitcom Ed Reardon's Week will continue for another series.

Believe It

Believe It, the comedy starring Richard Wilson, has been renewed.

The Brig Society

Marcus Brigstocke is working on another series of The Brig Society.

Tom Wrigglesworth's Hang Ups

Tom Wrigglesworth's Hang Ups has also been renewed.

The Museum Of Curiosity

John Lloyd panel show The Museum Of Curiosity will record another series this year.

The Stanley Baxter Playhouse

The Stanley Baxter Playhouse will return to present more comic dramas.

What Does The K Stand For?

There will also be a third series of Stephen K Amos's sitcom What Does The K Stand For?.

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