Radio 4 has ordered new comedies from Geoff Norcott, Mike Bubbins and broadcaster Steph McGovern, while re-commissioning Meera Syal and a showcase of disabled comedians amongst others, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.
Geoff Norcott: Well Classy
In the one-off stand-up show Well Classy, Geoff Norcott explores where he now fits in class-wise. Coming from an upwardly mobile working-class family who aspired to better themselves, he wanted to own his own home but shuddered at always having the worst brand of budget cola. So when did he cross over? How long do you have to be "doing alright for yourself" before you accept what your mates down the pub keep telling you: "you've changed"?
Recording on 15th May at The George IV pub in Chiswick, London, where Norcott previously filmed the 2019 BBC Two documentary How The Middle Classes Ruined Britain, the comedian will also be investigating how, as more middle-class families find themselves financially squeezed, "when will being in the middle become something to be proud of?"
Mike Bubbins: Retrosexual
Among the Radio 4 stand-up showcases being recorded at the Machynlleth Comedy Festival in Wales this weekend is the debut special Retrosexual from Mike Bubbins, in which the 1970s throwback explains how wearing Cuban heels, driving a Ford Cortina and worshipping Evel Knievel makes him a man out of time, never quite fitting in.
The Ultimate Choice
The station is also piloting The Ultimate Choice, presented by McGovern, in which comedians "must pit their wits against a parade of fiendish, mischievous and downright daft dilemmas, like they've never faced before". With help from experts and the audience, they'll "have to make the biggest choices of their lives for your entertainment and delight".
Russell Kane, a regular guest on McGovern's Channel 4 daytime show Steph's Packed Lunch, and Ria Lina are the team captains, with The Ultimate Choice recording on 24th May at the Backyard Comedy Club in London.
Meanwhile, among the shows returning to Radio 4 for second series are Syal's Gossip And Goddesses With Granny Kumar, the chat show hosted by the writer-actor's enduring Kumars character; Tom Mayhew Is Benefit Scum, in which Mayhew guides listeners through the benefits system; and Njambi McGrath's Becoming Njambi, in which the Kenyan stand-up reflects further on the extraordinary life story that brought her from her homeland to the UK. Ken Cheng: Chinese Comedian is also back for a third series of stand-up reflecting upon what it means to be British-Chinese.
The Thirteen Million Club
Following a 2020 pilot, The Thirteen Million Club is returning for another taster of stand-up from disabled comics, while also promising current affairs chat and "anarchic messing about". Hosted by presenter and former The Great British Bake Off contestant Briony May Williams, the line-up of established acts and newcomers for the recording on 11th May at the Backyard club has yet to be confirmed. The original was presented by Lost Voice Guy and featured Tanyalee Davis, Jamie MacDonald, Jess Thom and Don Biswas.
The Radio 4 commissions follow others recently revealed, including debut series from Jessica Fostekew and Sunil Patel; stand-up specials from Biswas, Stephen Bailey, Jon Harvey, and a showcase featuring Eleanor Morton, Mary Flanigan and Esyllt Sears; a second series of MacDonald's Life On The Blink; and the return of Graham Fellows's evergreen creation John Shuttleworth in The Shuttleworths.