Radio 4 orders Jen Brister, Josie Long and Kiri Pritchard-McLean shows

Tuesday 3rd May 2022, 10:15am by Jay Richardson

Jen Brister. Copyright: Idil Sukan

Radio 4 has ordered new comedies from Jen Brister, Josie Long and Kiri Pritchard-McLean, along with a train-based interview series from Alexei Sayle.

In her debut stand-up special for the station, Waves, Brister recounts how, as the non-biological mother of young, entitled, noisy twin boys, she's been trapped in a maelstrom of extreme parenting over lockdown, her explosive and sharp-tongued wit inhibited by the chopping of vegetables and the whir of the washing machine.

Her refuge from this domestic pressure cooker has been sea swimming. Although instinctively resistant to concepts like mindfulness and living in the moment, Brister has mentally freed herself in the invariably freezing waters of the English Channel.

"Swimming has become my constant" she says. "Well, that and drinking. But, anyway, let's get back to the swimming."

Recording at the Ironworks Studio in Brister's home town of Brighton on 23rd May (tickets), the show pledges to be "a comic voyage of self-discovery, but also a surprisingly profound examination of the relationship between body and mind".

Josie Long

Also reflecting on parenting and made by Impatient Productions, the company run by Mark Watson and Lianne Coop, Josie Long: What Now? is an adaptation of the comedian's 2019 show, Tender.

As the dust hopefully settles upon Covid Britain, graffiti up and down the country simply reads "WHAT NEXT?", a question that Long echoes as she sets out an inspirational comic road map for a post-pandemic society.

"Life is so hard! And it's so long! And that's if you're lucky!" she declares.

Recording at The Stand comedy club in Long's home town of Glasgow on 22nd May (tickets), she aims to offer some hopeful, inspiring guidelines as to where we should begin.

Kiri Pritchard-McLean

Meanwhile, Kiri Pritchard-McLean hosts the panel show pilot Best Medicine, celebrating the inspiring history of the science, exploring little-known facts and the pioneering historical characters in the field.

Championing an invention, technique, pill, potion or person, the panel of medical experts and comedians will each make a case for what they think is the "best medicine".

For example, did you know there's a pill made out of cameras you can swallow to check for cancer? Or that you can 3D print artificial ovaries, blood vessels, even pancreases? Or that the first ever successful tooth transplant was on the head of a cockerel?
Best Medicine is produced by Ben Worsfield and will record at Rudolf Steiner House in London on 30th May (tickets).

Alexei Sayle's Strangers On A Train. Alexei Sayle

Radio 4 has also given a full series to Alexei Sayle's Strangers On A Train, in which the veteran comic interviews random members of the public he encounters while taking a journey between cities.

A pilot from Birmingham to Edinburgh aired in February. Sayle told listeners to his podcast that "Radio 4 loved it so much they've commissioned a series, there's going to be seven of them and it's going to go out after The Archers on Sunday night", adding that it will likely broadcast in June.

"While I'm on the train I just talk to people on the train basically" he explained. "I recount things that have happened to me in the various towns that we go through. The Manchester to Bournemouth episode is quite heavy on that and I think it's a really interesting piece of radio.

"It's slow radio in a sense, I just let people talk about where they're going and you get some fascinating stories. If it works it's going to make really interesting radio ... the show never gets off the train, it's entirely recorded on the journey.

"But also, it's not planned in any way, I don't plan what I'm going to ask, when I talk about anecdotes that have happened to me, I've not written them down or anything, they're very spontaneous and that gives them a different kind of quality I think ... if you want to meet me, just get on a train at random, I might be on it!"

Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar. Alexei Sayle. Copyright: BBC

He also revealed that the fourth series of his stand-up show Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar is due to record over three nights in London in late September, following try-outs of the material at the Museum Of Comedy in the capital later this month, "presumably to air at the end of this year".

The BBC have always been "very supportive" of him he observed, before wondering whether the series' upcoming Jeremy Corbyn material will challenge that.

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