Before Radio 1's first run of new shows kicks off next month, here we count down the 20 greatest scripted radio comedies ever to hit the airwavesBen Lawrence, Tristram Fane Saunders & Mark Monahan, The Telegraph, 25th January 2018
One of the oldest sitcoms on the radio returned for two specials this past fortnight, covering the Olympics in all its hellish glory...
Andy Hamilton returns as the underworld-weary Satan in Old Harry's Game, giving his professional opinion of the Olympics while trying to persuade those around him, especially the kindly historian Edith (Annette Crosbie), that the Olympics are not as great as everyone makes out to be. (It's not that difficult, is it?)
In the first special last week, Satan takes Edith to the original Greeks who founded the Games, who mainly wanted to just look at naked men. The show also explored what happened to the original marathon runner Pheidippides after he discovered his run was a waste of time. At the end of this episode, though, we learn that Edith's daughter is taking part in the hurdles, so Satan agrees to take her up London; but in exchange she will eventually finish writing Satan's official biography.
Although this sitcom's been running since 1995, I think it's still one of the best around, because of both the images it creates and the ideas that appear in the show. For example, in Old Harry's Game all twelve Apostles are in Hell and Judas claims he was killed by Mossad. Then there are Satan's various "guises". In this episode he pretends to be Kate Middleton...
It's amazing that this show can still produce laughs after being so long on the air; proof, if needed, that this sitcom is simply top notch. Let's hope there will be a few more episodes made yet, as it can clearly stand the test of time...Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 23rd July 2012
The prize for subversive gag of the week went to Andy Hamilton, whose long running sitcom Old Harry's Game (Radio 4) embarked on the first of two Olympic Specials last Thursday. Satan, ever resourceful, had decided to launch his own "Infernal Olympics" to coincide with the London Games. "It's like the real Olympics" he explained, "only without the corruption and the travel chaos."Pete Naughton, The Telegraph, 17th July 2012
My favourite sitcom returns for a two-part special, inspired by the unavoidable-and-almost-upon-us London Olympics.
Satan (the devilishly good Andy Hamilton) has seen it all before, ever since 776 BC to be precise, and he's not impressed. Fellow inmate Edith (Annette Crosbie), the historian who apparently committed suicide while watching Midsomer Murders, is delighted by the prospect. Satan has no choice but to correct her rose-tinted view and carts her off to meet the Ancient Greek Olympics Committee. They are all in hell, and we soon understand why. (Let's hope the same fate does not await Sebastian Coe.)
Next week's edition returns the wretched underworld losers to 2012. Satan agrees to take Edith to the London Olympics, but it's more a case of going for Gehenna than for gold.Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 12th July 2012
Two-part special of Andy Hamilton's great situation comedy, set in Hell with him in the lead role as the Devil (aka Old Harry, Satan, Prince of Darkness etc). Old Harry fans will know that anything that's going on upon Earth (even in banking) sooner or later catches Satan's attention. He's now learned that London is about to host the Olympic Games and decides to take a closer look. I wonder does Lord Coe realise that all that stands between him and total 2012 disaster is Annette Crosbie, as Edith, wrongly assigned to Hell, Satan's (sort of) conscience?Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 11th July 2012
Newly available on Audio book just in time to find its way into Santa's sack is last year's Christmas edition of Old Harry's Game. For those who have missed Andy Hamilton's radio sitcom on BBC Radio 4 the audio show features Andy Hamilton as Satan.R. Green, Comedy Critic, 4th October 2011
Hell's intake is at its highest since records began. Satan is beginning to feel the strain and the last thing he needs, quite frankly, is all the palaver of Christmas "In the world of men it's December, so they're having their annual moronfest... a soaked in sentimental tosh about a fat old man who comes down chimneys with presents for children and who, in real life, would probably be shot as a paedophile trespasser." Bah, humbug, Mr Beelzebub. And so, Satan descends upon Earth to do his best to cancel Christmas. Boundaries of taste will be pushed to the limits, as always, by Andy Hamilton and co, but it's the funniest thing on air this fortnight.Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 23rd December 2010
Andy Hamilton's glorious radio comedy returns for a new series. It may be bad luck for Hamilton's bank account that it's unlikely to transfer to TV (too expensive, too topical, too funny) but it's good news for listeners who discover tonight how many bankers are now in Hell, what to do with a dog that's suddenly turned up there and why God appears to be on a gap year. Hamilton, as ever, plays Satan, attended by lesser devils Scumspawn and Thomas (Robert Duncan and Jimmy Mulville). Annette Crosbie plays Satan's crisply academic biographer.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 19th February 2009
Thank heaven for Andy Hamilton's hellish comedy, back on form for its latest series. Hell - where Liberace is forced to share a pit with the Ayatollah Khomeini and where innovative bankers get extra liquidity injected into their systems via a rather nasty route - is still overcrowded. And if that isn't enough to get Satan aerated, then the arrival of man's best friend throws him completely. What the hell is going on when dogs are allowed in? While others may moan that the original idea has run out of steam, I beg to differ. The devil still has the best lines.Frances Lass, Radio Times, 19th February 2009