Radio 2's History Of British Comedy. David Mitchell. Copyright: Made In Manchester Productions
Radio 2's History Of British Comedy

Radio 2's History Of British Comedy

  • Radio documentary
  • BBC Radio 2
  • 2013
  • 4 episodes (1 series)

Four part series in which David Mitchell traces the history of British humour, from 1913 to the present day. Also features Christopher Paul Lee, Barry Cryer, Denis Norden, Michael Grade, Jimmy Cricket and more.

Episode menu

Series 1, Episode 3

In part three, David considers Carry On innuendo, the birth of satire, and the heyday of light entertainment, as he examines '60s and '70s British comedy.

Further details

In this episode, David looks at Round The Horne. Innuendo has been there in every programme so far, but never in the field of British comedy has anyone pushed as hard as Julian and Sandy did!

He examines the big screen too. Everyone knows what is meant by the phrase 'Carry On humour', but as the films moved through the Seventies, they became freer and laced with sexual innuendo. But by their demise in the late Seventies, the double entendre was more forced and attempts to shock were creeping in.

The programme marks the satire boom of the Sixties. Britain was the centre of popular culture, and comedy was on that band wagon with Peter Cook and That Was The Week That Was.

David also learns how Beyond The Fringe changed reviews forever, and the programme marks the contributions of the Monty Python team, The Two Ronnies, and Morecambe and Wise.

Many call the Seventies the Golden Age of British Comedy and there's no denying that this was the heyday of peak-time light entertainment that was targeted at all ages. Behind the big names however, there was a change of emphasis. The country was facing a tough economic situation and, in times of hardship, comedy is often there to take our minds off our worries - not to remind us of our problems!

As TV and radio dominated, many say that live variety started to die in the Seventies, but variety shows packed out every theatre in every seaside town while Working Men's Clubs took on the acts who once toured the Empire or Stoll Moss circuits a couple of decades before.

The programme includes interviews and archive material from Denis Norden, producer Johnnie Hamp, writers David Nobbs and Barry Cryer, showbusiness agent Laurie Mansfield, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, Kenneth Williams, media lecturer CP Lee, Dave Spikey, Peter Cook and Jonathan Miller.

Broadcast details

Tuesday 19th March 2013
BBC Radio 2
60 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Thursday 4th December 2014 10:00pm Radio 2

Cast & crew

David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Christopher Paul Lee (as Dr CP Lee) Self
Barry Cryer Self
Denis Norden Self
Laurie Mansfield Self
Johnnie Hamp Self
David Nobbs Self
Guest cast
Carla Lane Self
Jonathan Miller Self
Ray Galton Self
Alan Simpson Self
Robert Ross Self
David Frost Self
Dick Clement Self
Ian La Frenais Self
Ronnie Corbett Self
Dave Spikey Self
Eddie Braben Self
Eric Morecambe Self (Archive Material)
Ernie Wise Self (Archive Material)
Ronnie Barker Self (Archive Material)
Kenneth Williams Self (Archive Material)
Kenneth Connor Self (Archive Material)
Barbara Windsor Self (Archive Material)
Peter Cook Self (Archive Material)
Terry Jones Self (Archive Material)
Michael Palin Self (Archive Material)
John Cleese Self (Archive Material)
Mike Craig Self (Archive Material)
Les Dawson Self (Archive Material)
Writing team
Phil Collinge Writer
Production team
Phil Collinge Producer
Ashley Byrne Executive Producer

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