Rockton Manor Studios. Benson (Paul Whitehouse). Copyright: Above The Title Productions.

Rockton Manor Studios

BBC Radio 2 sitcom. 1 pilot in 2009. Stars Paul Whitehouse, Sheridan Smith, Rasmus Hardiker, Rebecca Front, Mark Benton and William Andrews.

Press Clippings

Right from the off, Rockton Manor Studios (Radio 2) was funny. This new sitcom, written by David Cummings (Fast Show, Happiness) for his first radio commission, and starring Paul Whitehouse, is set in an ailing recording studio run by a former roadie. Early on, you could feel the sitcom staples easing into place - the hapless protagonist; impending change of circumstances; tangled family relationships - but pleasingly these didn't veer in expected directions.

It is also perfectly pitched for the Radio 2 audience, with music gags aplenty, and biographical landmarks told through songs and bands ("a Teardrop Explodes tour I was on"). Mostly, though, the pleasure lies in the performances from Whitehouse as the former roadie, and Mark Benson as his best friend. Whitehouse has great fun with railing against modern music, or any music that's not his mouldy old "canon of enduring quality".

Benson, though, almost stole the show with exquisite comic timing. His explanation of why he turned to selling houses ("I wanted to give something back") was as ticklish as his successive interruptions ("Who wants a Twiglet?") of a major family conference.

Elisabeth Mahoney, The Guardian, 2nd March 2009