The Headset Set. Copyright: BBC
The Headset Set

The Headset Set

  • Radio sketch show
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2011 - 2012
  • 12 episodes (2 series)

Radio 4 sketch show set in the call centre of mail order catalogue company Smile5. Stars Colin Hoult, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Chizzy Akudolu, Paul Sharma and Philip Fox

Key details

Sketch Show
2011 - 2012
BBC Radio 4
12 (2 series)
Stephen Carlin and James Kettle
Colin Hoult, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Chizzy Akudolu, Paul Sharma and Philip Fox
Stephen Carlin, James Kettle, Andy Wolton, Benjamin Partridge, Colin Hoult, Dan Tetsell, Dale Shaw, Kevin Core and more
Tilusha Ghelani

Welcome to Smile5!

Smile5 is a mail order catalogue company selling everything from Rolex watches to lawnmowers, from financial products to phone and broadband, from holidays to health insurance. And somewhere in a brown-field wasteland miles from the nearest town, it runs one of the largest call centres operating in the UK. This is the world of The Headset Set.

Each episode features a host of sketches set in the call centre, eavesdropping on both sides of the bizarre, horrific and ludicrous business-customer relationship. While the bulk of each show is taken up with standalone sketches, there are linked scenes providing a gentle narrative curve to proceedings. These scenes feature four of the call centre's employees:

Sailesh (Paul Sharma) - Officially the team leader, Sailesh has recently moved from Bangalore seemingly bringing a wealth of call-centre experience and an admirable work ethic lacking in his fellow Headsetters. However, Sailesh has a secret... was he headhunted or did he leave India under a cloud?

Bernie (Margaret Cabourn-Smith) - As she's been here longer than anyone and she refuses to recognise Sailesh's authority. She also refuses to learn how to use anything more technologically advanced than a 1980s trim phone.

Aleesha (Chizzy Akudolu) - A self-loathing street-wise cynic who resents having to work at Smile5. Or in fact, having to work at all.

Big Tony (Colin Hoult) - Tony spends most of his time on the phone, but not necessarily on Smile5 business. He's always running some sort of scam, like a minicab office from his desk.

There are also sketches featuring the HR department, who seem determined not to hire anyone and Smile5's head of training Ralph (Holt), who trains the most inept of the call centre staff, such as the child-like Bradley (Sharma) who is too nervous to take calls.

This is a team written sketch show originated by Stephen Carlin and James Kettle. Established sketch writers such as Stephen Carlin, James Kettle, Jon Hunter and Colin Hoult are joined by the best writers to have emerged from recent 'open door' radio shows, such as Recorded For Training Purposes and Newsjack. All tied together by script editors James Kettle and Dan Tetsell.

Additional details


Broadcast details

First broadcast
Thursday 23rd June 2011 at 11pm on BBC Radio 4
Most recent repeats

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