British Comedy Guide

Tom Wrigglesworth's Open Letters. Tom Wrigglesworth. Copyright: BBC.

Tom Wrigglesworth's Open Letters

BBC Radio 4 stand-up. 9 episodes (pilot + 2 series), 2010 - 2012. Stars Tom Wrigglesworth and Joanna Monro.

Press Clippings

This is the second series of Open Letters, in which Sheffield-born comic Tom Wrigglesworth attempts to solve the issues surrounding Britain's most annoying businesses in a form of a letter to the boss of a major company.

In the opening episode, Wrigglesworth wrote, or rather performed as it is basically a stand-up routine, a letter to the head of about why they should make insurance less confusing.

There were some humorous moments, but I think you can tell the quality of the show when you discover that the funniest bits are not from Wrigglesworth, but from his grandmother, when she is encouraged to write to her life insurance provider about herself and her husband being at increased risk thanks to a bread maker. Don't get me wrong, it's funny, but most of the show is lacking in big laughs.

For me, the best contribution from Wrigglesworth was his idea on how to improve the insurance business, which involved a live TV show hosted by John McCririck. However, most of the time it's a bit of an information overload full of complaints rather than anything comedic.

Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 7th May 2012

We seem to live in a constant state of being ripped off by insurance companies, and in Tom Wrigglesworth's Open Letters the comedian put them squarely in his sights. Framed as a letter to Kevin Chidwick, managing director of the price comparison website, it was actually a bit of a cheat: he addressed Chidwick for the first couple of minutes, and returned to him at the end, but the bulk of the programme was bog-standard stand-up.

Funny, though (apart from a long anecdote about his friend Jane and her stolen car that needed ruthless editing). "Insurance," he began, addressing Chidwick, "separates us from the animals - that and the fact that we don't lick our own genitals. Some of us have tried, and, indeed, succeeded. But I haven't written to you just to boast ...."

Chris Maume, The Independent, 6th May 2012

Tom Wrigglesworth's Open Letters review

The series premiere was an overwhelming disappointment. Although Tom Wrigglesworth is extremely confident in his delivery of Open Letters, the subject matter in this week's show was dull and difficult to engage with.

George Zielinski, The Comedy Journal, 3rd May 2012

Interview: Tom Wrigglesworth

Off the back of his successful 2009 show An Open Return Letter to Richard Branson, which won him such accolades as the Chortle 2010 'Best Show' award, Tom Wrigglesworth is back in 2011 with a national tour of Nightmare Dream Wedding. Pete Starr caught up with the affable Yorkshireman to discuss his new show.

Pete Starr, Giggle Beats, 14th February 2011

Self-proclaimed "engineer of mirth" Tom Wrigglesworth is back following the success of his Open Letter to Richard Branson last year. This new series of open letters berating the incorrigible powers that be for their ineptitude and lack of common sense begins with a heartfelt plea addressed to transport secretary Philip Hammond. Traffic wardens, the bureaucratic hoops of paying a parking fine and pantomime baddy clampers all incur his vitriolic wrath in this first instalment. Some of the jokes are obvious, but anyone who enjoys a good moan will find plenty to chuckle at.

Helen Stuart, Radio Times, 3rd February 2011

Tom Wrigglesworth says he's an "engineer of mirth" as he pretends to be writing to the government to ask "what's happening to traffic wardens?" Anyone not related to Mr Wrigglesworth or not listening to his act in a pub after a few jars will be tempted to ask "what's happening to BBC mirth engineering?" Someone from Comedy (a whole department of its own) will probably now write me a patronising note about keeping up with the new generation of performers. Don't bother. De-gunking the washing machine will be more fun than this.

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 2nd February 2011

Tom Wrigglesworth was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award at last year's Fringe, and although I missed Wrigglesworth's show, the fact that so many people I trust were eulogising about him suggested that he would nonetheless be a very worthy winner. This radio show is a half-hour version of his Open Letter to Richard Branson in which he recalls a particularly eventful trip on a Virgin train which saw him arrested and, eventually, effect a fundamental change on company policy. A very funny and eloquent man ranting and raving against unthinking jobsworths - gotta be worth a listen, right? Right.

Anna Lowman, 16th March 2010

Tom Wrigglesworth review

There aren't many funnier shows in Edinburgh - and certainly none more right. We all moan about the national disgrace of our train fares, but Wrigglesworth (an old-fashioned rail romantic) is doing something about it.

Brian Logan, The Guardian, 21st August 2009

Review of Tom Wrigglesworth at Pleasance Courtyard

Who says that comedians can't make a difference? When Tom Wrigglesworth stepped on to the 10.15 from Manchester to London last autumn, he was just a hangover sufferer with a yen for some peace and quiet. When he stepped off, he was a people's hero, wanted by the police. And out of this bruising encounter with petty officialdom he's crafted a beguiling hour of Fringe comedy.

Dominic Maxwell, The Times, 22nd April 2009

Good Samaritan threatened with arrest

A train guard threatened stand-up comedian Tom Wrigglesworth with arrest after he went to the aid of a sobbing pensioner who had boarded the wrong train.

Jaya Narain, Daily Mail, 11th October 2008

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