Crackanory. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

Crackanory

Dave comedy storytelling show. 26 episodes (4 series), 2013 - 2017.

Series 3 readers interview

Crackanory Series 3 readers Paul Whitehouse, Carrie Fisher, Jimmy Carr, Christopher Lloyd, Robbie Coltrane, Sarah Millican, Morgana Robinson, Simon Bird and Tamsin Greig talk about what makes a great storyteller...

Paul Whitehouse

Crackanory. Paul Whitehouse. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.Tell us a bit about the Crackanory story you're reading...

My Crackanory story celebrates the guys who heroically re-enact historical battles every weekend, specifically the first battle of the War of the Roses in 1455. On the 21st May, one day after my birthday, if I remember my script correctly.

Anyway, these guys re-enact the same battle every weekend and they get a bit bored of it, especially the Lancastrians who are on the losing side and they understandably want to change the course of history. It's like a sort of Groundhog Day for the Lancastrians but they call in a local historian who might have unearthed some new evidence to say the battle could change. And I'm not going to say any more than that otherwise I would spoil the suspense!

What do you think makes a great story?

Actually I ended there very aptly with the word 'suspense', but I would say probably suspense. It must be suspense, I mean you need a page-turner to really keep you gripped and in this case there is a very good twist, well I thought so when reading it.

Carrie Fisher

Crackanory. Carrie Fisher. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.Tell us a bit about the Crackanory story you're reading...

The main thing is not to forget to book a hotel, especially during a holiday but our two friends do so and they end up in quite a bit of trouble...

What do you think makes a great story?

I think that the mystery element does work. If you start with "Sheila didn't know that she would be dead by nightfall", you are probably going to read that. For me I'm more of a language person, the story is the old beginning, middle and an end but I look for the language.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

Stephen Fry - he's actually told me stories. I can't go with historical people because I didn't have that first hand flesh-to-flesh experience. Although that sounded dirty!

Jimmy Carr

Crackanory. Jimmy Carr. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.Tell us a bit about the Crackanory story you're reading...

I'll just be saying the words, sort of looking into a camera and hopefully that will be entertaining. Good luck everyone.

What do you think makes a great story?

You can't let the truth get in the way too much, I mean I think great storytellers really commit to the lie. Honourable mention to Richard Nixon, well done.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

Probably Billy Connolly, I mean he's just the absolute best. I think the thing about a great story, it's not really about the end or the twist in the tale it's about the journey not the destination. Billy Connolly feels like it's time spent in good company.

Christopher Lloyd

Crackanory. Christopher Lloyd. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.Tell us a bit about the Crackanory story you're reading...

It's basically about a couple of cops, one of them is a great detective and the other one wonders how he ever got in to the force, he is totally inept and confused. He starts imagining that his sat nav is embodied by the spirit of his dead partner.

What do you think makes a great story?

I read a fair amount of short stories, something that really carries you into another space where you really have feelings about what the story is about and the characters in it which sort of leaves you thinking about it for a while, touched by it.

You've been in some films with amazing stories do you have any favourites?

Back To The Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Clue.

What do you think made 'Back To The Future' such a great story to people?

I think the time travel theme, everyone imagines what it would be like go into the future or go to some point in the past to see the reality of it, be there and experience it.

It's also a family picture, Marty has a kind of dysfunctional and strange family but not over the top so people can relate to that. The relationship between Doc and Marty is classic, a kind of dysfunctional man who inspires and excites and a young man who kind of opens up his imagination to possibilities he never would have considered without knowing this guy.

I think that's a classic theme, it's all been put together very well there's a lot of action in the films and there is always a moment of crisis. It's an adventure.

Is Back to the Future a timeless tale?

Timeless tale? It seems to be, we just celebrated our 30th year and the interest in the film seems to be snowballing it seems to be attracting more and more people. When the film first came out in 1985, kids who saw it then have grown up and had families and their kids have seen it. It's a cycle that just doesn't quit.

Robbie Coltraine

Crackanory. Robbie Coltrane. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.Tell us a bit about the Crackanory story you're reading...

It's about an am-dram company who decide to put on a pantomime and there is a bomb threat with hilarious results is all I can say, you don't get a lot of hilarious results from a bomb threat but that's how it pans out. And it's very funny. With a lovely surprise ending.

What do you think makes a great story?

I was watching Billy Connolly the other day and the great thing about Connolly and other great comedians who are really storytellers is that they can make you feel like you were there yourself. After five minutes you can visualise it yourself and you can start to believe you actually witnessed it. You have to bring vitality to it and surprises, lots of twists make a great story.

What is your favourite story of all time?

My favourite story of all time would be The Third Man probably, a wonderful story. Also, Robert Louis Stevenson - they always defy expectations, I think that's what's great about whodunit and great detective fiction is that they take you down a road that you think 'oh god it can't have been him because he was on the train when she saw him', you know all that stuff, I love all that.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

I think Billy Connolly, as far as comedy is concerned, is my favourite storyteller, because he can tell stories that last three hours. Very, very good storytelling.

Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, me obviously... "don't push your luck Robbie". My son tells very good stories, he can really tell a tale. Somebody who engages you in other worlds, there are plenty of them out there.

Sarah Millican

Crackanory. Sarah Millican. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.Tell us a bit about the Crackanory story you're reading...

My story is very dark which I like, it's quite funny which I like and it has a moral and it has animals in it. That's like my ideal story.

What do you think makes a great storyteller?

I think a really good storyteller is somebody who knows to put the most important bits at the end because you can't put the good stuff in the middle because people just drift off. But have a definite ending as well because some people think they are good storytellers but really they are just the boring man in the pub, and when you get to the end there is nothing there and then you don't listen to that man ever again.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

My favourite storyteller of all time is probably my Dad, he has a few stories from when he worked down the pit and I've heard all of them probably at least a million times. I know the endings but I always let him tell the story because it's not just about the ending it's how he gets there and the glee in his voice as he tells the terrible tales of things that happened to him. It was such an odd job compared to anything that I've lived through and it's always fascinating, plus they often involve poo.

Morgana Robinson

Crackanory. Morgana Robinson. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.Tell us a bit about the Crackanory story you're reading...

My story is about Alan, he works for a plastics company and he loves love, but sadly love doesn't love him, I won't give it all away, but I hope that's keeping you on the edge of your seat.

What do you think makes a great storyteller?

It's someone who can do the sort of suspense thing. Samuel L Jackson, he's good isn't he? It's all about the voice, it's got to be a bit gravelly and you've got to believe it.

What's your favourite ever story?

I'm the only one who remembers this, there was a little book called Would You Rather? It was about this little boy and on every page he'd have four decisions he'd have to make, one would be like would you rather spend overnight in a haunted house for a tenner or would you rather spend a night in a lions' den for £25. It was like that. It was really fun that, or Black Beauty.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

Probably my boyfriend, he spins a yarn, I'd just be rolling my eyes all the way through, most of it is absolute bollocks but it's funny.

Simon Bird

Crackanory. Simon Bird. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.Tell us a bit about the Crackanory story you're reading...

The story I am reading is about a guy called Sam Jenkins who is very rational and ruled by logic. He moves in with an old lady called Dolly who is the opposite, she has a lot of superstitions and it's about that clash of cultures. That's all I'm going to say for now as I don't want to give anything away... so you'll have to wait and see.

What do you think makes a great story?

I think the most important thing in any story is characters who are rounded, fully realised and have their own idiosyncrasies because I think if you believe in the characters you are going to believe in what happens to them.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

My favourite storyteller, that's a tough one. Charles Dickens. He's widely recognised for being pretty good at the old storytelling.

Tamsin Greig

Crackanory. Tamsin Greig. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.Tell us a bit about the Crackanory story you're reading...

The story that I am telling for Crackanory is an out-and-out love story. It's about finding the one. Then what comes along to surprise you, terrify you, disappoint you and turn your whole view of hope into something ungraspable.

What do you think makes a great story?

I think what makes a great story is where you are drawn along by the 'and then', because there is something in us that wants to know what comes next. If you have a storyteller who has a magnetic 'and then' inside them and you are drawn to that and the delights that they hold.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

You see, that's like saying which one of the children would we kill. It's an impossible question, a morally impossible question to answer. But off the top of my head William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, John Irving, William Boyd, Mary Oliver, my children, my husband, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, KD Lang, Jo Brand and Bill Murray.

More Crackanory interviews

Published: Monday 7th December 2015