Crackanory. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

Crackanory

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

Crackanory. Image shows from L to R: Bob Mortimer, Dara O Briain, Ben Bailey Smith, Mackenzie Crook, Anna Friel, Sheridan Smith, Miriam Margolyes, Mel Giedroyc. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

Series 4 interview

Series 4 of Crackanory will be shown on channel Dave on Monday to Thursday across the next two weeks. Here the readers talk more about their stories and what makes a good storyteller. In some cases there are video versions of the interviews which also contain preview clips.

Dara O Briain

Crackanory. Dara O Briain. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

On Monday 30th January 2017, Dara O Briain reads A Close Slave. Guide

(If you watch the video, the below interview is a repeat)

What is your Crackanory story about?

My story is a story of a slave and how he tries to use his wits to escape slavery, and at the same time gain the love of a crowd. There are twists!

What do you think makes a great storyteller?

Pauses ... [a pause] ... and maybe another pause... [another pause]... and then finally speaking.

Who would you choose to give you a bedtime story?

Peter Ustinov told a hell of a story. Billy Connolly is an amazing storyteller. Morgan Freeman slowly narrating the story of my life as I drift off would be a delight as well. But then the thought of waking up and seeing Peter Ustinov, Billy Connolly and Morgan Freeman still there, maybe with some breakfast... it's too weird!

Sheridan Smith

Crackanory. Sheridan Smith. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

On Tuesday 31st, Sheridan Smith reads Living With A Lie. Guide

(If you watch the video, the below interview is a repeat)

What's your Crackanory story about?

[Sheridan gets writer Nico Tatarowicz to answer:] This is about why you shouldn't lie and why you should be true to yourself. It's about someone who tells themselves they're going to use a lie to buy time to fulfil their potential... but then they don't do that, and so then they're lying to themselves as well as everyone else... with hilarious consequences.

What makes a great storyteller?

Anyone but me! You haven't been here... this poor crew are already overrunning late. I am the worst storyteller in the history of storytelling, but I'm sure it'll be well edited together. I reckon the best storyteller would probably be Obama, someone like that.

Who's your favourite storyteller of all time?

I'd like to say Kathy Burke because she's my idol and she portrays comedy and heartbreak. She would make people laugh and cry.

Bob Mortimer

Crackanory. Bob Mortimer. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

On Wednesday 1st February, Bob Mortimer reads The Despot Of Tea. Guide

What is your Crackanory story about?

My story is about an English actor who takes a journey to a far, far faraway land called Molgavia to do an advert for tea. During the course of his adventures there he overthrows a despotic government. He didn't mean to, but well done him! How he did it? You'll have to watch to find out.

What do you think makes a great storyteller?

I think the main attribute for a great storyteller is the timbre of the voice, simple as that really. Simon Callow, Stephen Fry... that kind of guy. Unfortunately, I think I probably prefer a posh voice to a regional voice. I probably shouldn't say that, but that's the way it is.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

My favourite storyteller has to be my child, when he was young and innocent, because I love the way he found parts of the story important that really aren't important, and glossed over the bits that really have the detail and the meat in them. It makes me laugh, even now.

Anna Friel

Crackanory. Anna Friel. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

On Thursday 2nd, Anna Friel presents The Survivor. Guide

(If you watch the video, some but not all of the below interview is a repeat)

What is your Crackanory story about?

It depends on how much you want me to give away... I'd say that it's ultimately a love story, a tragic love story, and how much you're willing to give for that love.

A man has been frozen and wakes up 100 years later, and we find out that he holds the power to get rid of a disease. But who is he helping at the end of the day?

What makes a great storyteller?

I think it helps if you're musical, because there's so much musicality to telling a story; and a good voice quality, which often helps by having a good musical understanding - and the main thing obviously is having a great imagination.

What is your favourite story of all time?

I love stories that centre around a wonderful heroine, so I'd have to say Anna Karenina.

Mel Giedroyc

Crackanory. Mel Giedroyc. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

Mel Giedroyc starts the second week of stories, on Monday 6th February, with Proxy Lady. Guide

(If you watch the video, some but not all of the below interview is a repeat)

What is your Crackanory story about?

My Crackanory story is about a woman called Greta. She works in IT, she's a geek, and she falls in love online with a man called Brian. She doesn't want to send her own photo to Brian because she doesn't think she looks quite, maybe enticing enough, so she finds another person to pretend to be her; to be her and go on a date with Brian when he says 'look, can we meet up in person?'

And that, my friend, is all I'm going to tell you, because it takes a very very good couple of twists. That's just the outline of the story. Is Greta who we think she is? Is Brian who we think he is? And I'm certainly not going to tell you the ending, which is a real surprise!

What do you think makes a great storyteller?

I think a great storyteller is someone who can hold your attention and keep you there just by the power - the timbre, let's say - of their voice. It's all about the voice darling, it's all about the vocal training! Luckily I have training especially for Crackanory, so I will be providing a very special timbre to keep the audience on their seats.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

I don't know if he's ever actually told any stories, but I love Sean Bean's voice, and I would love him to come to my house personally and tell me a few stories, maybe within the confines of my darkened room. He's got that real gritty, 'once upon a time' [style]. I'd love that. I think he'd make a great storyteller if he isn't one already, which he probably is. I can't imagine him doing Mallory Towers or something like that; it would have to be something quite 'edge', but I think he'd be really good. Or Miriam Margolyes. I love her. Her telling of Dahl stories is second to none. She tells an amazing story.

Do you think we tell enough stories to each other these days?

I don't think we feel we have enough time to tell each other stories. I am all for a story. I suppose we gossip, and we spend an awful lot of time doing that with each other. A good gossip is actually somebody who can tell a really good story, who can pull you in. But as far as sitting down, putting the lights down low, getting a few candles out... I'm going to do it tonight! You've inspired me.

The answer is 'no', we don't tell each other enough stories but we should do though, shouldn't we? Definitely.

Doc Brown

Crackanory. Ben Bailey Smith. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

Doc Brown reads The Devil's Haircut on Tuesday 7th. Guide

(If you watch the video, some but not all of the below interview is a repeat)

What is your Crackanory story about?

This episode of Crackanory is a real Robert Johnson type fable about a musician who sells his soul to the devil.

What makes a great storyteller?

I think you need a sort of richness and a bit of range to your voice, and you also need to relate to the story somehow so that when it has these big peaks and troughs and emotional beats you are really there with it. I think if you have a combination, then you're great. Mostly though if you've got a great voice then you can read the phone book and people will still sit up and listen.

What's your favourite story of all time?

I think that's real tough one, there are loads. There'd have to be a Roald Dahl story up there, probably George's Marvellous Medicine. I love that story. I love the element of 'your Grandma's a bitch, what if you killed her?' Superb. That's a children's story and such brilliant storytelling - funny, dangerous and edgy, so maybe that.

Favourite storyteller?

Probably Morgan Freeman. I know he's not strictly speaking a storyteller but when you hear his voice you're like 'yep, I'll buy that.'

Who would you choose to read you a bedtime story?

I think maybe Ronnie Corbett; rest in peace. It would be great to have him sat there, his little legs dangling off the chair. Just giving it a few of those... [shakes glasses].

Do you think we tell each other enough stories?

I think the element of sharing stories with people is everything, there's not a comedian on the planet who is as funny as when a mate of mine goes 'you need to hear this'. I think we definitely tell each other enough stories, we don't need to worry about that; it's just a shame we don't harness them more to turn them into fantastic television... like Crackanory.

Mackenzie Crook

Crackanory. Mackenzie Crook. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

Mackenzie Crook fronts The Disappearance on Wednesday 8th. Guide

(If you watch the video, some but not all of the below interview is a repeat)

What is your Crackanory story about?

My Crackanory story is about a magician who loses that sense of magic and descends into madness. So I shaved my head for the part. I thought that would be a good thing to do, to prove how into it I am.

What makes a great storyteller?

For me, a great story is one that has a beginning and an end, and a middle; and not necessarily one that's populated with well-drawn characters - although that does help as well. So those are the three most important elements.

Who is your favourite storyteller of all time?

That's the impossible question, isn't it, because there are just so many. So, at the risk of trotting out the same list as everyone who comes on the show, I'd have to say the obvious ones, the greats. [Crook then lists a lot of fictitious writers]...

Henry Bloomsberg, Franz Menth, Serjey Pantos, W P Maugham, William Someret, Frank J. Rhodes, all the greats... Smith obviously, Lancaster, James Serasmith, Clay Laramore - all the greats that crop up on these lists time and time again, Turgeyev, Perkins. But then I also read a Rodney Quavers, or a Dame Peggy Rathbone, Frank Borowitz, Hilary Quake. You know? All the greats!

Who would you choose to read you a bedtime story?

Kanye West, probably, just to bring him down a peg or two, having to sit on the side of my bed reading me a story with me all snuggled up in my jim jams. And I'd probably get him to rub my back a bit while he's reading, and do voices... to stop him showing off for at least a few minutes.

What is your favourite story of all time?

The Boy Who Cried Wolf, I'll have that one. And there's one about a boy in a well, although I might have made that up.

Miriam Margolyes

Crackanory. Miriam Margolyes. Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

The final episode of Series 4 sees Miriam Margolyes reading Pickled. Guide

(If you watch the video, some but not all of the below interview is a repeat)

What is your Crackanory story about?

The Crackanory story that I was asked to read surprised me very much because it was, I thought, rather rude. I don't know why they gave it to me! It's about a wastrel from the upper classes - most of them are wastrels, aren't they, really? He happens by chance to come in to a house in which there is an incredibly strange person... It is scary, and funny, and shocking; a very good story.

What do you think makes a great storyteller?

A great storyteller is someone who can weave magic using character and structure and prose. And, of course, from my point of view, there's only Charles Dickens because he's the best and the greatest storyteller of all. But, a storyteller that can hold your attention, fascinate you and make you want to know what's coming next, that's the secret.

Who would you choose to give you a bedtime story?

It's very difficult to know, because in an ideal world it would be my mother who is long dead, but she used to read to me when I was little and I would always say to her "read it again, read it again!". She could never understand why I wanted to hear it again. But these days, now, there are two men whose voices I love. One of them is Charles Dance and the other is Martin Jarvis, and I could listen to them until my eyes closed.

What is your favourite story of all time?

My favourite story of all time is probably Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. I'm just locked into the nineteenth century, and everything after it feels rather irrelevant to me. I love a story that's got a moral to it, and that's what's so lovely about the story I've recorded for Crackanory. I was in the film of Little Dorrit and I've read it over and over again all my life, I never get tired of it. For me, a story has to have wonderful characters. Charles Dickens believed that we should all be better to one another and the world would be a better place, and I think he's right.

More Crackanory interviews

Published: Friday 27th January 2017