Archive for the ‘Recordings’ Category

That Cheese Burying Sound

Monday, June 21st, 2010

We went to see the pilot of Pauline Pepys’s Dowry recorded for Radio 4 and luckily it was rather good and funny and that. I liked it so much I made an image for this blog post, blimey!

Bloody good cast certainly helped: Olivia Colman, David Mitchell, Sharon Horgan (from the excellent and much missed Pulling), Katherine Parkinson (IT Crowd) , Tom Hollander (them films where he shows off a bit),  Rebekah Staton (Pulling, Doctor Who: Human Nature) and Dave Lamb (Channel 4 voice of sarcasm) and I swear some of it seemed written for the actors as it played to their strengths. I don’t know much about the production as when I Googled it I mostly found my previous blog entries and the now out of date BBC Tickets page but I know that it was produced by ‘TV’s Mr Fire Exits’ Gareth Edwards who added a description of the exit sign figure “running… calmly! to his repertoire along with some cheese-burying facts to get the audience whooping. It was written by Amy Shindler and Beth Chalmers (is she the same Beth Chalmers who is the new ‘lost’ Doctor Who companion for Big Finish? I hope so) who were tweaking a few lines during the recording and did a great job as I am a fussy git when it comes to liking radio sitcoms for some reason.

I don’t want to do big spoilers but the blurb from when tickets were available tells you what it is about, as if you hadn’t guesssed:

London, 1660. Meet Pauline Pepys, less famous sister of Samuel. Her love life is in tatters, her sister-in-law wants her to move out of the spare room, and her best friend is her worst enemy. Oh, and there’s a nasty spot of plague about. A new situation comedy about some age old problems.

It will go out in the Tuesday comedy slot on Radio 4 on 10th August, radio fans! I recommend a listen if you like Olivia Colman doing her crying noises (and faces for the radio), David Mitchell getting a bit miffed about something, Katherine Parkinson being bossy, Sharon Horgan being a bit naughty,  Rebekah Staton being funny and laughing at other people’s lines (not that you’ll be able to see that), Tom Hollander being oddly blond (film role?) and Dave Lamb doing a gay voice.

That Colman and Mitchell Radio Sitcom Pilot: forthcoming

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Going to the recording of this Radio 4 comedy in a week and a bit, will report back:

Pauline Pepys’ Dowry

Olivia Colman, David Mitchell, Sharon Horgan, Katherine Parkinson, Tom Hollander and Rebekah Staton star in a new situation comedy by Amy Shindler and Beth Chalmers, produced by Gareth Edwards.

London, 1660. Meet Pauline Pepys, less famous sister of Samuel. Her love life is in tatters, her sister-in-law wants her to move out of the spare room, and her best friend is her worst enemy. Oh, and there’s a nasty spot of plague about.

A new situation comedy about some age old problems.

Almeratron revisited

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

We loved the Almeratron sketch at the tryout for Look series 4 a while back but it didn’t get made.

Until now…

More of that sort of thing at the BBC Comedy site.

That Mitchell & Webb play-in

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Meanwhile, in White City (obviously) …

As there were only two studio + sets + live sketches and VT + audience sessions at TV Centre there had to be a third evening in order to get all the VT shown to the laughter-providers who give them the claps and that meant That Mitchell & Webb Play-In which took place on Thursday. They did not need to do any performing so a smaller studio was chosen (4 instead of the bigger 1) which had a black curtain  instead of usual sets which feature at least one office. This meant we got to see the Producer Gareth Edwards Fire Exits Routine for something like the twentieth time and this one had some extra scenes due to new exit locations. Nice pillar box red shirt too. Maybe this will turn up on the DVD for all the sad bastards like us (we have been actively camapaigning in a not quite ironic way). David and Rob  were there (of course) to introduce both parts and say goodbye, and one of them was a bit tipsy and manic in a sweet sun way. Hmmm…

A lot of the evening featured new material but there were some sketches that had been shown at the previous two recordings. Some of these had been tweaked and two now had the finished CGI in place which improved them. However, due to the low volume levels it was not always possible to hear every line, especially in the funnier sketches were the audience laughter could drown out the nest potential laugh. This is apparently a recurring problem at this sort of thing, bah. I’ll review the material properly when it is transmitted as I hate spoilers but all in all series four is equal to series three in its greatness, with an improved range of styles this  year mostly due to the sprinkling of poignant sketches. In the final edit there will be six episodes full of variety (and Christmas).

Most of the best material from  last November’s Drill Hall tryout session has ended up being filmed although we crave the sadly unmade Franch Grandstand sketch and the  one about the awful newspaper obituary. These could work on the radio though. A few sketches need a bit of trimming and some that have multiple parts are really not all thast necessary as the original is all you need but this is pretty standard and that’s what DVD extras are all about. We look forward to seeing the Reports Mode sketches on  the proper telly so we can hear all the funny bits and enjoy its glorious silliness (it’s a highlight) and I can reveal that a sketch called The Gift Shop Sketch got the most laughs in the studio. The writers and actors were all in the green room for the play-in so could not tell how it went down… well they had Mini Eggs and wine in there so you would, wouldn’t you? Oh those Mini Eggs were so more-ish…

As we wandered around the BBC basement we saw a sign on a door in Comic Sans which was a freaky sketch-related coincidence and learnt that TV Burp was being filmed at TV Centre too. We thought about seeing what  nibbles they had but resisted, and that nice Mr Quantick overlapped into both camps with his writing credits (well for the old radio series anyway) ; he is not just the voice of TV’s Coach Trip. Talking of writers from other places, Arthur Matthews wrote a sketch which explains the mistaken identity at the Drill Hall last year. It is funny,  obviously. More about all that kind of stuff as it is shown to the 1.2 million or however many people tune in.

Thank you Feldman.

Live from Studio One again

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Week 2 of 2 at TV Centre for Look D was almost as funny as week 1, and that’s still damn funny. The massive queues outside made us think that more than one thing was being recorded on that evening and we were not wrong. Look what we could have seen instead:

The more glittery people waiting in the bar area went through the doors to see this particular prospective TV gold but we managed to resist for some reason. The Congo audience had approximately 40% less clothing than the M&W lot, how daring on a cold dark March night. But anyway… on with the show!

Lucy Porter was doing the warm up this week which meant a thoroughly entertaining time as she always keeps people interested during the “fuck-ups” and she even brought some charity shop tat along as random prizes for the inevitable 16 year old boys interesting individuals she finds at these things. She correctly pointed out that husband Jamie wasn’t with me this time and everyone learnt that he was at home with a bad cold, poor thing. We’ve met before and even before that time. Such infamy.


This week’s highlights included a load of sketches that were tried out at the Drill Hall last November (A Prayer And A Pint seemed to go down very well), some more Christmasyness for no good reason at all (damn that old Christmas Special axing, maybe it has left mental scars),  the screen debut of a very cute baby, and a bit of a theme involving making the show more poignant in order to show the end credits uninterrupted by squishing them to trail the next programme.

Fact! The one character who has appeared in every series has a brief cameo in a photograph.

Fact! A man plays a woman with her face obscured but when her arse is shown it is a lady’s posterior.

Fact! “UP YOURS!” is a great new catchphrase but you have to do the actions.

Fact! There have been two separate unconnected KKK moments filmed. Sinister.

I met some nice ladies in the green room who had won guest list tickets in a charity raffle, managed to get to the cheesy balls this week, had nice chats with some of the writers as usual and added another famous parent to my (non-existent) I-Spy checklist.

We wandered past the They Drink It In The Congo green room on the way out and were almost tempted. Almost.

Random extra fact: Saw a poster for Fat Pig from when Rob was starring in it at the tube station which made no sense unless I had travelled in an extra dimension to get home.

Live from Studio One

Monday, March 1st, 2010

So… Look 4 or Look D if you want to be all lettery instead of numbery. D is good for me. The year where the BBC Tickets Randomizer broke but everything turned out alright for some people in the end and the year where we were incredibly grateful that writing an internet based fan thing has meant we can get on the production guest list and not have to miss out on writing about seeing funny television being made in front of our eyes. Last Friday was recording one of two at Studio One and it featured all the usual elements you would come to expect by now: Mitchell, Webb, James Bachman and Sarah Hadland as the main actors, a fun lively warm up comedian interacting with the crowd (Adrian Poynton who did last year’s sessions), a smidgen of material from the previous radio series (more on that later), some good bits from the try-out night and a few nice “fuck-ups” (to quote Mitchell & Webb themselves).

26 Feb

We knew that The Quiz Programme was returning as we’d had chats about what was going on with that and thankfully the new instalments are very funny with additional poignancy and sad moments building on what was done last year. A lesser sketch show could have milked the idea and just repeated what worked before but all six sketches had variety and the essential laughs. Good stuff! The other ‘live’ sketches done that night were an adaptation of the Business Drinking Game from S4E5 of the radio show (with Abi Burdess and Mark Evans and lots of props) and one from the Drill Hall tryout on 26th November involving the concept of being a “people person.” Both good.

I won’t list all the VT sketches as that’s a bit too spoilery and it’s nice to have some surprises when it’s transmitted but I can tell you that Hail Caesar! from the last radio series has been filmed, the funniest new series of sketches was set in an office (not the same office as the one filmed live) with interesting dimensions that was so much funnier than words could describe, and there is one other returning sketch from Look 3 which is not ruined by its reappearance. They also filmed a little sketch at the end of the night which features the audience so I may see my sleepy Friday Evening face on the telly.

We discovered what happens when the studio staff tell production guests to wait in their seats while everyone else goes home (it involves wine and Twiglets), got rather lost in the infinite loop layout of the basement of TV Centre and bumped into David’s parents again (previously sat next to them at one of the radio recordings) and they were as lovely as usual. All in all a great time was had but then that is rather obvious for this sort of thing. More at the same time next week which is now technically this week…

Reports Mode: That Mitchell & Webb Look Tryout Session

Friday, November 27th, 2009

We went to the lovely yet uncomfortable Drill Hall on Thursday night to attend the now-regular-before-the-filming That Mitchell & Webb Look tryout night where a whole load of sketches that don’t score quite enough points to be given a place in the To Film list are performed in front of a mostly live studio audience whose laughter is measure by some boffins using secret scientific means. Probably. Some of it was filmed for the inevitable DVD. It was not for transmission so Super Producer Gareth Edwards was without the usual suit but did of course mention red flickering lights and high visibility black t-shirts to somebody sitting near me’s delight. Also no green flashing pineapple thing or disembodied voices which was a shame. The Drill Hall was as unbearably clammy as usual though, hurrah!


Here are the sketches that were performed, in a handy Hit, Miss or Maybe format:

Car showroom: Nissan Almera does not transform into robotic Almeratron as promised.

Behind the scenes: Sorry! remake. Very good.

Sam & Joe 1: Wearing vaguely women’s clothing. Good first sketch but idea is repeated and weakened.

‘Get A Baby’ advert. Based on Rob’s recent new lifestyle change?

Chess players in the style of Big Brother contestants. Very funny, more so than it sounds.

2010 House with the Webdesignerson family. Very Mitchell & Webb Look.

Arse (in the style of Apple) shop. Great sketch that becomes a sketch about sketches.

Dosh For Gold! Good silly one.

Bed & Booze makeover show featuring drunk B&B couple from series 3.

Cash For Plutonium! Men in toilet queue loved this sketch.

Awful obituary poem in local newspaper. Great.

French Grandstand. Gloriously silly fun. The eccentric billionaires have a new idea. Woman in front of us got very excited.

Laboratory-based sketch with punchline I don’t wish to spoil. Very funny, led to a bit of corpsing.
Reports Mode 1: Bavarian TV show. Excellently silly sketch surprisingly not written by Simon Kane.

Reports Mode 2: Viewers’ reports.

Two evil wizards turn up at the same time. Great and geeky.

MI6 planning Diana’s death but with twist ending. A bit too “ooh” for telly?

Ad men in meeting about Titanic before it sets sail. Funny wordy one.

Reports Mode 3: Classic Report.

Barristers: Half drunk for a better life.

Stand Up comedy club for aliens. Good start but missing a punchline.

Alan stood up by bride so friend Michael stands in for her. Too long.

Sam & Joe 2: Vaguely female bee keeping outfit.

Sam & Joe 3: Knights etc.

Seen the new Shakespeare? A bit weak compared to other sketches.

Convoluted Phil Collins FM sketch that went on too long.

Porn & Drugs Towers theme park. A bit obvious.

Low budget afternoon TV quiz show with repetitive interrupty host. Not that strong.

Donnie Cosey : A Prayer & A Pint 1: Tehran. Not bad but not great.

Alan Bevan with slapstick gene.

Donnie Cosey: A Prayer & A Pint 2: Large Hadron Collider.

Donnie Cosey: A Prayer & A Pint 3: Colliers Wood.

Artificial Intelligence 1: Internet comes to life in Aussie PM’s house.

Danny and Philip in hot air balloon: celebrity chef kidnapper. Not bad but not brilliant.

Artificial Intelligence 2: Skeptical PM’s son. Could work if done right.

Martin and Neil door to door like mormons but in fact just curious about world.

Artificial Intelligence 3: Rob as Aussie PM. Quite funny but not quite there.

“Good with people” person at party.

Voice of God records voice over. Not bad.

Lapdancing sector saved by government.

So… the biggest winners were as follows:

Sorry! remake.
Apple-style ‘Arse’ shop.
Awful obituary poem.
Reports Mode.
MI6 Diana plan.
Titanic ad men.
Half drunk lifestyle.

We (politely) demand that these sketches are made when production begins in January.

After the recording we had a nice drink and a chat with Mr Guest List Benefactor and all round funny man Jason Hazelely where things temporarily went weird due to top comedy writwer and co-creator of Father Ted Arthur Mathews randomly thinking that I was Gareth Edwards. I checked and I was not him. Said hello to Rob too but James Bachman (who also helped out with guest list) was busy so I shall say hello via the medium of blogging instead: “Hello.” We had fun.

TMWS4 Recording Three:"Hanging around… acting all loyal and tenacious." 15th June 2009

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Broadcasting House
The third and final recording session, with added random weather, David Mitchell’s lovely parents (“we read your blog so we know what David has been doing”), and a fine time in the pub afterwards. Gareth Edwards’ fire exits routine added telegram boys and the security measures to get into the bloody venue earned the phrase “spectre of terrorism” which seemed appropriate. This week had a lot of recycled and reworked material from last year and indeed the last few weeks so I’ll add some dull notes about previous appearances of the sketches in question…

Part one:
Fake bears (remake of last week’s sketch with some dialogue tweaks).
Jeff Superman 1: intro (Old sketch first tried out at the TV series 2 try-outs at the Drill Hall way back in May 2007).
Weatherman qualification.
Josh with arguing parents (one of the bleaker sketches).
Stargate 4: Work Experience (new one in series that began last week).
Christopher Hitchens Hour 1 (from the try-outs for the third TV series, August 2008).
Accelerator 12 blade razor.
Black & White Panther Show (short).
Jeff Superman 2: Phone message (also from May 2007).
Culture Show: Bums on Seats (tweaked from 2 weeks ago).
Stargate 5: “Alions” throw objects back (new).
Blind date paedophile lookalike.
Jeff Superman 3: Parcel (also from May 2007).
Leaving body to evil.
Christopher Hitchens 2: Drawing George Galloway.
Too decadent for a promotion.
Jeff Superman 4: Photocopier (new one? These sketches were the weakest material of the evening as there were too many).
Christopher Hitchens 3: Cut-out Galloway.
Not plumetting down massive hole.
Stargate 6: Not a supplies cupboard.

James read out the enormous list of writing credits for the series which took several attempts as there were so many names due to the unique way the BBC is funded or them just being rather busy. List whores will be interested to know that it included David Mitchell and Robert Webb, James Bachman and Mark Evans, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, Toby Davies and Chris Pell, Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris, Simon Kane, John Finnemore, Chris Reddy, Richard Law, Carrie Quinlan, Eddie Robson, Simon Blackwell, Keiron Self and Graham Mark Walker among others.

Interval: We learned that David’s parents like all the YouTube sketches on the blog but noticed a lack of those Soapbox clips so I’ll put some more on when I get the time. We resisted going to the bar for warm white wine as usual.

Part two:
Shepherds (from last week with added words).
Home made biscuit company factory.
Philip & Lionel: Gurkhas chat (Very Daily Mail, very funny).
“What do you do?” (first seen/heard in week 1) 4: Wedding planner.
Felix The Adventurer at The Institute Of Extraordinary Creatures.
No original ideas at interview (good odd punchline ending).
Organ donation family.
Unoriginal TV ideas with film name hybrids.
TV dramas about real people (including Thatcher: The Bits That Haven’t Been Done Yet Years).
“What do you do?” 5: Traffic warden.
Horse in the kitchen (Olivia Colman gives good crying voice).
Dog show: Invisible dogs (old sketch but I can’t remember where I heard it before).
“What do you do?” Comedy writers and performers (good ending to series) .

We went to the pub again where we had a nice chat with Jason Hazeley about writing comedy, being funny, what didn’t get made but might do soon (but not mentioning his former incarnation as a musician much) with some fine Alpine Lager, found out that the TV show has recently been recomissioned for a 4th series due to be made in January, said hello to some of the other writers, discovered there will be some interesting easter eggs on the forthcoming Look 3 DVD and then went home after another bloody great night out.
Good times.

TMWS4 Recording Two: "Fat Facts" 8th June 2009

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Week 2 of 3: No husband this time but had a trip to Forbidden Planet for new comic (Mike Carey and Peter Gross’ the Unwritten, v good), books (Terry Moore’s Echo 2 and the latest Buffy Season 8 graphic novels plus a new Doctor Who Short Trips compilation) , a nice cake, showing an old friend what Muji was, meeting a new friend for the first time, joining the queue even though we didn’t have to last week (guestlist la-di-dah) , talking a lot about comedy, meeting one of our favourite writers (again) on the way in, no time to linger in the bar … and on with the show!
This week: Starring Olivia Colman (with short blond hair)! Like Sir Alan they are going to mix it up a bit with Sarah Hadland. Next week is also a Colman session. We were in row 5 this time and there were a few empty seats. Only just got in on time due to the unique way the BBC Radio Theatre is like an airport. Only no planes…

Episode 1 or Session 1:
Bank customer 1: Withdrawl. Very John Finnemore-y or so we thought.
Inspector tortoise. Great absurd one.
Starring Michael Sheen.
Question Time.
London bus passengers.
Pretend bears.
Bank customer 2: Balance.
Rapunzel… and Barry.
Village shop Muji franchise. Spooky reappearance of Muji in our day. Great.
Common Denominator Magazine.
Battersea Ghost Home.
Windsor Twilight Funeral Insurance.
Who’s the Winner? Somebody has been amused at the Deal Or No Deal ‘gameplans.’
Easter Island God returns.

Episode 2 or Session 2:
Brown Orthopaedic Supplies’ stargate 1: Bin.
Soldier’s mum on phone.
Naming Claire Cooper star (in the sky).
Sharing the Jesus love.
Pinocchio 1: Foster parents. Obligatory funny silly voice from Rob.
Particle Accelerator fatal error.
Unadventurous shepherds.
Brown Orthopaedic Supplies’ stargate 2: Toilet.
Pinocchio 2: Picnic.
Ghost haunting man who murdered him.
Make Me A Celebrity Centaur. The annual reality show sketch but good.
Amateur radio club: Giant mechanical retro DJs.
Pinocchio 3: Wood chipper.
Brown Orthopaedic Supplies’ stargate 3: Alien visitor.
Zorro Training… and Lulu.

We had a chat with Rob,David and James afterwards, mostly about the advance reviews for the new series of Look (starting this Thursday) being good, and how much more fun the radio recordings seem. Lot less pressure than at those TV centre evenings! Rob invited us along to the Yorkshire Grey for a drink…

… and then we went home.

It’s on Radio 4 in September… and it’s very very funny.

TMWS4 Recording One: "Some leaves and a carrot." 1st June 2009

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

The BBC issued precisely zero tickets to anyone I know due to their new ‘unlucky dip’ method of leaving applications open long enough for the whole bloody world to apply… I don’t wish to sound like a raving mad Mail reader with their “BBC Tax” obsession though. Due to my fan-blogging I managed to get us on the production guestlist so all was not lost (thanks, James) and we turned up to the BBC Radio Theatre, saw the massive queue, realised that we would not have to join in that very English pastime and went for a hot foamy milk aka Starbucks with “the children” (one of which had a scabby knee from falling off his bike) who had their own different guest list benefactor…

After saying hello to a certain Simon Kane (writer of some of the best sketches from the radio and TV series) we went off to the venue. It’s like pushing in but it’s not pushing in, or so I told myself. After getting in everyone’s way in different bar to the last few times (even tinier, bravo) we went in and found the Reserved seats. Being spotted by someone who read the blog (again) was nice but confusing, maybe the note book makes me stand out? After producer Gareth ‘fire exits’ Edwards did his fire exits routine (12″ extended version to account for the peculiarities of the building) and mentioned out of date noisy communcation forms that are banned it was time for the sketches.

TMWS4 rec 1
*Spoiler Alert!* Here’s a list of sketches…

Episode One:
St Vincents (balloon) animal sanctuary (not the best start, we thought).
Alan’s discomfort.
“Hail Caesar” in the third person problems.
“What do you do?”1: Plastic surgeon (recurring but very good).
Policeman vs Top Cat.
Weird board games.
Actress watching herself on TV.
Light food for meaty ye olde banquet (one of those silly historical ones).
“Bums On Seats”.
Company meeting as a drinking game.
Bleach advert in style of Jack Daniels.
Mister Ampersand (favourite so far).
Film classification 33A.
“What do you do?”2: PR.
Whale surveys (Robert and David kept laughing).
Food snobs (originally performed at try out for tv series 3 on 10th August last year).
Zavvi Building (very silly, other favourite from part one).

Interval: We passed on the “warm white wine” from the bar. I took a photo of the empty stage and got told off.

Episode Two:
Room 102.
Boy Who Cried Wolf court case.
Weekend columnist ideas (nice bit of satire).
“What do you do?”3: Futures trader.
Metil or Normil? (from the try out for tv series 3 on 10th August last year).
Foreign yogurt company.
Scared straight.
Dr Doolittle and annoyed goldfish (great ranty one).
Radio debate with rather similar voices (another great one).
Dog sanctuary advert.
Farce company (if you like farce you’ll enjoy this sketch that had a few re-takes).

It’s on Radio 4 in September and from what I’ve seen (and mostly heard) the first two episodes are strong. More next week!