7 comedies on 12th Night for Radio 4 | Flurry of pilots celebrate 'spirit of misrule'

7 comedies on 12th Night for Radio 4

Flurry of pilots celebrate 'spirit of misrule'

Radio 4 is to air six new comedy pilots – and a version of Twelfth Night from the Now Show team –all on the same day.

The BBC says the ‘Shakespearean spirit of misrule will infuse’ programmes on January 7, the date of Twelfth Night, with several of its flagship shows making links to the Bard’s comedy.

The comedy kicks off with Now The Twelfth Night Show at 2.30pm in which Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis present their take on the play wit the help of actors and theatrical and academic experts.

New shows to be tested over the rest of the day – some of which have previously been revealed on Chortle – are: 

Alone: Written by Moray Hunter, this sitcom stars Angus Deayton and follows five single, middle-aged neighbours living in flats in a converted house in North London.

Hold The Front Page: Sue Perkins hosts a panel show based on local newspapers, with panellists including Phil Ellis and Guz Khan

Time Spanner: David Mitchell and John Finnemore star in this ‘mind-bending time-travelling comic adventure’. The plot revolves around Martin Gay's 40th birthday being disrupted by two very important moments: meeting the girl of his dreams, and being forced at gunpoint into a world of angels, robots and the most powerful tool in the universe, the Time Spanner. It’s been written by Simon Kane.

Life On Egg: Harry Hill returns to Radio 4 as the governor of Britain's remotest prison in this new comedy, created by TV Burp writer Dan Maier.

Jake Yapp Saves Humanity in 28 Minutes: Stand-up and sketch comedy from the occasional TV Wipe contributor. In this pilot episode, he will break down the five main selling formats used in TV advertisements.

Ability: The first show from Lost Voice Guy – aka  Lee Ridley – after winning the BBC Radio New Comedy Award in 2014. Ridley – who has cerebral palsy and speaks via a computer  – plays Matt, who is leaving home for the first time, and forms a troublesome bond with his new wheeler-dealer carer Bob. 

The theme of Twelfth Night will be echoed in other shows being broadcast on January 7, including Week in Westminster, Saturday Live, Kitchen Cabinet and Loose Ends.

Sioned Wiliam, commissioning editor for Comedy for Radio 4, said: ‘The topsy-turvy world of Shakespeare’s festive comedies are the inspiration for this day of misrule. 

‘From Harry Hill’s bonkers prison island and the Now Show’s unique take on Twelfth Night to the weirdly repressed world of Angus Deayton’s new flatshare sitcom, social conventions are overturned and authority figures are mocked - and all this on one of the bleakest days of the year. I’m thrilled to have such a broad range of new comedies to offer and can also promise a few more surprises on the day.'

In medieval and Tudor England, Twelfth Night would be a day of reversal, where noblemen would become the peasants and vice-versa, following on from the tradition of earlier feasts such as Ancient Rome’s Saturnalia.  The Lord Of Misrule would be a common man appointed to be in charge of the role-reversal revelries.

Published: 21 Dec 2016

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