Jordan Brookes On... | Radio 4 review
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Jordan Brookes On...

Radio 4 review

Jordan Brookes’s radio show starts with the sort of jaunty but authorative jazz music the BBC Light Service might once have used to try to indicate that the forthcoming programming was fun, not just educational, in the best Reithian tradition.

‘Every episode, I choose a universal topic we can all relate to and delve right in,’ the comic gently explains. Anyone who’s seen the intense, inventive stand-up live knows it’s unlikely to be as simple as that.

The theme of episode one is childhood – ‘the big C’, as he calls it – and promises to recreate the joys of naivety. But this is no Peter Kay-style trip into romanticised nostalgia. Regression to his youth evokes not so much Panda Pop but troubling memories of the loss of innocence (Santa’s not real!), traumatic thoughts towards his Nana and the horrors of being thrust into the hellish, confusing reality of adulthood.

He tries to maintain the facade of a gentle, relatable amble down memory lane, but the gap between that easy-going aim and the mental turmoil he’s facing is where the dark comedy lies. Yet it’s a relatively subdued performance from Brookes, adding an unnerving edge to the content.

The strait-laced Sunil Patel further anchors the episode, as a sidekick recruited to offer an ‘audio description’ of what Brookes is up to – and more crucially some reality check to stop his friend going too far off course.

It’s an inventive little nugget of audio, with the late-night slot and immersive presentation giving Brookes' anxious evocations even more trippy potency.

Jordan Brookes On… is on Radio 4 at 11pm tonight then on BBC Sounds.

Review date: 28 Jul 2021
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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