Icklewick FM | Review of the new Radio 4 comedy from Chris Cantrill and Amy Gledhill and others
review star review star review star review half star review blank star

Icklewick FM

Review of the new Radio 4 comedy from Chris Cantrill and Amy Gledhill and others

Is there something of the Royston Vasey about Icklewick? A small Northern backwater, full of eccentrics, with something sinister afoot…

Not that the local radio phone-in wants to focus too much on the missing people when there are frothier issues at hand, from the failures of the football club or what statue should be erected in the town centre.

Maximum Brunch hosts Chris Pipe and Amy Winner manage to get the tone perfectly wrong whatever the issue at hand, bright and breezy when discussing the former’s obvious marriage breakdown, while making far too much of the sighting of an unusual man in the neighbourhood, mistakenly thinking it’s a hard-hitting news story. On that level, it’s basically an audio parody of The One Show. 

The blethering duo – in real life The Delightful Sausage comedy partnership of Chris Cantrill and Amy Gledhill – are the listener’s friends, as well the glue that holds this comedy together, always being silly but never acknowledging it.

In the individual characters and sketches - edited down from long recording sessions of improvised ideas - there’s a diversity of comic styles. At first the reports of the tall man are a bit The Day Today-ey, which is no bad thing, while Mark Silcox is his usual aloof, deadpan self as the station producer, taxi controller and kiosk operator all in one.

Then there’s the drippy weatherman, seemingly on emotional eggshells, and perhaps the more straightforward comic ideas of the roving reporter who doesn’t want to rove or the presenters getting aggressive, Paxman-style, with an interview subject who doesn’t deserve it.

The format nicely ties together the varied sensibilities of the talented comedy circuit cast – which includes Colin Hoult, Lucy Beaumont, Jen Brister, Phil Ellis and Janice Connolly – into a credible, if peculiar world.

Like Down The Line before it, the callers – and, in this case, the radio station staff too – seem to have real lives we can peek into through their contributions to the programme. It’s difficult to judge just how much this series could draw listeners in based on just the opening episode, but all the elements are in place to build an involving world, populated by plenty of eccentric and amusing characters to be worthy of a return visit.

· Icklewick FM is on BBC Sounds now

Thanks for reading. If you find Chortle’s coverage of the comedy scene useful or interesting, please consider supporting us with a monthly or one-off ko-fi donation.
Any money you contribute will directly fund more reviews, interviews and features – the sort of in-depth coverage that is increasingly difficult to fund from ever-squeezed advertising income, but which we think the UK’s vibrant comedy scene deserves.

Review date: 23 Jan 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.