Sunday, December 21, 2008

B.A.D. Radio (GWR Bath)

B.A.D. Radio, the first in a series of occasional sketch shows written and performed by myself, Roop Jones and Tom Bowker, will be going out on GWR Bath (103FM) this Wednesday (that's Christmas Eve!) at 9.30am.

Of course, you don't even have to be in Bath to catch the show - You can Listen Live via the GWR Bath website!

Roop and Tom were, of course, Breakfast Show presenters at the short-lived XFM South Wales (where I worked as producer), so those of you in South Wales who remember what was on 106.8 and 107.3 before Nation Radio came along can tune in and pretend it's an early morning in the spring of 2008, as the old gang get back together.

In addition to this historic reunion, it is also an emotional moment for myself as it marks the first time I have been on FM in the Bath area since the University's student station (1449AM URB) embarked on 2 weeks of FM transmissions in the spring of 2003.

That kicked off with a fondly remembered live performance from The Cheeky Girls, who abandoned their set prematurely after successfully negotiating their way through "The Cheeky Song", "The Cheeky Song (Remix)" and The Cheeky Dance Competition (to the tune of "The Cheeky Song").

I can't remember quite what caused them to halt the performance of their second single after just one verse, but I think we'd all seen the track we'd paid our £2 entry fee for (as their Cheeky-Song based set list would concur).

In stark contrast, I can assure you that no-one's bum was touched in the making of B.A.D. Radio.

Happy Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Things I'm in, have helped with, made or like...

Thanks for popping by. I've been involved in a few bits and bobs dotted about the iPlayer which you might want to catch before they drop off...

Listen Against is still on BBC Radio 4. If you head to the iPlayer now you'll catch Episode 3 (I did the Boris Johnson and Radio Wales bits), right up until 6.30pm on Tuesday, when it'll turn into Episode 4 (I don't know what of mine has made it into this... I haven't heard it yet!).

I've also just been told that Play And Record is being repeated on BBC Radio 7. The episode currently on iPlayer includes me battling with an uncooperative Terry Wogan.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been producing the second series of Jest A Minute, a panel game for BBC Radio Wales hosted by Rhod Gilbert with team captains Chris Corcoran and Lloyd Langford. Episode 1 is on iPlayer now and the shows go out on Sundays at 2pm, and are repeated on Saturdays at 1pm.

That's all for now!

Good Morning Dillydale (A Recommendation)

Generally, I don't tend to use this blog to recommend stuff.

I've got it into my head that anyone who has bothered to find this site will be, broadly speaking, on the same page as myself culturally. Spending time recommending people go and see Daniel Kitson, buy the new Death Cab For Cutie record or invest in a kids album made by the drummer from Razorlight seems to me a bit like preaching to the converted.

(Actually, maybe the drummer from Razorlight album isn't such an obvious one. You should check it out. A selection of witty children's poems set to music that easily knocks everything Razorlight have ever done into a cocked hat - And all in under 15 minutes too).

However, I have come across one TV show that, due to it's scheduling, may have passed many people by. I have become obsessed, in an entirely unironic way, by "The Mr. Men Show" (Five, Cartoon Network, YouTube).


(There's a good example of the UK version here. When searching, make sure you add "UK" as you get a more familiar selection of regional accents!)

I once read an interview with the writers of Father Ted, who explained that the joy of introducing characters who are priests is that you immediately have certain expectations of them. You know their job, that they should believe in God, that they should be celibate etc. etc. The Mr. Men show uses a startlingly similar mechanic for an audience of under 5s.

It's a sketch show featuring the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters. Not all of them, obviously. There are nearly 80 in the original books and the episodes are only 10minutes long. Getting through that many brightly coloured shapes in such a short period of time would surely fail that epilepsy test they do on kids telly shows.


Each show contains sketches and songs on a certain theme: cookery, doctors, mowing the lawn, celebrating your country's national day... All the familiar comedy staples, but because you're dealing with such a recognisable group of characters, as soon as you see them, or hear the name mentioned, you know exactly what to expect... When Mr. Happy says "Oh look, here comes our waiter now", and Mr. Bump approaches on roller skates, you know it's going to end in disaster. When Mr. Pernickety introduces his cookery lessons, you're waiting for Mr. Messy to walk into shot.

But there are some real strokes of genius. Mr. Happy has become a slimy game-show host and co-presenter of "Good Morning Dillydale" forming a hideously cheery "Richard and Judy" partnership with Little Miss Sunshine. Mr. Messy has opened a Pizza Emporium and Little Miss Naughty a restaurant. You start to wonder what the Dillydale careers office was up to...

The real joy of The Mr. Men Show is that it solves the greatest problem with the Mr. Men books. Until now, the Mr. Men characters have felt disposable. A character is invented, we follow a short tale where their name and characteristic is either challenged or re-affirmed, we never hear from them again. By stripping back the numbers, letting them all live in the same town and fleshing out the character traits properly, they've made a comedy programme for the under 5s better than most adult sketch shows.

Oh yeah, and they look different, too. Get ready for that. It's a bit weird at first.

(Addendum: Apparently, in Series 2 a new character called "Mr. Green", who teaches children environmental issues, will be voiced by Jamie Oliver. I may have spoken to soon).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Listen Against 2 (And other things too...)

Sorry this hasn't been updated in a while. Having said that, I read something recently which estimated there are 112.8 million blogs on the internet, so I doubt you've been struggling for something to read...

Here's what's going on:

Listen Against Series 2

Well, I've just heard some proper trails for this on Radio 4, so it must be happening! The second series of Jon Holmes' Listen Against starts this Tuesday (18th November) at 6.30pm. Just like last year, I've contributed sketches, ideas and all manner of strange noises to this show, staying up well past my bedtime to slice up audio of Robert Peston, John Humphrys, Jenni Murray, Steve Wright and countless others. A lot of it leaves my email inbox and I don't hear it until it's going out on the actual Radio 4, so I'll be hearing it for the first time too! How exciting.

Jest A Minute

Right now, I'm editing down 6 episodes of this BBC Radio Wales panel game, chaired by Rhod Gilbert with team captains Chris Corcoran and Lloyd Langford and panellists including Elis James (who now has a rather splendid blog. Read it!), Jon Richardson, Lucy Porter, Milton Jones, Greg Davies and Eggsy from GLC (who is still doing those Rhys and Eggsy podcasts which you can find here) and loads more. It should be going out in early December.

Roop and Tom

I've also been busy working on some bits and bobs with former XFM South Wales Breakfast Show presenters Roop and Tom, which should be hitting an airwave sometime soon. In the meantime, they're now presenting the Breakfast Show on GWR Bath, so listen to that if you're in Bath, or on the internet before 10am in the morning. Oh, and listen their Beyonce parody on youtube...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Feedback?

A few weeks ago, Tom Natt (the man responsible for this website) mentioned to me that an episode of The News Quiz, which I had contributed towards, was featured on the following week's edition of "Feedback" on BBC Radio 4.

It's was a little too far back to make use of iPlayer or Listen Again, but I have just managed to track down the episode of Feedback in question. Two clips of the show were used - both featuring jokes written by myself.

I'm now trying to decide if I can legitimately add "Feedback (BBC Radio 4)" to my writing CV... I’m worried that might convey the wrong message… Any thoughts?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Other People’s Podcasts

I have two new and exciting things for you to click on.

First of all, I'm currently back behind the scenes at BBC Radio Wales and, last week, stood in as Producer on the Rhod Gilbert Show. Then, once the show was over, I had to chop the whole thing down into a digestible 15 minute podcast. It'll be available right up until the next one is out on Saturday, and you can download it from here.

And on the subject of Podcasts, Rhys And Eggsy from XFM South Wales have done an "Unemployment Podcast". It's nothing to do with me, but those of you missing the mighty XFM South Wales might want to head over to their Myspace page and give it a listen.

Monday, June 16, 2008

EX-FM

First of all, thanks for all the messages of support/concern following the demise of XFM South Wales. If you don't know what's going on, or have spent the last fortnight prodding your radio wondering where we've all gone, check out this article from the Western Mail, which should bring you up to speed.

Although we never really got a chance to do a "last show", the final Roop and Tom Show was a suitably exciting affair... We had One Night Only in doing a session, and Tom managed to win "Charity Shop Challenge" by flogging the Jason Donovan Board Game for a whopping six pounds fifty on eBay. Thanks to everyone who bid on our assortment of tat (or sent bizarre and obscene questions to my eBay account) and indeed to anyone who got involved over XFM South Wales' roller coaster 6 months and 1 day.

Not only has XFM South Wales disappeared, but the old XFM South Wales website has gone too, so there could be a few broken links on the site/blog for a bit... One thing I was pleased to find was that it's still possible to get hold of some of the XFM Podcasts. You can find the best bits of the Roop and Tom Breakfast Show here and once you've got your face around that, only a fool would not move straight on to the podcasts of (the Arqiva nominated!) Rhys and Eggsy. Catch 'em while you can.

As for me, I'll let you know what I'm doing next once I'm doing it...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thanks for dropping by...

A very quick update to say that I've popped a short Glastonbury festival based clip (taken from the final episode of BBC7's Tilt) over in the Audio section of the site. I think you'll agree, it shows the plus-side of Michael Evis' plans to invite such diverse acts as Jay-Z and Shakin' Stevens to this year's festival.

All going to plan, we'll have more audio to follow soon...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tilt, Flu, Cheese Grating and more...

I've been slow to update this. I would be able to forgive myself if there wasn't much going on, but we're already half-way through a series I'm involved with so this post is, at best, three weeks late.

Tilt: I've been writing and slicing up audio for this brand new 6-part topical comedy show on BBC7 (Thursday evenings: 11.30pm). At the time of writing, we're somewhere between episodes 3 and 4, but you'll always be able to catch the latest episode if you head to the BBC7 website, and use the the listen again facility.

For more information, do check out the Tilt Homepage. There's even a little bit written by me right at the bottom, where I make the most of the fact I've been given the chance to promote the show, by whinging about the fact I have flu.

XFM South Wales: Don't forget to tune in to the Roop and Tom Breakfast Show, every weekday morning from 6am - 10am on XFM South Wales, where I continue to play the part of "Producer Gareth". Over the last couple of weeks, we've been putting together some podcasts, which you can download from the XFM South Wales Website or via iTunes. Also, if you haven't visited it yet, do check out some of the bits and bobs on the show homepage too, including the human wheelbarrow montage, and a video of me grating a large block of cheese.

On a slightly more technical note, the more observant of you (i.e. the ones who visit websites, right click and hit "view page source"), will notice that despite retaining the bare and stripped down look you've no doubt come to know and tolerate, this website has actually had something of an overhaul. While it's nothing you can see with the naked eye, the whole thing should now be a good deal easier to update, and the little tagline on the top right should keep you informed of my actions with what will hopefully be an almost sinister level of accuracy.

Plus, now we've done all those "back-end" bits we've been meaning to do for ages, we can get on with coming up with something exciting for the "Audio" section on the left hand side. I mention it here because I will then feel obliged to follow it up at some point.

So let's hit "Go" and see if this really is as easy to update as Tom said it would be...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy New Year

Hello again

Thanks for visiting. Here's what's been going on since I last updated this...

First of all, I'm now a 4Talent award winner for my radio presenting work. Wow. I know I mentioned this briefly in the last update, but it seems far more official since I've been to London and been handed an actual physical award. It's really quite impressive and glows a blue/purple/pink colour... Well, it did... I seem to have broken it, so now it's permanently a sort of off-white colour. Anyway, it doesn't matter. It's got my name on it and looks nice on my parents' windowsill... And that's the point of awards really, isn't it?

To tie in with the awards, I appeared in Issue 8 of TEN4 magazine. There's an interview with me and everything.

The other big news is that I am now working as producer on the Roop and Tom Breakfast Show on XFM South Wales every weekday morning from 6am-10am. Roop and Tom have their own website which you will no doubt want to check to ensure that I am not mixing with unsavoury types.

Finally, if you're now on the internet with nowhere to go you could do a lot worse than check out Roop and Tom's attempts to break a record.

See you soon