Sunday, January 29, 2023

February 2023 - Ministry Of Happiness

Ministry Of Happiness - This February sees the 100th anniversary of 5WA - the very first BBC radio station to operate from Wales. 

Having made archive shows to mark the 40th anniversary of BBC Radio Wales and 60th anniversary of BBC Wales, I've always been aware that the opening years (and especially opening days) of the British Broadcasting Company's Cardiff station are absolutely ridiculous. Even the driest most academic book on broadcasting history in Wales will have 4 or 5 pages in the opening chapter which are absolute dynamite, with stories of drunk station managers, hair-brained charity drives and the overambitious ways the increasingly eccentric bosses tried to fill the schedule.

Not much audio from this period exists (although there's some great documentaries from the 1940s where they remenice about things like Hour Of The Kiddywinks or Egg Week) - which is why I've had a go at turning the whole shambolic affair into a sitcom. 

Obviously, in fictionalizing what actually happened, some details have had to be changed, but probably not quite as many as you'd think. The show goes out on BBC Radio Wales in two parts, at 6.30pm on the 6th and 13th February (the 13th being the actual 100th anniversary) and stars Vern Griffiths, Nadia Kamil, Humphrey Ker, Mali-Ann Rees, Steffan Rhodri and Keiron Self. 

I'm tempted to dust-off the Twitter account and do a sort of online running-commentary, pointing out exactly what is and isn't true - and if I do so, I'll be sure to link to it here to be enjoyed by those who wish to follow-along on BBC Sounds - But in the meantime, an excellent rattle through what actually happened on day 1 of 5WA is available on Series 4, Episode 1 of Paul Kerensa's excellent British Broadcasting Century podcast.

 

Cyril - Tickets have just gone on sale for Cyril, a work in progress show I'm doing at this year's Machynlleth Comedy Festival.

Cyril Gwynn (1897-1988), also known as The Bard Of Gower, was “a tall, sunburnt, unsmiling farmer”. Gareth Gwynn (1983-Present) is none of these things. Gareth did not spend the First World War in the Merchant Navy, nor has he ever been shipwrecked, but he’s going to read you some of his great-grandfather’s poetry anyway. Gwynn (1983 ed.) has written for The News Quiz, The Now Show and Top Gear. He is the co-writer of Ankle Tag (BBC Radio 4), Tourist Trap (BBC One Wales), The Goodies (Audible) and is the co-presenter of The Xennial Dome podcast. Please Note: Family members are banned.

That last bit about family members probably makes the whole thing seem a little bit more dramatic than it is - but with it being a work in progress, I'm keen to try this in front of people who haven't necessarily heard of Cyril Gwynn or his poems. Then hopefully, once I've got it working, I can allow family members along who can enjoy diligently pointing out all the facts I've got wrong.

Anyway, if you're in Machynlleth, do come along for the very civilized time of midday on Sunday 30th April and watch me try and work out what the 1930s Gower dialect actually sounded like.

That's quite a lot of black and white photos in one update. Some stuff in colour should appear below...

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

January 2023 - O'r Diwedd 2022

O'r Diwedd 2022 - Once again, Sian Harries, Tudur Owen and I have written a bunch of sketches for S4C looking back at the year in Wales and the UK. 
 
As you can see from some of the the photographs, the latest edition doesn't just work as a look at 2022, but it also acts as a back-door pilot for our odd couple sitcom about Mark Drakeford and Andrew RT Davies. 
 
The whole show is currently available on BBC iPlayer and S4C Clic (both with English subtitles if you need them) - and also, if you're quick, you can still find the mini edition of the show we made back in November as part of  "Noson Gomedi: Dathlu 40", S4C's 40th anniversary celebrations

Double Top - You might have to be quick, because it comes off BBC Sounds soon, but this is a brand new sitcom pilot set in the world of darts written by Sion Edwards and stars Sue Roderick, Laura Dalgleish, Mali Ann Rees, Richard Elis and Sion himself. I directed and script edited the show - which did sometimes feel like I was just cutting out all the really filthy jokes - so it's worth a listen just to see what Sion managed to get past me.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

November 2022: Noson Gomedi - Dathlu 40

To mark 40 years of S4C, Sian Harries, Tudur Owen and I have made a mini edition of our sketch show O'r Diwedd, which was broadcast as part of S4C's "Noson Gomedi: Dathlu 40". Rather than looking back at the year, as we usually do, we look back at 40 years of Prynhawn Ma which, I must admit, is a good deal cheerier. 

It's best viewed on a wood effect TV with a curved screen, the back of which gets exceptionally hot before closedown or, alternatively, in the embedded tweet below.

 

The segment is also on BBC iPlayer and S4C Clic, where you'll also find the whole evening in two parts as well as the long awaited return of Tipit.

Penblwydd Hapus S4C.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

August 2022

Here's a quick dash through everything I've been working on which comes out in August.  

Welcome Strangers returns to BBC Radio Wales (and therefore BBC Sounds) for a fourth series at 6.30pm on Monday 8th August. Once again I wrote some sketches and also acted as script editor for the show which stars Mali Ann Rees, Laura Dalgleish, Beth Granville, Eleri Morgan, Kath Hughes, Sarah Breese and Ruth Madoc.
 
Wittgenstein: From Austria To Abertawe - Also on BBC Radio Wales,
this documentary will look at the time the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein spent in Swansea - a city he seemed to be rather fond of. I present the show, which was researched and devised by Dr. Alan Sandry and produced by Nigel Crowle. It will be broadcast at 6.30pm on 16th August and be available on BBC Sounds shortly afterwards.

NonCensored
is Rosie Holt's podcast in which Harriet Langley-Swindon presents a round-up of her very-real daily radio show. I appear in episode 9 as journalist Tim Dolton, talking Harriet and producer Martin through the increasingly dizzying number of Labour factions. As you'd expect, it's available wherever you get your podcasts, and at the end of this
link.


Monday, June 13, 2022

June 2022

Beena And Amrit - After last year's pilot, a full series of Beena and Amrit has just begun on BBC Radio Wales. I worked as script editor on the series, which has been brilliantly written by Priya Hall, Sarah Breese and Pravanya Pillay and stars Priya and Shobna Gulati. I'm typing this just as episode 1 appears on BBC Sounds, and it'll be joined by four more over the next month.

Only Seeing Is Believing - It is 30 years since The Garden Festival of Wales took place in Ebbw Vale. Being nine years old at the time, I was quite keen on the toboggan ride, sky shuttle and robotic dragons but didn't quite grasp the socio-economic conditions which brought the final UK garden festival to Blaenau Gwent in the first place - or what it was there to do. This show is a belated attempt to work all that out as I speak to historians, politicians and those who worked on the site itself - as well as accidentally uncovering a Blue Peter competition scandal along the way. The show is still available on the BBC Radio Wales bit of BBC Sounds - but be quick - there's only about a week left!

Friday, May 27, 2022

May 2022 - Only Seeing Is Believing

Only Seeing Is Believing - It is 30 years since The Garden Festival of Wales took place in Ebbw Vale. Being nine years old at the time, I was quite keen on the toboggan ride, sky shuttle and robotic dragons but didn't quite grasp the socio-economic conditions which brought the final UK garden festival to Blaenau Gwent in the first place - or what it was there to do. This show is a belated attempt to work all that out as I speak to historians, politicians and those who worked on the site itself - as well as accidentally uncovering a Blue Peter competition scandal along the way. The show is currently available on the BBC Radio Wales bit of BBC Sounds.

Clonc is a brand new, 6-part sketch show for BBC Radio Cymru written by Sian Harries, Tudur Owen and I and is the best-bits podcast for the fictional Radio Clonc. BBC Radio Cymru (and, by extention, Radio Clonc) is a Welsh language radio station so, as I type this in English, I realise I'm on a hiding to nothing really. Dw i'n dysgu cymraeg felly fi angen mae Sian a Tudur i gyfieithu i fi. Nes i meddwl gallwn ysgrifennu hwn paragraff yn cymraeg ond nes i "bottled it". Maybe next time!  

The Ministry Of Fun - I was lucky enough to work behind the scenes on this absolutely fascinating edition of Archive On Four all about the ministers and ministry of culture and/or the arts (or whatever they want to call the department at the time!) Presented by conductor Ben Gernon and produced by Rosemary Baker, the show covers everything from Jennie Lee to the present day, and features the National Lottery, Britpop and Virginia Bottomley introducing Gina Gee at Eurovision. I was quite heavily involved in sourcing the archive clips for the show - So when you get to the bit featuring Edward Heath enthusastically singing the Twelve Days Of Christmas to a baffled choir, you'll have me to thank.

Panic Room is a podcast, exclusively on Audible, in which Eshaan Akbar and Olga Koch attempt to find solutions to some of John Robins' biggest concerns. From running out of grave space to lowering the divorce rate, the team speak to experts and conduct their own experiments in an attempt to put John's mind at rest. I worked behind the scenes on the show but, most importantly, I was not the person who made the experimental mashed potato in the diet episode - so that bit isn't my fault.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

January 2022 - United Nations Of Anglesey

Tudur Owen: United Nations Of Anglesey is a brand new series on BBC Radio 4 and the sequel to 2020's Zoo. Once again, it's based on a true story from Tudur's childhood - this time covering how he became a star on Japanese TV when he was selected as the welsh representative in the documentary programme Children Of The World. I worked as script editor on the two part show which also manages to cover cottage burning, agricultural show skulduggery and the career of Patagonian singer-songwriter Rene Griffiths. 

And, if you're quick, you can also catch Tudur together with Sian Harries and (briefly) myself in the the latest edition of our annual sketch show O'r Diwedd which is on S4C Clic/BBC iPlayer till the end of the month and available with English subtitles.

Panic Room is a podcast, exclusively on Audible, in which Eshaan Akbar and Olga Koch attempt to find solutions to some of John Robins' biggest concerns. From running out of grave space to lowering the divorce rate, the team speak to experts and conduct their own experiments in an attempt to put John's mind at rest. I worked behind the scenes on the show but, most importantly, I was not the person who made the experimental mashed potato in the diet episode - so that bit isn't my fault.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

January 2022 - Panic Room

Panic Room is a brand new podcast, exclusively on Audible, in which Eshaan Akbar and Olga Koch attempt to find solutions to some of John Robins' biggest concerns. From running out of grave space to lowering the divorce rate, the team speak to experts and conduct their own experiments in an attempt to put John's mind at rest. I worked behind the scenes on the show but, most importantly, I was not the person who made the experimental mashed potato in the diet episode - so that bit isn't my fault.

O'r Diwedd 2021 - Our almost* annual sketch show which looks back at the year is now available on S4C Clic/BBC iPlayer till the end of the month. It's in Welsh, but both services provide English subtitles if you need them. I do and I'm in it.

(*We skipped 2020. Can you blame us?)

Harry Secombe: Unsung Comedian - Also available until the end of January is this documentary, first broadcast on BBC Radio Wales in September, to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Harry Secombe. Controversially, we ignore Sir Harry's not-insignificant singing career and instead concentrate solely on his comedic legacy - So give it a listen and decide if his legendary shaving act works on the radio. 

The Xennial Dome - Esyllt Sears and I released two special editions of the podcast over the Christmas break which, like all our episodes, will be of interest to anyone born between 1977 and 1985. First-up was a format-busting interview with the non-Xennial stars of 1990s kids television, Trevor and Simon - And we followed that up with our Christmas Leftovers podcast, containing bits and bobs we could find a home for in series 1. The whole run is currently available online wherever you get your podcasts and you can get in touch with the show on Twitter, Instagram and MySpace.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

December 2021 - Xennial Xmas Xpecial!

The Xennial Dome - The podcast of interest to anyone born between 1977 and 1985 is back for a Christmas special (or a Xennial Xmas Xpecial as I insist on calling it).

Esyllt and I decided to break the format for Christmas and speak to some people who aren't Xennials but certainly understand them better than most - Stars of 1990s kids television, Trevor and Simon.

Needless to say, I was (and still am) a huge fan of the pair of them - as my signed and battered copy of the Trevor And Simon Stupid Book will attest. The episode is available now in the playlist below as well as wherever you get your podcasts. And don't forget, you can get in touch with the show on Twitter, Instagram and MySpace.

O'r Diwedd 2021 - The sketch show which looks back at the year returns for 2021. Technically, we've got two years to cover, having been put on furlough for 2020, but 2021 has given us more than enough to deal with. The show will be broadcast on New Years Eve at 9pm and will then be available on S4C Clic/BBC iPlayer afterwards (and all with English subtitles if you need them. I do and I'm in it). 

Harry Secombe: Unsung Comedian - Also on New Years Eve, BBC Radio Wales are repeating my documentary, first broadcast in September, to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Harry Secombe. Ignoring his not-insignificant singing career, this concentrates solely on his comedic legacy. You can catch it on-air at 6.30pm on the 31st December or on BBC Sounds afterwards.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

November 2021 - Updated Update

I will be appearing on this week's episode of The Now Show talking about the UK's relationship with France and finding out how 1980s kids TV covered the building of the channel tunnel (the answer, it turns out, is "extensively"). The show will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm on Friday 12th November and will also be available as a podcast and on BBC Sounds.

Beena And Amrit is a sitcom pilot starring Meera Syal and Priya Hall, released as part of BBC Wales' Festival Of Funny. It is written by Priya Hall and Sarah Breese, I acted as script editor and it's available now on BBC iPlayer. It's only 10 minutes long too, so you may as well give it a go. You'll spend more time than that choosing what to watch next on Netflix.

And The Xennial Dome podcast (of interest to anyone born between 1977 and 1985) is still available. It's presented by Esyllt Sears and I with new episodes released every Tuesday - all of which are available in the playlist below as well as wherever you get your podcasts

Look at that list of people. Honestly, what a bunch of bloody legends. And don't forget, you can get in touch on Twitter, Instagram and, bafflingly, MySpace.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

November 2021 - Update

As part of their Festival Of Funny, BBC One Wales will be broadcasting Beena And Amrit - a sitcom pilot written by Priya Hall and Sarah Breese. I script edited the pilot, starring Meera Syal and Priya Hall, which will be broadcast on BBC One Wales at 11.05pm on Monday 8th November and will then be available on iPlayer after that.

And The Xennial Dome podcast (of interest to anyone born between 1977 and 1985) is still available. It's presented by Esyllt Sears and I with new episodes released every Tuesday - all of which are available in the playlist below as well as wherever you get your podcasts

Look at that list of people. Honestly, what a bunch of bloody legends. And don't forget, you can get in touch on Twitter, Instagram and, bafflingly, MySpace.

Monday, October 11, 2021

October 2021 - The Xennial Dome

The Xennial Dome is a brand new podcast presented by Esyllt Sears and I. Xennials are those born between 1977 and 1985 and everything else you need to know is covered in the trail featured in the ever-growing playlist below.

You should be able to listen wherever you get your podcasts - and if you can't, let us know. If you want to get in touch, we're on Twitter, Instagram and MySpace (the temptation to only do MySpace was enormous).

And if you like that, then here's a bunch of other stuff I've written or presented which is absolutely nothing like it... 

 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

September 2021 - Coming Soon: The Xennial Dome

The Xennial Dome is a brand new podcast presented by Esyllt Sears and I - and to be honest everything you need to know is covered in the trail above. You should be able to listen wherever you get your podcasts - and if you can't, let us know. We're on Twitter, Instagram and MySpace (the temptation to only do MySpace was enormous).

But if conversations about FunFaxes and Encarta encyclopedia all feel just a bit too modern, don't worry - My documentary Harry Secombe - Unsung Comedian, all about Sir Harry's comedy career, is still available on BBC Sounds.