History of British Comedy (with David Mitchell) BBC Verified

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In a new four-part programme, David Mitchell traces the history of British humour.

In the first episode, David looks at how the Variety Theatres were briefly closed ΓÇô and then opened again to boost morale ΓÇô and how radio became a nationΓÇÖs lifeline.

This was also the age of the catchphrase -- and David asks how and why these devices came about, as well as tracing the lineage of 'I don't believe it' and 'You can't see the join' to those early catchphrases that were on everyone's lips! The programme also looks at the venue that gave many performers their first post-war start as well - the Windmill Theatre - where the comic's job was to give the bill some respectability in between the nude tableaux that the entirely male audience had come to see! Tough yes - but it enabled performers to learn their trade in a way that wasn't available again until the arrival of comedy clubs in the 1980s. This is the era when The Goon Show changed everything - but also when Take It From Here, Variety Bandbox and the various forces programmes became a vital part of everyone's lives - and those changes ushered in the first signs of comedy that only appealed to certain generations. David also looks at a series which started on the 'Light Programme', ran for half an hour a week and changed how we consumed our narrative comedy forever.

In the second part, David investigates humour from the Second World War to the early Sixties.

In the third episode, David looks at British comedy in the 1960s and ΓÇÿ70s, everything from Round the Horne and the Carry On films, to Monty Python, Beyond the Fringe, Morecambe and Wise and the Two Ronnies -- and more!

In the final episode, David looks at British comedy from the 1980s to the present day:  70s escapism gave way to 80s cynicism, and this final episode in the series explores why comedy changed suddenly instead of gradually - and the role Channel 4 played in that change. This was the era of The Young Ones and Blackadder, but was alternative comedy really something new?  Post World War Two, the old order was actively challenged by those seeking a new approach - and even before that, the Crazy Gang had almost set the template for 'alternative'. Part 4 also looks at the 90s and beyond when stars who'd grown up on their 'new wave' predecessors also saw the best of what had gone before them.   In a time when the nation's divisions were less obvious, so it was with comedy. And as ever - there was change. We hear about stadium stand-up, sitcoms without laughter tracks, and big screen comedy successes. 

And David asks what new methods of communication will mean to British Comedy - new portals for the latest 'experimental live improvisational sit-com featuring a cast of 'train spotters', or opportunities for comedy consumers to discover new laughs in classic clips? 

Via YouTube and its ilk, new audiences are discovering long dead comedy greats in a way that that suits their needs - Tommy Cooper material in particular has a high hit rate amongst those born since he passed away.

youΓÇÖll hear from:
Michael Grade
Denis Norden
Producers Beryl Vertue and Johnnie Hamp
Writers John Sullivan, David Nobbs, Carla Lane 
Barry Cryer
Show Biz agent Laurie Mansfield
Co-founder of the Comedy Store Don Ward
Media lecturer C.P. Lee
Expert on British Film Steve Ellison
Alan Davis
Jimmy Cricket 
Dave Spikey

Presented by David Mitchell
Produced byPhil Collinge 
A Made In Manchester Limited Production for BBC 
Radio 2

51.2 MB (52,522 KB / 53,782,656 bytes)
MPEG-1 Layer 3
48000Hz  128 kb/s tot , Joint Stereo
History of British Comedy (with David Mitchell) BBC/History of British Comedy – with David Mitchell – Part 02 of 04.mp3 53.991 MB
History of British Comedy (with David Mitchell) BBC/History of British Comedy – with David Mitchell – Part 03 of 04.mp3 53.982 MB
History of British Comedy (with David Mitchell) BBC/History of British Comedy – with David Mitchell – Part 01 of 04.mp3 53.783 MB
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