Face Made For Radio


Bit of a deviation from storytelling here, but I thought it was quite interesting. The raptor, cunning reptile that he is, applied for a ton of free tickets to radio recordings of things like The Now Show. This week we got into a double-episode of recording Just A Minute, and I learned a few truths about programmes you can’t see:

1. These shoes ain’t made for show biz

I work from home, so I understand the concept of not spending a huge amount of time on your appearance if no one’s going to see you. Most of the time I don’t bother wearing shoes. But I’m in private, on my own (unless there’s a squatter in the attic I don’t know about), not standing in front of an audience of around 250. Since that’s only a percentage of their audience, apparently some radio performers don’t count it as being in public. For some reason bare-footed comedians amused me.

2. Fancy a pint?

Of the shows I’ve seen so far, the refreshment choice for the performers has been 50/50 beer and water. I’m honestly not judging, I’m just curious – what’s the difference between TV (where they are either all drinking water, or pretending and actually necking gin at an impressive rate), and radio?

EDIT: Hmm, okay. I’ve just seen Lee Mack down a bottle of beer on Live at the Apollo. Might have to retract this!

3. Take Two

It’s obvious, really, but I hadn’t thought about it. Radio is rarely broadcast live, so if someone messes up then they can just do it again immediately. I’m sure this happens in TV as well, I just haven’t seen any being recorded. They also have to hang around at the end whilst the producer tells them which bits they messed up without noticing, and redo those.

4. Not for listeners at home

There’s a tremendous amount of visual comedy that goes on during radio recordings. Again, it’s an obvious thing I hadn’t thought of – people communicate with bodies just as much as words. Comedians make faces, some of them even do dinosaur impressions (Hugh Dennis, mainly). If you’re listening to a comedy radio show and the audience apparently laughs at nothing, it’s probably because something happened in the studio.

That, or they were breathing laughing gas.

So, yeah. A random couple of things I didn’t know before watching a radio programme. Nothing to do with writing at all, but I thought there was a faint possibility you might be interested. Also, I’ve been rubbish this week and not blogged. In my defence, any writing time I’ve had has been spent writing. I’m currently at the stage where the book is a bit of an obsession. The end is in sight and I’ve set myself the arbitrary date of finishing the first draft by the end of August. So it’s all systems go. I apologise (not much, you understand, but a bit) and will try not to neglect this as much next week.

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