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Any Other Business
Radio 4
1995 (six episodes)

Rent creator Lucy Flannery’s sitcom of local government life was blessed with a very neat starting-point: the dyed-in-the-wool Tory town of Chesbury comes, for the first time in its history, under the control of a Labour-led coalition of other parties, which attains a wafer-thin majority after the Conservative group’s leader loses his seat to a student, standing in the Loony interest, with whom he shares a surname and first initial.  (This part of the plot was based on topical events: the Liberal Democrats had recently failed to win a Euro constituency owing to the presence on the ballot paper of a ‘Literal Democrat’ candidate).  The hapless student, who has been pressed into standing by a friend, is horrified, especially when internal machinations result in his being chosen as Mayor — until he learns of the appointment of the lovely Camilla as mayoral chauffeur, at which point he has a rapid change of heart and begins to take his responsibilities seriously, appointing his friend Graham as Mayoress.  Unfortunately, the restrictions of radio prevented the development of the kind of labyrinthine plot the premiss deserved.  June Whitfield, James Grout, John Duttine and Jan Ravens were among the cast.

© JB Sumner 1998