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Audio Diaries

Radio 4
Series One 1998 (five programmes)
Series Two 1999 (five programmes)

Brilliantly understated series of parodies from actress and ex-Week Ending writer Kay Stonham, based on the format of serious presenter-free documentaries such as Radio 4's Soundtrack.  As this show was never (in its first series at least) billed as a comedy, and was played entirely straight by the actors involved, the realisation that something was amiss came only when the basic plot was established: the situations, although usually directed at some satirical target, were of course absurd.  The first programme, Doreen/Dorinda, told the story of a working-class woman (Tilly Vosbrugh) about to undergo a class-change operation; subsequent programmes dealt with a well-meaning couple who decide to take a veal calf as their adoptive daughter, a London-based agency which supplies unwanted Northern husbands to frustrated single women, and a doctor (played by Stonham herself) who introduces a revolutionary programme of 'Cure in the Community', taking sick people out of the hospitals.  The finest moment of the series, however, came, unexpectedly, from Les Dennis, giving the performance of his life as Bob, a bored everyman trapped in a humdrum job presenting daytime television shows, who longs to break through into the glamorous world of dentistry.  Series Two provided more of the same, opening very neatly indeed with a programme devoted to the makers of fly-on-the-wall documentaries.  The cast varied between shows, with some guest performers only appearing in a single programme; regulars and semi-regulars for the second series included Stonham, Camille Coduri, Simon Greenall and Kevin Eldon. 

© JB Sumner 1998-2000.  Last modified 1/5/00