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The Cradleys

Radio 4
1998 (nine episodes)

Featuring a rare non-performing contribution from Griff Rhys Jones, who co-wrote it with Mike Haskins, this show was a neat little quarter-hour topical comedy, with an approach reminiscent of that end-of-the-eighties favourite, Little Blighty On The Down.  The Cradleys was a mock-soap opera in which events from the week’s news had a strange habit of reproducing themselves, in miniature, in the characters’ lives.  The family of the title was comprised of self-righteous kitchen-fitter Baz (Simon Godley), his wife Val (Felicity Montagu) and two children, trainee lout Lee (Perry Benson) and child prodigy Danni with an ‘i’ (Emma Amos).  The Cradleys lived, in mock-Tudorbethan splendour, in the ultimate Essex village of Copping Mount, next door to evasive Conservative MEP Gerald deBoeuf (Geoff McGivern).

This was, in fact, probably the funniest of the numerous new topical shows rolled out by Radio 4 in 1998, reflecting various global and national developments in the Cradleys’ problems with their kids, deBoeuf’s unceasing career troubles, and hostilities between the two households resulting from Baz’s failure to complete his neighbour’s fitted kitchen installation within fifteen years of the agreed date.

© JB Sumner 1999. Uploaded 10/1/99