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Delve Special

Radio 4
No transmission dates available

Meaning a special edition of Delve, supposedly a hard-hitting investigative documentary series; there were not, to my knowledge, any transmitted editions of Delve which weren’t Special.  This 1980s spoof of programmes like The Cook Report and Radio 4’s Face the Facts was the creation of the largely unknown Tony Sarchet, and starred Stephen Fry as the fearless reporter, David Lander.  The joke, for once, was not the comic uselessness of the investigator (Lander had a fairly high clear-up rate), but the inanity or insanity of the victims and villains interviewed.  The actors played the whole thing entirely deadpan, as did Fry himself, but the situations depicted became increasingly ludicrous, usually with hysterical results.

The show transferred to Channel 4 in 1988, where it was renamed This Is David Lander.  When Fry left the series (according to the trailers, his character had got too close to the action, and been hospitalised through being “in the wrong place at the wrong time… on the wrong floor”), his place was taken by Tony Slattery as another reporter with a suspiciously similar name, and the show continued as This Is David Harper.

© JB Sumner 1998