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Doon Your Way

Radio 4
1996 (four programmes)

The apparent basis for this show was easy to guess from the title: a showcase for On The Hour’s Doon Mackichan which parodied Down Your Way, a long-running Radio 4 feature (now defunct) which, in the format adopted from 1987 onwards, featured different celebrities exploring areas they had some personal attachment to.  Each episode did indeed begin along these lines, with Doon supposedly returning to one of the haunts of her youth, and exchanging a few words with some character or other; uniquely, though, in this series the entire concept was a blind.  A couple of minutes in, the transmission would always be ‘interrupted’ by the sound of DJ Chantal and her pirate radio station, apparently broadcasting from “a Portaloo in Peckham”.  The motormouthed Chantal, voiced by Mackichan in a grinding, rapid-fire Estuary accent, linked together the ‘real’ programme (with occasional interruptions from the signals of misdirected minicab drivers, etc) before the spurious ‘Doon Your Way’ faded back in at the end, followed by a continuity announcement apologising for the interference.

Chantal’s show, a sustained exercise in character comedy, was basically a mixture of ill-informed topical discussion, ‘celebrity’ interviews and adverts for various services, including the fetishwear business run by ‘Aphrodite’ (aka Chantal’s mum).  The supporting characters were played by an assortment of largely well-known actors including Pam Ferris, Lesley Sharp, Phil Cornwell and Alistair McGowan.  Unsurprisingly given the show’s 6.30pm slot, Chantal’s foul-mouthed delivery and occasionally scatological material generated a large number of complaints, and the later programmes in the run were slightly re-edited before transmission.

© JB Sumner 1998