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Shuttleworth’s Showtime
Radio 1

John Shuttleworth, with his greying hair, thick spectacles and settled, semi-detached existence, might seem an unlikely presenter for a cutting-edge Radio 1 comedy show.  (The ideal forum for his talents, according to the man himself, would of course be Radio 2; he was not entirely happy with his original Radio 4 positioning, believing the audience to be “a bit snooty”).  Nonetheless, the parodic Sheffield Portasound maestro’s style was dutifully applied to the station’s new comedy format, in which sketch segments were interspersed with records in an hour-long show.  It actually worked surprisingly well, despite the rather obvious contrast between the tone of John’s pieces and the up-to-date music.  The gap between the 1FM and Shuttleworth worldviews was successfully exploited in a feature called “Make Mary Merry”, where alternative comedians were given the thankless task of amusing John’s wife Mary, invariably without success.  Other features included “Hints and Tips”, “Brief Sit-Down”, “Bring Me a Demo”, where listeners’ tapes were subjected to John’s keen scrutiny, and “Visiting Bard”, in which a different comic poet performed each week.  The quality of the guests (including John Cooper Clarke) is a testimony to Shuttleworth creator Graham Fellows’ genuine clout on the comedy/music scene.

See also: The Shuttleworths
External links: The Official John Shuttleworth Homepage

© JB Sumner 1998