online encyclopaedia of contemporary british radio comedy
Is any of this official?
Nope. radiohaha is an entirely unofficial
site maintained by an interested dullard. The site has no connection
with the BBC. The only reason it only covers BBC material is that
I don’t know of any intentionally funny series being on anybody else’s
radio stations. In most cases the creators of the programmes profiled
on radiohaha don’t know they have web pages about them, and would
probably be shocked and confused if they found out.
This is a bit of a vast site. What the heck
have you done all that for?
Oh, I dunno really. Various reasons, I suppose.
(a) I seem to have got trapped on the road between
university and work, couldn’t think of anything better to do, and thought,
“Well, I’ll never get the chance to do anything like that again in my life…”
Not that that answers the question of why I would have wanted to do it
in the first place.
(b) If comedy really is the new rock’n’roll, it
needs a Trouserpress.
(c) There’s too much bad design in new media…
I wanted to set up a site which presents a lot of mainly accurate information
(on a subject I actually know something about), rather than just throwing
shovelfuls of animated GIFs at people.
(d) Vague desire to show up the BBC’s lamentable
coverage of its own stuff. Haven’t really looked what they’re up
to at the moment, but they used to be notorious for getting in private
contractors who would knock together radio and TV programme sites which
were generally inaccurate and were not above driving the odd coach-and-four
through other people’s copyrights.
(e) Magnanimous gesture to the various hacks who,
in trying to chronicle the past careers of new telly stars, can’t be arsed
to do any proper research but rely on fifth-hand accounts of the contents
of long-lost press releases and/or things their mothers might once have
mentioned to them. If I see one more article in a major national
newspaper which goes along the lines of “On The Hour, the Radio
1 show which became Today’s The Day, starred Armando Ainicucchi
and Alma Cogan, whose maverick producer Chris Morris was fresh out of prison
for killing the MP Michael Heseltine”, somebody really is going to get
Why just the 80s and 90s? You seem to have specifically
excluded the time when radio comedy was at its most popular, when all the
best-known programmes were made.
I know, and this bothered me a bit too. A more
general radio comedy site would have made a lot more sense, but I decided
against it for various reasons, most importantly that the 80s and 90s are
what I know about: I wasn’t born when most of the earlier shows were on,
and it seemed a bit strange for me to be trying to compile pages entirely
through second-hand research, when there must be a fair number of people
with the necessary skills and interest who can actually remember the shows
in question. Limiting myself to a twenty-year period means that it’s
realistic to aim at being fully comprehensive, as well. I hope that
one day somebody will decide to set up a corresponding site for the earlier
stuff. There are already several sites about particular shows — recorded
on my classic comedy links page — but nothing
general as far as I know. If anybody wants to give it a go I’ll happily
thread in links as necessary, although I wouldn’t fancy a merger (the pre-80s
stuff, I reckon, needs a different approach, probably covering a smaller
proportion of shows in greater detail and with a higher quotient of unabashed
Why haven’t you included a profile of [--------],
which was loved by millions and clearly the finest programme of its generation?
There are several possible answers to this question,
but the answer is emphatically not “Because I loathe and despise
[--------] and wish an early and violent death on everybody involved
in it”. The actual possibilities are:
(a) I have absolutely no information about the
programme in question, or at any rate too little to construct even a very
(b) I have some information about the programme,
but it’s in a cupboard behind a large and heavy bed (with no castors),
and I haven’t got round to finding it yet;
(c) I have loads of information sitting right
in front of my face, but am too lazy to have bothered to do the profile;
(d) The first series of the programme is still
running or has only just finished;
(e) The programme in question has been running
since before I was born, and I’m feeling a bit overawed still trying to
work out how to do justice to it in a short profile.
The best thing to do, if you want to see a particular
programme listed, is to send me reams of highly accurate information about
it, and I’ll knock it into shape and give you a nice credit at the bottom
of the page… I appreciate this isn’t always possible, though, so
do notify me about omissions, even if you can’t be specific about them:
it might be something I didn’t know existed.
Why has the site got such an appalling name?
(I lie. Nobody has asked me this frequently
or at all. But I can tell you’re thinking it).
Yes, it is just a play on ‘Radio Ga Ga’, and yes, it’s
a poxy name, but it was all I could think of. But let’s face it,
anything self-explanatory would have been far too long — my original thought
was to try and make some kind of acronym out of “Online… Encyclopaedia…
Contemporary… Radio… Comedy”, but the best I could come up with was ‘ONEIRIC’,
which apart from not working properly, means ‘of, or composed in, a dream
or dreams’ (NB the site was not composed in a dream or dreams). In
the end, trying to think of a name was actively holding up work on the
site, so I just went for the crap alternative. I suppose I could
try and salvage credibility by pretending that it’s really a Half Man Half
Biscuit reference playing on “Radio Dada” but who would that fool, eh?
Got any more questions? Email
me and I’ll do my best to answer them, assuming I’m about… Cheers,
FAQ last updated or fiddled with 15/11/98