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Live On Arrival
Radio 4
1988 (six programmes)

The first Radio 4 comedy series with live transmission since In One Ear, this was a late-night topical sketch show starring Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis, Flip Webster and Guy Jackson, who was also responsible for the music (all six shows were written by Punt alone). The 'live' aspect was largely pointless since the show was tightly-scripted and performed before a polite BBC audience, although Steve Punt did once accidentally read out a page of script twice.  Despite pre-dating The Mary Whitehouse Experience, the show was fairly gentle and old-fashioned, its humour owing a lot to I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again: each programme began with a topical news round-up and was punctuated by Jackson's keyboard songs, but most of its airtime involved a weekly story (usually an excuse for tongue-in-cheek unsubtle satire and whimsical impressions, something which was developed in Whitehouse). While not a masterpiece, Live On Arrival demonstrated Punt's workaholic scriptwriting skills and Dennis' unquestionable genius as a performer. Webster later dabbled in serious acting before having a baby; Jackson has since bought a new CD machine.

© Mike Scott/JB Sumner 1998-2000, with thanks to David Tyler. Last modified 10/3/99