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Radio Shuttleworth

Radio 4
1998 (five programmes)

John Shuttleworth, Sheffield’s rising singer-songwriter sensation, has always made great play of his versatility as an artiste.  This is fortunate, as he’s been called upon to tackle a wide range of formats in his illustrious radio career.  This was actually his first series of thirty-minute shows, and was closer in style to Shuttleworth’s Showtime, the hour-long Radio 1 project, than to The Shuttleworths, the original quarter-hour show which went out on Radio 4.  However, it was a Shuttleworths episode, also entitled "Radio Shuttleworth", which provided the inspiration for this new series, in which John launched himself as a broadcaster on a radio station all of his own (jingle: "Serving all of the Sheffield region / And a little bit further even…")

It is unclear what the Portasound maestro hoped to gain from his foray into the broadcast media, especially given the fundamentally narrow cast of his mindset: the station’s news summaries were culled from the local paper and revolved around community walks and similar gripping events, while the weather report was compiled by a quick glance out of the kitchen window.  There were, however, numerous other features to keep the listening public enthralled.  John was, as ever, joined by his taciturn wife Mary and his next-door neighbour (and sole agent), Ken Worthington, who was ostensibly the station producer but who kept disappearing down to the shops in mid-show.  He did, however, agree to preside over a weekly feature entitled "Impress an Impresario", in which guest comics and musicians would perform in the hope of receiving the dubious privilege of a place on Ken’s books.  In a similar vein, Mary was persuaded (under duress) to reprise a feature from Shuttleworth’s Showtime entitled "Make Mary Merry", in which cutting-edge comedians would try in vain to bring a smile to her lips.  Each episode was further enlivened by that old standby, the celebrity guest.  Patrick Moore, Wendy Craig and John Kettley were among the interviewees who found themselves arriving at the house to spend slightly too long in the company of John and friends.  Most importantly of all, there were the songs.  This series contained a somewhat reduced quotient of Shuttleworth synthesiser masterpieces, but each programme featured a magnificent finale in which John accompanied his special guest in a duet.

To return reluctantly to the so-called real world for a moment, it is scarcely necessary to mention that John and all the other characters were portrayed by Graham Fellows, who also wrote most of the programme; additional material was provided by co-producer Martin Willis.

External links: The Official John Shuttleworth Homepage

© JB Sumner 1999. Uploaded 10/1/99