Radio 4 has ordered new comedies from Geoff Norcott, Mike Bubbins and broadcaster Steph McGovern, while re-commissioning Meera Syal and a showcase of disabled comedians, among others, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.
Geoff Norcott: classy
On stand-up show Well Classy, Geoff Norcott explores where he stands now in the classroom. Coming from an up-and-coming working-class family that yearned to improve, he wanted to own his own home but shuddered at always having the worst brand of budget cola. So when did he cross? How long does it take for you to “do well” before accepting what your friends in the pub keep telling you: “you’ve changed”?
Recording May 15 at The George IV pub in Chiswick, London, where Norcott previously filmed the 2019 BBC Two documentary How the middle classes ruined Britainthe comedian will also investigate how, as more middle-class families find themselves in dire financial straits, “when will being in the middle become something you can be proud ?”
Mike Bubbins: Retrosexual
Among Radio 4’s stand-up showcases recorded at the Machynlleth Comedy Festival in Wales this weekend is Mike Bubbins’ first Retrosexual special, in which the 1970s throwback explains how to wear Cuban heels, drive a Ford Cortina and revering Evel Knievel makes him a timeless man, never quite out of place.
The ultimate choice
The station is also piloting The Ultimate Choice, presented by McGovern, in which comedians “must face a parade of devilish, mischievous and downright silly dilemmas unlike any they’ve ever faced before.” With the help of experts and the public, they “will have to make the greatest choices of their lives for your entertainment and enjoyment”.
The panelists have yet to be revealed. But comics such as Russell Kane, Marcus Brigstocke, Dane Baptiste and Luke Kempner are regular guests on McGovern’s Channel 4 daytime show Steph’s Lunch Packwith The Ultimate Choice recorded on May 24 at the Backyard Comedy Club in London.
Meanwhile, among the shows returning to Radio 4 for the second series are Syal’s Gossip And Goddesses With Granny Kumar, the talk show hosted by the enduring character of writer-actor Kumars; Tom Mayhew Is Benefit Scum, in which Mayhew walks listeners through the benefit system and Njambi McGrath’s Becoming Njambi, in which the Kenyan stand-up girl reflects further on the extraordinary life story that brought her from her homeland UK. Ken Cheng: Chinese Comedian is also back for a third stand-up series reflecting on what it means to be Anglo-Chinese.
The Thirteen Million Club
After a 2020 pilot, The Thirteen Million Club returns for another taste of disabled comics stand-up, while also promising current affairs discussions and “anarchic messing around.” Moderated by the presenter and former The Great British Bake Off contestant Briony May Williams, the list of established artists and newcomers for the May 11 taping at the Backyard club has yet to be confirmed. The original was presented by Lost Voice Guy and featured Tanyalee Davis, Jamie MacDonald, Jess Thom and Don Biswas.
The Radio 4 orders follow others recently revealed, including the first series from Jessica Fostekew and Sunil Patel; stand-up specials from Biswas, Stephen Bailey, Jon Harvey and a showcase featuring Eleanor Morton, Mary Flanigan and Esyllt Sears; a second series of MacDonald’s Life On The Blink and the return of Graham Fellows’ evergreen creation John Shuttleworth in The Shuttleworths.