Monday, January 15, 2007

Has radio comedy had its last laugh?

"The problem is that Radio 4 hasn't developed a really huge zeitgeisty show since Little Britain," says radio critic Will Hogkinson. "That's what Radio 4 is all about. I love shows like Ed Reardon's Week, but it could have been on air at any time in the past 10 years. They're still struggling to find that great of-the-moment comedy troupe."

"There's a very cosy, middle class, middle-aged feel to a lot of what's on air at the moment," says Vanessa Haynes, who develops comedy for production companies such as Celador. "Talent who get a show on Radio 4 tend to soften around the edges a bit."

Some argue that it is all about the dosh - "broadcast comedy would suffer if Radio 4 went away," says one agent, "but it pays so little that it's impossible for a writer or performer to focus without another income stream, so I see it as an intermediary level rather than an end in itself." Others think the industry has changed and Radio 4's role is unclear.
More from Stephen Armstrong in Media Guardian (free registration required).

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