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Posts Tagged ‘Alan Partridge’

Reece Shearshmith as DJ Mike King image credit BBC

 DJ Mike King
image credit BBC

Some years ago when I watched the amazing League of Gentlemen for the first time, there was a minor recurring character on the show called Mike King who happened to be a hospital DJ. We see him playing song dedications for patients such as ‘Bye Bye, Baby’ for a teenage girl having a termination and blackmailing a staff doctor to get him to attach an arm on his limb-challenged friend. If you know anything about LOG and their imaginary and darkly absurd world of Royston Vasey, you might have thought as I did – a DJ in a hospital is just something they made up.

I forgot all about it until recently when I started watching the geriatric Scottish sitcom, Still Game. One episode in particular from series four called ‘Wireless‘ was all about the main characters, Jack (Ford Kiernan) and Victor (Greg Hemphill),  filling in as hospital DJs so their mate Tam could take a holiday.

Still Game's Jack and Victor fill in as hospital DJs  image credit BBC Scotland

image credit BBC Scotland

 

Seeing this led me to believe that radio stations in UK hospitals might be an actual thing so I decided to investigate a bit further. First I found Ivan Brackenbury, aka comedian and radio personality Tom Binns. Though Ivan is a  comic character created by Binns, the clip does a good job explaining the purpose of these primarily volunteer hospital staff.

 

I also learned that Karl Pilkington, Philip Glenister and several members of the Kaiser Chiefs got their start in entertainment through hospital radio stations. Even fictional broadcaster Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) admits to having done a three year stint as a hospital radio disc jockey…

 

My most surprising find was that in 1994 there was an entire TV drama set around a hospital radio station in a Scottish psychiatric hospital. Takin’ Over the Asylum starred Ken Stott as Eddie, the new DJ at St. Jude’s long- deserted radio station, and a very young David Tennant as a bi-polar patient named Campbell who helps Eddie out on air.

 

I can see how an internal radio station could help build a sense of community on the wards and cheer or comfort patients and their families. If anyone is aware of an American hospital that does this, I’d be interested to know. Otherwise I’ll add this to my list of surprising and delightful things that the British do differently to us.

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For this week’s Five for Friday, I’m going to be quite quick. You see I’ve been occupied the past few days with helping my son prepare for his big move to Boston. There’s been shopping, laundry, and organizing to do and not much time for watching telly nor writing about it (though we have tried to fit in a few episodes of Peep Show each day).

You see, it’s not just my first born who is moving away. It’s my telly buddy who is leaving the nest as well.  Our favorite genre to watch together has always been comedy. I have often claimed that when I was pregnant with him, I found everything funny from stand-up comedians on TV to embarrassing situations in real life (hitting a bald man in the back of the head with a collection plate at church set me into fits of giggles).

When my youngster was introduced to the likes of Monty Python and Mr. Bean and he liked it, I knew we had a special bond.  Ever since then we’ve made time to watch funny stuff together and I will truly miss having him by my side on the couch.

In honor of all the laughs Ross and I have shared together, here’s a short list of some of sitcoms and sketch shows we’ve enjoyed over the years:

Little Britain

Catchphrases, wigs and prosthetics and the tendency to mock British people of all classes and situations were the hallmarks of David Walliams and Matt Lucas’ irreverent sketch show. Besides men in drag always make me laugh…

The Mighty Boosh

My son found this one on late night TV, Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network I believe. This absurd cult comedy is rather difficult to put in a genre box. I mean there are musical numbers, animated sequences and special effects but in the end it’s about two friends, Vince Noir and Howard Moon, who go on fantastical adventures and sometimes just try to get on in life.

The Thick of It

Before Peter Capaldi was THE Doctor he was the most aggressive spin doctor ever, Malcolm Tucker. This political satire is House of Cards with lots more swearing and put downs. I don’t know how much we learned about the British political system but it was a fun train wreck to watch.

The IT Crowd

Two computer geeks and their technology challenged manager wile away the hours in the basement Reynholm Industries doing very little work and getting into some hilarious if improbable situations. It’s also very quotable which young men tend to like.

Roy and Moss have to be one of our favorite sitcom buddy duos. So much so that we’ve continued to follow the work of both Chris O’Dowd and Richard Ayoade ever since.

Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge, in any form, is a favorite of ours. From his dysfunctional TV chat show (Knowing Me Knowing You w/A.P.) to his vast experience as an inept radio DJ (I Am A.P. and Mid-Morning Matters w/ A.P. and the film Alpha Papa), Steve Coogan’s alter ego is a brilliant parody of British media personalities.

I know my son and I will carry on with our shared enthusiasm for British comedy. We’ll just have to find creative ways to do it long distance for now. Which comedies have you found that cross generations? What do you like watching with your mum (or children)?

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It’s been a hectic 72 hours – picking up my son from college, last minute shopping, visiting family on Christmas Eve and Day.  Of course this time hasn’t been without its British moments.  Crackers were popped. The Queen appeared on YouTube.  Knowing Me Knowing Yule with Alan Partridge was watched.  I received the complete series of Life on Mars from my wonderful husband and a lovely new telly to watch it on from my parents!  And my mother-in law bought me a seemingly ordinary mantel clock but hold on… is that Stephen Fry set to awaken me each morn with superfluous compliments?

 

I had to use the YouTube clip since my own video wasn’t allowed to be uploaded to WordPress.  I guess that’s a yet another technology challenge to tackle in the New Year.

Here’s hoping everyone had a joyous Christmas and that you are lucky, like my family, and can recover with a Boxing Day of sorts tomorrow!

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