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Thursday 17th June 2004

CNPS numbers spotted 20 (836). A couple more days like this and I will have no worries my beauties.

Regular readers will remember that about a year ago I appeared on Radio 4's "The News Quiz". I didn't do very well, having not prepared very much and being somewhat resistant to trot out the formulaic lines that seem to count as jokes in these kinds of shows.
Tonight I'd been asked to appear on a similar show called "We've Been Here Before" and thought I would give it another crack. It's a quiz show that relates this week's events to things that happened in the past (so not unlike my last radio outing, but quiz rather than sketch based).
I was similarly unprepared, but hoping that unlike last time there would be an opportunity for banter and genuine ad-libbing, rather than people just regurgitatng jokes from their stand up acts.
The team captains were John O'Farrell and Gyles Brandreth. I was in a team with John and the seemingly sweet and charming, but surprisingly risque Natalie Haynes was with Gyles.
It was a much more friendly and less competitive atmosphere than last year and although I couldn't resist making some jokes that would shock the gentile Radio 4 audience (in the studio at least, I doubt many of them will make it to air), I did get some good laughs and didn't feel out of my depth. As relatively inexperienced panel show guests Natalie and I were rather nicely supportive of one another, which made for a better show I felt.
At University I had done a parody of Gyles Brandreth, which was fairly poor and obvious (the only line I recall is "You might think it's a bit pathetic for a highly educated man to make his living by making up silly word games and expecting the public to knit all his clothes for him"), so it was strange to now be on a show with him.
He is entirely mental, or at least that is the impression he wants to give you. He would ramble on and on with stories that weren't entirely relevant to anything that was going on. Not always unamusingly I have to say, but it was a sight to behold. I suspect he was aiming to be a modern day equivalent of Kenneth Williams, in which case he had failed, and though it was hard to get a word in edgewise it was both baffling and hilarious to listen to. I doubt much of it will make the final cut.
I think I acquitted myself quite well this time and though my jokes about Harold Shipman didn't go down too well (possibly due to the average age of the audience), I managed to chip in quite a bit (when I could get through Brandreth's drone) and even got a round of applause for a joke about replacing speed cameras with nurses.
Plus we got free Pret a Manger sandwiches beforehand (giving the BBC a sandwich rating of 7) and Guinness afterwards (my plans to give up booze have fallen by the wayside. I am a bonafide alcoholic. On the plus side I will be able to write a show in a few years about giving up drink). I got some positive sounding comments about the radio version of Warming Up from some people in the know. Hopefully that will all come together.
Listen out for the show. Hope you enjoy it.

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