At the End of the Day... there's some comedy on 5 live
What do you get if you cross live radio with theatre, live comedy with sports, and throw in some sketches for online? At the end of the day... you get the chance to laugh a lot. I run a production company and have been making radio drama and comedy for the BBC for five years, but usually with Radio 4 or Radio 3.
On Friday night, as part of 5 live Sport's Kicking Off with Colin Murray special in Liverpool you'll have the chance to hear a unique sports-based comedy we've produced performed live in front of 5 live listeners.
At The End of the Day is writer and director James Quinn's satire of sports broadcasting. It originally premiered at JB Shorts, a showcase for short plays in Manchester, and we then filmed another performance before FC United's end-of-season game against Bradford (Park Avenue) back in April 2009. It's that recording which we used to help 'sell' the show to 5 live so FCUM fans are rightly claiming a little credit. As should the ensemble cast John Henshaw, Liam Tims, Verity Henry, Peter Slater and Chris Hannon - as well as a few more waiting in the wings!
5 live may not be the usual home of comedy sketch shows, but when a sports commentary comedy, comes out of 5 live's new home in Northern England, it seemed like a good fit. The radio drama commissioning process normally takes around five months from first idea to commission - broadcasting up to a year later. Vision+Media are a Salford-based company who aim to "help grow the digital and creative industry in England's Northwest." They introduced 5 live's team to various companies - with a creative kicker fund to explore creative new approaches for 5 live content. Two days after pitching, I got a call from commissioner Jonathan Wall with a "YES".
At the end of the day, if it works on a live audience, if it works on radio - and if it's based on the post-match analysis of TV - then we know it has the potential to work across lots of platforms, so, with 5 live behind us, we've extended the content visually and adapted the show to replicate sports TV studio shows thanks to our magic team of designers and tech staff. And if it can work for football, why not all sports? So we're also trying out this Grand National special.
What next? Well right now I'm off for the final rehearsal of the live show (what a great job it is when it's pencilled in to your diary to laugh for three hours). After a quick technical format Skype 3-way (!) with a Polish guy from Peterborough and a Liverpudlian in Hong Kong. Must also swot up on the lives and works of all the sports personalities who are "guests" in the live show; tell me do I bow or curtsey, kiss or shake a football hero and a Grand National winner?
After that, if the audience like it we've got dreams of a radio show beyond the pilot and have lots of interactive plans. So, at the end of the day - there may be another outing for this quite soon. Though let's get the 5 live, live show, done well first.
I've always looked on in envy at those whose love of their sport straddles passion to obsession, gives their life meaning, purpose, structure and a social life of like-minded friends. It's just never touched me personally. I'm not even great at exercising - snails pass me when I jog.
But what's been the best thing about this project for me? Well, we filmed some of the yet-to-be-released football sketches at FCUM's grounds (our writer does their radio commentary). My husband brought the kids along to see where I was working and stay for the match - none of us have ever been before.
We've been to every game since as a family, my seven-year-old daughter is absolutely gripped and currently learning the football chants for the next game, and... "At The End of The Day it's 11.59pm" and I'm feeling a little bit of the passion rubbing off on me.