Radio 4's Beauty Olonga

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Candice Lo | 09:53 UK time, Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Jocelyn Jee Esien as Beauty Olonga

Jocelyn Jee Esien as Beauty Olonga

Radio 4's comedy, Beauty of Britain, is about a woman called Beauty Olonga, who works as a carer and sees herself as an inspiration to other young African women in Britain. Here she tells us more about her show.

"One of the people in charge at Radio 4 asked me to tell you about my new series. She said she would do it herself only she's not very good at 'writing-ey type stuff' and she's got a wedding to go to.

"I could tell she was important because she had a little fold-up bicycle and she only goes into the office two days a week. Since coming to this country to work as a carer, I have learnt to recognise how much power someone has by how small their bike is, how long their holidays are and how much extra work they ask you to do for nothing.

"The British also expect you to compliment them on their sense of humour - like when those elderly gentlemen sang about 'My generation' on TV the other night. But I've noticed that although they like to laugh they don't want to make eye contact. I think that's why Radio 4 is such an important part of their culture.

"A lot of the elderly people I look after have a machine on the bedside table that suddenly starts playing Radio 4 at 6.15 in the morning while, at the same time, squirting them with steam and boiling tea - that fantastic sense of humour again!

"Radio 4 normally starts the day with three hours of high-status men shouting at each other. Sometimes you can hear the velcro tearing on their cycling anklets when they get really worked up. Most of my clients like to shout back at the radio, especially when a man called Gary Richardson is on. The elderly women I look after tend to get very annoyed when Kirsty Young starts talking. Personally I can't see anything to complain about with Kirsty - okay, she lost her professionalism when Morrissey was her guest but I've seen a photo of her in Asda Shopper magazine and she is the only Radio 4 presenter who takes the trouble to do her highlights properly.

"If you are an African girl working as a carer you will pick up plenty of top tips from my new series; from how to upstyle your tabard to slow-cooking carrots overnight to getting your clients seen by NHS professionals who are so young they can't write out a prescription without sticking their tongues out and moving their lips. I'd been living here for nearly two years before I learned the key to dealing with registrars is patience and understanding. Young doctors are very overworked so it doesn't help to criticise them for not knowing how to dress for their shape and for only visiting the barbers once every six months.

"But I hope there will be something useful for everyone who listens to my show. And let's face it that means all of you because how many Radio 4 listeners actually go in to work on a Friday? Exactly."

Beauty of Britain goes out on Radio 4 Friday mornings at 11.30am.

Dictated from the vintage section of the PDSA shop to Christopher Douglas and Nicola Sanderson

Comedy and Multiplatform

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Jon Aird | 13:48 UK time, Thursday, 23 August 2012

BBC College of Production records a podcast

 

Up in Edinburgh, the BBC's College of Production (COP) has been talking to comedians about online shennanigans. The COP's Catherine Scott writes...


Yesterday saw four of comedy's bright new stars share their thoughts on how to be 'funny and multiplatform', during BBC College of Production's live podcast from the BBC Edinburgh Festival base in Potterow. The panel consisted of Daniel Berg, the comedy writer and developer who specialises in viral video, Bec Hill, named one of the "Top 10 Funniest Comedians on Twitter", Arron Ferguson of alternative comedy duo Not The Adventures of Moleman and Iván González, one half of Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award 2011-winning duo Max and Ivan.

Prolific Tweeter Bec Hill told us how she started using online platforms simply to share her comedy sketches and cartoons with her friends, and was pleasantly surprised when it snowballed into a 3000+ Twitter following. Bec also noted that her online audience has grown much faster than her live audience – "I've reached 100,000 views on YouTube, I certainly haven’t got that in Edinburgh yet!".

Daniel Berg's passion for viral videos was evident when a strong gust of Scottish wind blasted through the pink tent and he remarked "Film that, that'll go viral!". Daniel spoke of how social media and online platforms give new acts the chance for exposure without the need to be commissioned. When wrangling with the shorter attention span of the internet audience, Daniel’s advice to comedians was "Keep your content topical, and keep it short."

Ivan Gonzalez sang the praises of online platforms such as YouTube for giving comedians creative control, and also gave a shout-out to BBC's iPlayer and Feed My Funny for allowing viewers to access comedy outside the restrictions of viewing schedules. Like Bec Hill, Ivan also enjoys the immediacy of 140 character jokes on Twitter – and if the #EdFest feed this week is anything to go by, so do a lot of us (“Just been to a lecture on how to build a ship. Riveting!")

Arron Ferguson's two-man sketch troupe Not The Adventures of Moleman actually began as a solely online act, only venturing out onto the live circuit once they had built a large online following. Noting that "some people think you need to be live to be comedians", Arron pointed out that a lot of NTAOM's sketches actually work better online, because film can provide subtle shots that might be missed in onstage comedy. Arron also gave us possibly the most useful piece of advice on treating online platforms with respect – "Don’t use Twitter to invite all your fans to KFC!"

Although the public passion for live comedy gigs remains strong, any new comedian entering the industry should remember that there is a plethora of other options available to them for making their name and getting their work out there. It might take a while to build up 100,000 hits on YouTube or 1000 followers on Twitter, but as our guests concluded “As long as you’re having fun, that's what matters."

Listen to the full podcast.

Follow College of Production @BBCCop

New Jason Byrne Sitcom 'Father Figure'

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Jon Aird | 07:00 UK time, Thursday, 9 August 2012

Jason Byrne

 

BBC One has commissioned a pilot of Father Figure, a new sitcom created, written by and starring the stand-up comedian Jason Byrne, to go into production early next year.

Jason Byrne plays married father Tom. He tries to be the best dad he can to his two sons, but bad luck and his extended family are always upsetting his plans. Jason will be accompanied by Pauline McLynn (Father Ted), Michael Smiley (Luther) and Dermot Crowley (Bleak House).

Jason said "It's been a big dream of mine and I'd never have thought I would get the chance to join the ranks of the television sitcom world. The characters all come from real life and the outrageous situations Tom gets into have, more often than not, actually happened to me. The people in my life will never realise that it's them I'm writing about, unless my wife and two sons, mother, father and best mate ever watch it."

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