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Woolly Mammoth: the Making Of

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Frankie Ward 16:57, Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Editor's note: Andrew Lawrence: How Did We End Up Like This starts this week on Radio 4 in which the Fosters nominated comedian brings us an explanation of human development via stand up, sketch and song. In the first programme Andrew looked at what makes up the human diet and by way of fair-trade and road-kill culminates in a moving song about the extinction of the Woolly Mammoth. Here, Radio Comedy's Interactive Producer talks about bringing the song to life with a day out on location. PM

A few days ago, I ended up outside London's Lyceum Theatre asking the comedian Andrew Lawrence to raise a plush toy woolly mammoth above his head 'like the end of The Circle of Life'.

I was met with the sort of puzzled face one associates with the recognition of lunacy.

I responded with the expression of disbelief; 'you've never seen The Lion King?'

Andrew had not. Luckily Production Coordinator (and all round lifesaver) Matthew was on hand to whip out his phone and present the image I desperately intended to recreate. With the source of inspiration now lodged firmly in his brain, Andrew commendably proved himself up to the task. The task being to take the little mammoth on a friendly tour of the capital to accompany a song from the first episode of his new series, Andrew Lawrence: How Did We End Up Like This?

Andrew and a woolly mammoth recreate the iconic Circle of Life pose from The Lion King

In fact, I have to issue a public thank you to Andrew - right here on the Radio 4 blog - for putting up with me as I chased him around London, camera in hand, getting him to perform a variety of poses with our furry friend (I named him Mammut). We went from Great Portland Street to Covent Garden and then hotfooted it across Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus, down the Mall to Buckingham Palace and caught the tube to the unofficial home of museums, South Kensington. Despite the day being grey and drizzily, and the number of locations ambitious to say the least, Andrew remained the consummate professional (and he let me consume the cupcake featured near the start of the video. It was Toblerone flavoured!)

Andrew Lawrence and woolly mammoth on a park bench

When ended up outside Buckingham Palace I admit that I became bitterly disappointed that 'the men in the furry hats' weren't actually stationed outside the gates. (To tell you the truth, I always thought they were there for my benefit, rather than to actually protect Her Majesty the Queen.) I was rather desperate to get my own picture with the iconic guards, but in the end had to settle for communicating my feelings with a rather forlorn picture of the cuddly Mammut gazing sadly through the gates.

Andrew Lawrence and woolly mammoth eat cake

Now I don't want to spoil the end of the video for those of you who haven't watched it, but it does feature the kitchen here at Radio Comedy HQ, just in case you were wondering why there's a massive image of Tony Hancock's face dominating the background. Unfortunately, it was not intended a subliminal homage to one of the greatest legends ever to work with Radio Comedy, but if you would prefer to interpret it in this way, I would wholeheartedly support you.

But why go to all this trouble, you may ask, for one man and his cuddy mammoth? Why is there even a song about an extinct creature being broadcast on Britain's leading speech radio network? Well, it's all in the name of a brand new series from comedian Andrew Lawrence that looks at how our world has progressed from prehistoric times into the modern aims, asking questions about our approaches to food, health, fashion and other things. (The title, Andrew Lawrence: How Did We End Up Like This? is a particular giveaway.) However, rather than being a show based around pure stand-up, Andrew and Producer Jane Berthoud have added songs and sketches into the mix, the latter being brought to life by Sara Pascoe and Mark Larwood. It's like a history lesson, with added social comedy commentary.

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