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28 October 2014

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Cyderdelic

Su, Frogger and Beetle

Cyderdelic was a spoof mockumentary about a group of over-zealous West Country wannabe revolutionaries.

The antics of Su, Beetle and Frogger were often improvised, with narration from John Peel lending added verisimilitude to proceedings.

The writer/performers were so keen to make it seem real, that even the credits were just an alphabetical list of contributors, with no roles/tasks attributed to actors and production personnel.

Whilst this and the hand held camerawork cemented the style of ersatz reality, it didn't help to engage the audience.

The odd mix of scripted scenes involving actors and ad-libbed ones involving the public left viewers unsure whether they were watching a series of sub-Beadle's About style pranks or scripted fiction staged with uber-naturalism.

After one pilot and a BBC THREE series, the show was deemed an expensive flop.

Moving the characters around rock festivals and international protests to bring their message to the people wasn't a cheap endeavour (ironic for a show that was made to look ultra dingy).

Beetle, Frogger and Su

The central characters bickered and betrayed each other, as ego overtook their utopian ideologies, but while they scored highly on stupidity they lost marks on likeability.

The group bought their overwrought and naïve beliefs into practice by, among other things, opening a vegan restaurant, staging an anti-drug puppet show aimed at children and daubing a crucifix in excrement.

This last stunt, despite clearly mocking its perpetrators rather than Christianity, led to a number of complaints that were eventually upheld by the BBC governors.

This seemed to be the final nail in the coffin of a laudably ambitious series that had ultimately cost too much and not generated enough of a following to be recommissioned, but we can thank Cyderdelic for the emergence of Wooton as one of the most spontaneously brilliant character performers around.

Cast

Barry Castagnola
Beetle Smith
Marc Wootton
Su Long
Liam Woodman
Frogger
John Peel
performer

Crew

Marc Wootton
writer
Barry Castagnola
writer
Liam Woodman
writer
Becky Martin
director
Roger Pomphrey
director
Phil Bowker
producer
Karen Rosie
producer
Jon Plowman
executive producer

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