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22 July 2014
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  • Comedy
  • Newman and Baddiel in Pieces

Newman and Baddiel in Pieces

Rob Newman and David Baddiel

Having first met in Cambridge in the mid 1980s, David Baddiel and Rob Newman bumped into each other again when they both began writing for BBC Radio Four's Week Ending.

Agreeing to work together, they became a writing/performing partnership, and came to fame as the fashionable duo on Radio One, and then BBC TWO's, The Mary Whitehouse Experience.

Following that show's conclusion, they found themselves unlikely pin-ups as, in the early 1990s, comedy was being feted as "the new rock and roll". Their own series was inevitable.

Newman and Baddiel in Pieces was a mixture of sketch and stand-up, which revealed the double-act's partnership as an uneasy marriage of convenience.

In practice, the duo rarely wrote together, and most of their items in the show were delivered from separate sets. To give proceedings some cohesion, each edition was given an overall theme - night thoughts in episode one, to lust in episode six.

Recurring sketches included Newman's predatory, smoking jacketed Jarvis who spouted deliciously rude double entendres ("Now I don't want to come over all Prince Charles... oh God!"); Safety First - Baddiel playing sadistic safety officer Brian Coat ("Now, there was no need for that to happen"); and History Today, featuring the duelling elderly academics who spouted infantile insults at each other - characters who'd first appeared on The Mary Whitehouse Experience.

Self consciously pretentious - the show's title sequence aped Edvard Munch's The Scream - the tone was often dark and moody. Baddiel and Newman, it seemed, were determined to show their maturity and literacy as performers. Alas, it left many critics cold.

In December 1993, the duo became the first comedians to play Wembley (with regular In Pieces contributor Sean Lock as their support). Shortly afterwards, they announced they were going their separate ways.

Cast

Rob Newman
performer
David Baddiel
performer

Crew

Rob Newman
writer
David Baddiel
writer
Barbara Jones
director
Harry Thompson
producer

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