Editor's note: Producer Julia McKenzie gives us a behind the scenes look at recording Alex Horne Presents The Horne Section: Edinburgh Special - listen to the programme on Sunday at 19.15 - CM
Alex Horne at the Edinburgh Fringe
The Horne Section have become a must-see act at the Fringe as there's no one really doing anything like them, and they are brilliant at what they do. I saw them performing a preview show in a tiny venue in Camden, London before their first Edinburgh a couple of years back and loved the combination of Alex Horne and his five piece band.
Alex isn't especially musical and tries to operate the band as though they are a rather cumbersome piece of technology whereas they are in fact superb, very tight musicians and the end result is an alchemy that only their long-standing friendship, patience and trust makes possible.
Our first series for Radio 4 aired earlier this year and as we're between series it's been great to have this opportunity to do a one-off up in Edinburgh. We recorded the show in the special BBC compound at Potterow where all sorts of performances and masterclasses have been happening during the festival.
Although it is generally rather hectic and everyone looks more ill as the month progresses the key advantage of doing a radio show at the fringe is that everyone is in the same place, so it's easy to meet up and rehearse, and there are also plenty of comedians held captive there which makes guest booking a bit easier. We were thrilled to have Al Murray and Tim Key agree to be guests in this show - they are both performers who have won Edinburgh comedy awards in their own right, and also sell out their own shows consistently.
Al Murray appears as a guest
As is traditional with most artists who have been hoofing the stage night after night, often in more than one show, and not eating anything green for the entire month of August, all of the band seemed to go down with a sore throat and a cough - so that was a bit of a worry when we had to do a run-through with most of them rasping and hacking away.
Dramatically there was even more of a scare when Alex had a really quite serious accident a couple of days before the show which involved another comedian who shall remain nameless (but there might be a clue in this blog) and some rum. The drinking of the rum was not the problem. Paramedics were involved and the group had to cancel one of their own Horne Section gigs in order for Alex to recover. But Nurse Showbizz nursed him back into the limelight and he made an excellent return to form and the radio show went ahead as planned with no further mishaps, and you can hear the results here.
We do have one other surprise appearance in the show who I have not listed and you'll need to listen to the end to see who. Sadly only those in the audience on the night will have seen whether he wore any underwear, and yes that really happened, if you were there.
Julia McKenzie is the producer of Alex Horne Presents The Horne Section on Radio 4.