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28 October 2014

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Old Harry's Game

Andy Hamilton, Steve O'Donnell in Old Harry's Game

Most people in comedy are there to make a point about something. Andy Hamilton wanted to find a way to discuss the nature of mankind, and did it through the best observer there was: Satan.

Starring Hamilton himself as the Devil, Old Harry's Game takes place in Hell, where the Devil reigns over his minions, including the Professor, an idealistic man who died in a car crash, yet ended up in Hell despite his idealism because he's an atheist.

Each episode begins with a posit by the Devil over the awfulness of mankind and his vile nature, whereupon the Professor, keen to see the good in people, denies this.

The Devil then sets out, usually with the help of his assistants Scumspawn and Gary, to show the Professor the truth, often using the man who caused the Professor's death, corrupt wastrel Thomas.

Both are usually correct: the Devil shocks the Professor with revelations about the Professor's wife, with adventures in past and present including conversations with the Emperor Nero and witnessing murder and exploitation - but the Professor usually finds something to feel positive about in the end.

After a couple of series set primarily in Hell, the Devil character begins to evolve. By series five, broadcast in 2005, the Devil decides to move up to earth since it's too crowded in Hell, and try to stop the flow of sinners.

Nothing he does, however, in the world of Sport, Politics or Media, seems to do any good.

Old Harry's Game reveals Andy Hamilton's dry, caustic wit to perfect effect, with Grout and Mulville, as well as other Hamilton regulars Nick Revell, Colin Bostock-Smith and David Swift (as God) making appearances.

After years principally as a writer, the show brought Hamilton back to the comedy stage he began on.

Old Harry's Game is a dominating force in the extremely competitive 6:30 slot on Radio 4, a perennial favourite with listeners there and on BBC7, where the show can now be found.


Andy Hamilton
Annette Crosbie
Robert Duncan
Jimmy Mulville
David Swift
James Grout
Professor Richard Whittingham
Steve O'Donnell
Michael Fenton Stevens
Philip Pope
Felicity Montagu
Geoffrey Whitehead
Hugh Dennis
Tony Maudsley
Nick Revell


Andy Hamilton
Andy Hamilton
Paul Mayhew-Archer

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