The Frequency of Laughter is a six-part history of radio comedy, covering 1975-2005, presented by journalist and radio fan Grace Dent. In each episode she brings together two figures who were making significant radio comedy at the same time, and asks them about their experiences. This is a conversational history that focuses on the people who were there and the atmosphere within the BBC and the wider comedy world that allowed them to make great radio - or not.

This second edition features Angus Deayton and Michael Knowles looking at radio comedy in the early 1980s. Angus had been given a writer's contract by the BBC Light Entertainment Radio (as it was then) in 1980, and used the time he was afforded by that to co-create the sketch show Radio Active, in which he wrote and performed. Michael however came to radio from television; having acted in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, he was asked to adapt Dad's Army for radio in the 1970s, which he did to great success, and in 1983 he and Harold Snoad wrote the sitcom It Stick Out Half A Mile, a sort of Dad's Army sequel. Grace asks them about the atmosphere within the Radio Comedy department and within the BBC, and how they might circumvent rules on taste and decency; they share their memories of former Heads of Light Entertainment Radio (as it was then called) Bobby Jaye and Martin Fisher; and they talk about how the alternative comedy movement bypassed radio and went straight to TV - and how it felt to be left behind.

The Frequency of Laughter is presented by Grace Dent, a journalist for The Independent, and is a BBC Radio Comedy production.

Presenter ... Grace Dent
Guest ... Angus Deayton
Guest ... Michael Knowles
Interviewee ... Martin Fisher
Interviewee ... Peter Richardson

Producers ... Ed Morrish & Alexandra Smith.

Release date:

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Wed 21 Sep 2016 01:30

Archive Clips Featured in Episode 2: 1980-1985

Radio Active - Devised by Richard Curtis, Angus Deayton and Geoffrey Perkins.

It Sticks Out Half A Mile – Written by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles.

Dad’s Army - Written by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles.

Dad’s Army - Written by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles.

Radio Active – Devised by Richard Curtis, Angus Deayton and Geoffrey Perkins.

The Arthur Askey Variety Show – Scripted by Tony Hare and produced by Richard Willcox.

Radio Active - Devised by Richard Curtis, Angus Deayton and Geoffrey Perkins.

It’s Your Round – Written by Angus Deayton, Paul Powell and Benjamin Partridge.

Comedy Clips

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A selection of clips from recent and upcoming comedy programmes.