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Journalist Grace Dent interviews Richard Herring and Sarah Smith about their experiences of making radio comedy in the early 1990s.

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 fourth edition features Richard Herring and Sarah Smith looking at radio comedy in the early 1990s, when they were both starting out in - Sarah was the producer who gave Richard his first commission. And while Richard and his double-act partner Stewart Lee made names for themselves as writers and performers, writing for On The Hour as well as their own shows such as Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World and Lee & Herring's Fist of Fun, Sarah was forging a reputation as one of the most talented producers around, not only working on Lee & Herring's output but also The League of Gentlemen and The Harpoon. Grace asks them about the atmosphere within the Radio Comedy department and the creative collaboration within it; they share their memories of former Head of Light Entertainment Radio (as it was then called) Jonathan James-Moore; and they talk about their time working on Week Ending, Radio 4's flagship topical sketch show which ran from 1970-1998.

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 ... Richard Herring
Guest ... Sarah Smith
Interviewee ... Armando Iannucci
Interviewee ... Diane Messias

Producers ... Ed Morrish & Alexandra Smith.

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30 minutes

Archive Clips Featured in Episode 4: 1990-1995

Just a Minute - Devised by Ian Messiter.

Silver Minutes - Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd, Just a Minute Silver Minutes. Edition: 3rd August 1992.

The Harpoon Christmas Special 1991 - Written by Julian Dutton and Peter Baynham.

On The Hour - Produced by BBC Radio Comedy.

On The Hour - Produced by BBC Radio Comedy.

League of Gentlemen - Written by Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.

Week Ending – Devised by Simon Brett and David Hatch.

Week Ending – Devised by Simon Brett and David Hatch.

Lee and Herring’s Fist of Fun – Written by Stewart Lee and Richard Herring.

Lee and Herring’s Fist of Fun – Written by Stewart Lee and Richard Herring.

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