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Understanding Radio Comedy

nicoleponsford | Wednesday September 28, 2011

Categories: GCSE, OCR GCSE, Hot Entries, Radio, Radio Comedy


Although TV Comedy is a favourite, many of our top shows started on the radio: Little Britain, Harry Hill’s Fruit Corner and Goodness Gracious Me. It also brings in a range of genres like sketch shows, quiz shows, sit-coms and one-liners with writer-performers like Milton Jones or Miranda Hart. It can be surreal like The Mighty Boosh or traditional like I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.

Students will need to research this and create their own study of the topic. They will need to have knowledge of the range of genre and will need to prepare at least two different texts. I would recommend they learn two alternative texts for each of the two questions. They also need to discuss programmes broadcast at least two different stations to gain above a Level 2. It is also better if they discuss two contrasting radio comedy programmes and illustrate how they reflect different institutional contexts. The better answers will detail how the texts represent the key concepts in regards to the question. Poor answers will discuss the text only or the institution. Therefore students need to be able to link the key concepts with textual/ evidence. They also need to be able to discuss how channels use stripped / scheduling to reach audiences.

Radio Comedy History

Radio was on comedy in the start as there was only radio. Before that entertainment was found in music halls or in the theatre. The working class went to the former and the upperclass the later. Radio helped to bring the classes together.

The BBCs Band Waggon established a new formula of music and comedy sketches in 1938. Some see this as the birth of the sit-com.

The war time show starred “Big Hearted Arthur? Askey, the working class chap who lived at the top of the BBC in a flat with the posh, upper class Richard “Stinker? Murdoch. At this point the BBC were very traditional and even had a Little Green Book, which told writers and producers what words and themes they could...

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