The Larks Ascending is a complete guide to comedy, humour and downright amusing oddness on BBC Radio 3, from Kenneth Williams’ archival documentaries about strolling players who never existed, through Rowan Atkinson’s academic profiles of public figures who never existed, right up to Armando Iannucci’s interval talks about composers who did exist, but they’re fitting around him and his using his ears whether they like it or not.
There’s Chris Morris interviewing Peter Cook (and inevitably getting into trouble), BBC Radiophonic Workshop hi-jinks, the first ever proper staging of Joe Orton’s unused film script for The Beatles, some sitcoms that definitely wouldn’t appeal to viewers waiting for Coronation Street, satire, silliness, and a couple of plays about cricket. And if that’s just not highbrow enough for you, then you could always enrol at The Half-Open University…
Featuring in-depth looks at little-known and little-heard works by Peter Cook, Sue Townsend, Ivor Cutler, Kenneth Williams, N.F. Simpson, Peter Tinniswood, Chris Morris, Armando Iannucci, Malcolm Bradbury, John Sessions, Joe Orton, David Renwick And Andrew Marshall, Rowan Atkinson, The National Theatre Of Brent, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop and more – plus an interview with prolific Radio 3 contributor Toby Hadoke and a feature on Peter Cook’s antics at The Secret Policeman’s Ball – The Larks Ascending is the full history of silliness and satire on the channel that Dr. Hans Keller called a ‘daytime music station’. Priced at just a few pence*!
(*Please direct all complaints about actual price to Peter Weevil and John Throgmorton, Polyphonica Neasdeniensis)
“A really readable book which tackles what surely must be one of the darker and less explored corners of the BBC’s output” – Paul Abbott, We Are Cult
You can read an extract from The Larks Ascending here.
You can hear me talking about The Larks Ascending and some of the shows featured in this special edition of Looks Unfamiliar; download it here or listen to it below…
© Tim Worthington.
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