Friday, 03 February 2017

Radio Review: 3 February

Peter Cook is on the iPlayer as Dermot O’Leary signs off

Written by Louis Barfe
With Dermot O’Leary having given up his Saturday afternoon Radio 2 show after 12 years, the sensible thing to do, at least in the interim, would be to give it to Janice Long orLouis-Barfe-colour-176 Alex Lester. Both know their music, so they’d fit in with the interviews and sessions seamlessly. That would be too sensible, though, so for the time being, Jo Whiley’s taking over, ontop of her usual weeknight shows. Dermot went out on a high, with the magic numbers in session and a guesting Danny Baker explaining that one of the volumes of his autobiography nearly had the title a Pith Helmet Full Of Saveloys.

Of course, not everything has to be sensible. If it did, we’d have been deprived of Why Bother?, repeated last week on BBC Radio 4 extra (available on iPlayer). Originally transmitted in 1994, the series features Peter Cook as Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling, being interviewed about his long, strange life by Chris Morris, at the time riding high on the success of The Day Today and one of the few humorists of any generation who could have kept up with Cook.

Streeb-Greebling discussed his connections to Betty Grable, his involvement in the Los Angeles riots ‘mediating’ between the police and Rodney King (‘I tried to mediate by saying, “There he is, officer”’), his father’s decision to have the young Sir Arthur raised in prison by ‘hardened murderers’ and his plan to clone Christ from fossilised remains, financed by Honda. It’s a glorious if sometimes dark ramble through one of the finest comic minds there’s ever been, and it’s clear that morris pushed and inspired Cook throughout the sessions. Cook always had a superb ability to turn clichés on their head, and that’s much in evidence here. ‘It was all a long time ago,’ said Sir Arthur, ‘and my memory of it is very detailed.’

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: 

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