Fun At One - The Shows I Couldn't Find...

If you've been reading Fun At One, you'll know that there's a lot of fascinating stuff in Radio 1's Comedy Back Catalogue. A lot of it was available during research, some - notably Chris Morris' 1990 debut on the station - was smoked out as a result of the book being published, and some... well it's just as elusive as ever. Here are ten shows that could do with turning up - some of which aren't even in the BBC Sound Archive - so if you know where to get hold of any of them, please give me a shout...

The Baron

Other than a very brief clip of him startling commuters with a portable record player, absolutely nothing has turned up of Radio 1's original camera-shy anarchist of the airwaves.

Star Special - Michael Palin

In the late seventies and early eighties, Radio 1 gave over the post-Top Forty slot on Sunday evenings to celebrities acting as DJs, including David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Neil Innes, Billy Connolly, Clare Grogan, Jasper Carrott, Sparks, Mickey Dolenz, Ian Dury, Debbie Harry, Chas & Dave and countless others. Most of them are out there, but not the appearance by a Ripping Yarns/Life Of Brian-era Palin. You might also want to keep an eye out for him talking about Monty Python: The Case Against on a certain magazine show we'll be hearing quite a lot about in the next couple of entries...

Marvin The Paranoid Android on Studio B15

As part of promotion for The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Marvin The Paranoid Android took part in a phone-in on Radio 1's magazine show Studio B15, with his responses written by Douglas Adams - who also later appeared on Studio B15's& successor Saturday Live to give a similarly elusive plug for The Meaning Of Liff. And that's not the last we'll be hearing about Studio B15...


Long before hitting the big time, Stephen Fry contributed a regular parody of Radio 1's Newsbeat to Studio B15, which came to an abrupt end when he turned in a parody of jingoistic Falklands War coverage. BBC Bias in action, there. Though even that wasn't his first appearance - Studio B15 also ran a feature on Fry and Laurie around the time of The Cellar Tapes.

Not The Nuptials

More than likely the least reverential part of the BBC's Royal Wedding coverage - a one-off Radio 1 special by the Not The Nine O'Clock News gang. They also showed up loads of times in various combinations on Roundtable and especially on Studio B15, notably reading out Griff and Pam's 'Valentine Poems' and a behind-the-scenes feature on the making of Series Three. Surprisingly for a show with such an enduringly obsessive fanbase, none of this seems to be out there.


The most media-friendly of The Young Ones was all over the BBC at the height of the show's popularity, most notably guesting on Lenny Henry's Radio 1 show, where he attempted to persuade the host to play an Incredible String Band record. neil was also a guest on countless editions of Roundtable and Saturday Live, showing up on the latter on one occasion with 'Mike' in tow; possibly the only in-character promotional appearance Christopher Ryan ever did. Incidentally, Dawn French and Ade Edmondson, amongst others, also showed up on Lenny's show.

Punt And Dennis - Follow That Star!

When The Mary Whitehouse Experience became a hit, there were numerous attempts to get the cast involved in the more general day to day happenings on Radio 1, including this serialised retelling of the Nativity for Simon Mayo's Breakfast Show in 1989. Unlike just about everything else under the Mary Whitehouse Experience banner, this has never resurfaced anywhere.

The Borderline

A one-off 1991 pilot for a Friday Night variety show recorded at the venue of the same name, hosted by Lenny Henry and with material written by a very young Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews; so obscure that the writers didn't even know it had gone out. Then there's also the dance music shows guest-hosted by Delbert Wilkins, which few heard due to them going out over New Year. And Tracey Ullman briefly had a show too, which there's scant evidence of out there.

Manchester - So Much To Answer For

Not quite his Radio 1 debut - he'd produced and presented Saturday Live for a spell - but Mark Radcliffe's association with the station really began with this idiosyncratic 1990 documentary about the 'Madchester' music scene. Also rather difficult to find is Lard's 1993 series Glitter And Twisted, a comic Glam Rock retrospective presented by Noddy Holder, as indeed is anything of the variously Mark Radcliffe/Mark Kermode-hosted arts show The Guest List.

Radio Fab FM

A couple of hours before The End Of An Era went out on BBC1, Mike Smash and Dave Nice took over Radio 1 for the afternoon. No prizes for guessing what got played.

So if you know where to get hold of any of the above, please get in touch. Or indeed if you know where to get hold of Jake Thackray presenting My Kind Of Folk, or all three of The Goodies on Roundtable, or Spinal Tap on Saturday Live, or Andy Partridge's 'Agony Andy' segments for Janice Long's show, or the Cult Film Corner on Holiday On The Buses, or complete editions of Walters' Weekly, or Radio 1's 'Easy Night' with Kevin Greening, Jo Whiley and Graham Norton, or...

Fun At One - The Story Of Comedy At BBC Radio 1 is available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.