Saturday 11 April 2015

Back-from-the-dead Ringers

Dead Ringers is a Radio 4 institution - though it's one that seemed to die a natural death a few years ago, after the Blair-Brown government passed into history.

Its humour always combined something of the lightness of Blair [minus the wars] with the great clunking fist of Brown, so its revival a year ago seemed somewhat out-of-its-time.

Yet it still makes me chortle...sporadically. 

It's back again for the election. 

Alan at Biased BBC isn't a fan. His point - that the cruelest satire on this week's edition, including imputations of racism and wrongdoing, was directed at the Tories and UKIP - seems to me to be undeniably true.

Yes, Ed's a geek who talks in PR-speak, Leanne's a Welsh schoolgirl selfie-ing herself whilst appearing with the big party politicians, Nicola's a Scots nationalist forever bemoaning the fate of Robert the Bruce and Braveheart, Nick was 'tricked' into being a coalition deputy prime minister, and Natalie', there were no jokes about Natalie...but it's wicked Michael Fallon of the Tories (detailing his expenses claims for daring to be mean to Ed), David Cameron and UKIP candidates (and, oh, 'for balance', Tony Blair) who were made the butt of the most biting satire.

That's Radio 4 comedy for you. And it's the way things will always be, regardless of whether Labour or the Conservatives are heading the government. It's just the way things are. Praise be!

The impressions are (as Alan also says) not exactly lifelike for the most part. They haven't got any of the party leaders off to a tee - except for Ed Miliband, who is more Ed Miliband than Ed Miliband, so to speak.

Still, the UKIP candidates bit was quite funny (and made Nigel sound put-upon) and the Ed Miliband bit made me laugh out loud.
Tina, Radio 1 Newsbeat: So Ed, here's a boring politics question my producer wants me to ask: Since the leaders' debate, many have suggested that your excessive PR training has left you unable to conduct a normal conversation. Is this a fair accusation?
Ed Miliband: Well, look, Tina, I'm glad you asked me that. Look into camera. Erm...what I want to say to the people at home is, look, this election is a once in a lifetime choice - a choice between the haves and the have-nots, the nots and the not-nows, the nows and the that's-what-I-call-musics. And getting that message across to you guys at home is important. That's why my PR advisors told me to come on this show, to casually fling my jacket over my shoulder, put my hand in my pocket, look to camera and say, 'Hell, yeah'. 
Tina, Radio 1 Newsbeat: Yeah, yeah, great, whatever, but, erm, what our listeners really want to know is, do you like Sam Smith? 
Ed Miliband: Tina, I'm glad you asked me that. All I want to say to the people at home is I'm so cool I've even taken my tie off. You'll never guess what - I've got headphones on! Beats by Dr Dre. I've got my cap on backwards and the tops of my underpants are visible. I'm cool now. I even use curse words like 'hell' and 'gosh' and 'darn' and 'winkle'. 
Tina, Radio 1 Newsbeat: Great stuff, Ed. You've been banging on for absolutely ages without saying anything meaningful whatsoever. That reminds me, coming up at 6pm, Fearne Cotton. But just before you go, a couple of quick-fire questions, Ed. Cheese or biscuits?
Ed Miliband: Tina, I'm glad you asked me that. What I want to say to the people at home...
Tina, Radio 1 Newsbeat: Quick-fire, Ed. Cats or dogs?
Ed Miliband: Tina, I'm glad you asked me that. All I can say to the people at home...
Tina, Radio 1 Newsbeat: Just a quick one-word answer: Cars or bikes? 
Ed Miliband: Well, Tina, I'm glad you asked me that. What I want to...
Tina, Radio 1 Newsbeat: One word!
Ed Miliband: WellIdon'tknowwhatI'msupposedtobedoinganymore... But, look, I'm just an ordinary weirdo and I just know that as soon as I say something strange like 'Hobnob capitalist snorkel' that in ten seconds it will be some sort of internet sensation and everyone will be laughing at me.
But will they if you're PM, Ed? Will anyone be laughing then?


  1. You seem top have missed out the claims of paedophilia & bestiality levelled against three UKIP “candidates” Which I doubt is true or there would be criminal proceedings or at least an investigation and given the timing that “would” be common knowledge

  2. A good impressionist shows the tics and mannerisms, as well as highlights the cliches of the person being "taken off". On this showing, and in these terms; then it was a great success.
    How anybody can take Miliband seriously after hearing the impression is beyond me.
    So for that reason alone-well done Dead Ringers!


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