Saturday, August 28, 2010

Edinburgh Fringe: Now I Know my BBC - Toby Hadoke

As you'll know if you read my review of Toby Hadoke's Moths ate my Doctor Who scarf, that show inspired me to see his new production, Now I know my BBC.

This was an eloquent and incredibly funny look back at the television shows of my youth. I had thought that it would be a bit of a challenge to the BBC to buck up its ideas. But no, actually, his main point was that we need to appreciate the uniqueness of the BBC, how its public funding means that it has the potential to be properly creative, to not be scared about offending potential advertisers like commercial television. He talked about how it was perfectly entitled to get things wrong - and just because we paid for it didn't mean we had to like every single thing it produced. His thinking had a strong liberal thread running through it, which obviously appealed to me.

This message was delivered within a beautifully crafted hour long journey, taking you from Grange Hill to the Clangers to the Generation Game, Newsround, a very brief mention of Doctor Who, Points of View, Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective, and beyond, with each being described, for the younger members of the audience, as being like Hollyoaks but....... His description of Howards' Way, and particularly his preoccupation with the apostrophe being in the right place legitimises my own attention to detail on that subject.

I can't say I've thought much about Larry Grayson since I was about Anna's age and it was only last night that the penny finally dropped for me about the significance of his friend Everard's name.

Anyway, all of this was interspersed with anecdotes from his childhood,  joking about how he was bullied at school and about his life as the youngest sibling in a house where there wasn't a huge amount of money. The show ended with a surprising twist which I won't spoil for you, but, like Moths ate my Doctor Who scarf, was very heartwarming and incredibly sensitively done.

Unlike Moths, which was delivered in a spacious auditorium at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, this show took place in a small room in the Underbelly to a much smaller audience.  He was able to command the big stage and cope with the intimacy of the smaller set up, reading the audience very well.

One thing about this show, though, is that, having never seen an episode of Hollyoaks in my life, I now feel almost obliged to watch one. This is not necessarily a good thing but I am absolutely certain that this is a function of the quirky way my mind works and wasn't Toby Hadoke's intention.

It takes someone very talented to be able to deliver a show which makes you laugh, a lot, almost till you cry, encourages you to think and makes you feel all at the same time. It's clear to me that the BBC should give him his own show as soon as possible.

1 comment:

Keith Legg said...

Don't know quite how he explained it, but I always thought the apostrophe was in the correct place in "Howard's Way". The central character of the series was, as I recall, Tom Howard, and as the series centred around him then the singluar version would be correct.

Reading this, I don't know what's more sad - the fact I'm debating an apostrophe in a 1980s TV series title, or the fact I remember the main character so well!


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