What’s Funny About… with Peter Fincham and Jon Plowman

New to Radio 4 Extra, TV veterans Peter Fincham and Jon Plowman talk to the writers, producers, and performers behind Britain’s biggest TV comedy hits, and hear the inside story of how they brought their programmes to the screen. 

We’ll begin each week’s conversation by asking ourselves and our guests the same question: What’s Funny About… their show? 

In this first episode, Peter and Jon talk to Dawn French and Richard Curtis about their much-loved sitcom The Vicar of Dibley. They discuss how to make a fundamentally nice character funny, Richard’s curious appetite for writing quite so many weddings, and Dawn’s strangest ever Vicar of Dibley gig.

With Peter and Jon as our guides, we’ll take the opportunity to ask quite how they went about making a great bit of TV comedy? Who came up with it? How did it get written? 

  • Wednesday 13th May, 10:30pm

  • Radio 4 Extra

  • 1 of 6


The Queen’s Speeches: In Triumph & Tragedy

When the Queen speaks, the nation listens. This documentary will examine some of the most iconic addresses the Queen has given throughout her reign. At times of jubilation, during moments of national sorrow...and of course on each Christmas Day, the Queen speaks directly to us at moments that matter most. 

Royal experts and insiders provide the context of what has led to the Queen's speeches: from Britain entering the first Gulf War, to the deaths of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother - what prompted the monarch to take to the airwaves and reassure her subjects, and how did she manage it? And how does she capture the national mood? 

The Queen's speeches have been a constant for more than half a century, beginning with her solemn vow that her 'whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong,' right up to the present day, when the nation turned to her during the Coronavirus crisis. 

Mo Gilligan’s All Star Happy Hour

Join award-winning stand-up sensation Mo Gilligan and all-star celebrity guests for the happiest hour on television. Live from his very own home, Mo will present a joyful mix of high-energy comedy, music and one-of-a-kind games, as members of the public go head to head with famous faces in a quest to win amazing prizes. Accompanied by some surprising guests, Mo will also give his unique take on the week's TV and funniest clips and will be joined by some of the nation's favourite music acts performing their biggest hits in a brand new way. Mo will bring celebrity-filled fun and hilarious prize-winning games direct to the homes of the public as he seeks to deliver joy to the country.

  • Monday 11th May, 10pm

  • Channel 4

  • 2 of 4


Rich Kids Go Homeless

Rich Kid Jay, 24, works in finance, and has had a privileged upbringing. His grandfather has a net worth of £18 million and his father’s is £4 million.  Jay loves splashing his cash on flash cars and flash clothes. However, he’s giving this up to sleep rough in London. He thinks the homeless are lazy and dirty and wants to show that it’s easy to get off the streets.

As he’s being dropped off in Kings Cross, Jay’s nervous. But luckily, once he starts approaching people to ask for money, he’s given £20. Despite having enough for a cheap room, he decides to sleep out and double his money the next day.

Jay spends his money on arts and crafts and tries to sell puppets for money. He fails miserably. And before long, he meets 20 year old homeless Reece who has been on the streets for 8 months. Reece is a crack addict and begs to pay for his habit.

Reece shares a tragic story of sexual abuse which explains why he’s homeless. His revelation prompts Jay to reveal something similar about his own past.

Jay notes that Reece’s world revolves around drugs. And after a while Jay’s had enough of watching Reece and his fellow homeless drug addict friend Rachel lose themselves in a spiral of begging, scoring and smoking crack.

Before Jay leaves them, he accompanies Reece on a drugs run and watches how they take the drugs and the effect it has on them. He’s pleased to be going home but he is also concerned about Reece. Will Reece be on the streets like this for years? How can he pull himself out of his addiction?

Casualty 24/7

Barnsley Hospital’s Casualty Department regularly hits its four-hour patient treatment target.  If a patient isn’t treated, discharged or admitted within this window it’s known as a breach.  In charge is Sister Jane Hawksworth and it’s her job to keep the breaches to a minimum but adding to the pressure is a massive backlog of patients from the night shift.

Registrar Doctor Ashleigh Trimble takes the next call from paramedics.  81-year-old Roy is being blue lighted in, after falling over and landing badly on one of his artificial hips.  The team suspect that he may have dislocated his hip and he could also have multiple fractures.  If he does, he may need major reconstructive surgery, which will then involve lengthy rehabilitation.

The next emergency is seen by Consultant Doctor Sue Mason.  Whilst on her way to the bookies, 85-year-old Dorothy’s car skidded on some ice and ended up on its roof.  She has a nasty cut on her head that needs attending to.

The resus department is extremely busy and helping to look after patients is Junior Doctor George Beattie.  His next is 59-year-old Denise, who has tripped over while shopping.  Doctors suspect she has broken her ankle, but they need to straighten it before they can carry out an X-ray.  Denise is off on a cruise in six weeks’ time, so her trip could be in jeopardy.

Meanwhile Trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioner Chantelle Proctor is treating 21-year-old Dominic, who has a painful lump on his neck.  To make matters worse he’s due to start a new job as a trainee paramedic the next day.

And Volunteer Jane Allen is experiencing her own backlog - the department’s dishwasher has broken.  Faced with the task of washing up cups in the sink she also needs to locate a working plug.

  • Wednesday 13th May, 9pm

  • Channel 5

  • 7 of 20


Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back

Joe Lycett, the man responsible for making complaining funny, returns for a supersized new series of Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back as Britain’s customer service hero vows to continue to fight the good fight on behalf of the British public.  

Throughout the series, we’ll see Joe score victories for consumers everywhere as he battles rubbish council bin collections, settles scores against scammers, deals a blow to dodgy delivery companies and takes up the fight against corporate giants. Each week Joe will also be behind the Customer Service desk as he tackles viewers’ consumer problems, no matter how big or small.

New Scotland Yard Files

Cathy Marlow was originally from New Zealand but lived and worked in Vauxhall, London. Even though it was a Saturday, she was planning to catch up with some work and then meet a friend for lunch as she had just came back from a holiday. But when she didn’t turn up, her friend raised the alarm.

She’d been bludgeoned to death and strangled with her own scarf.

There were hours of CCTV recordings from the local area, but until they knew who they were looking for, that would not help.

  • Thursday 14th May, 10pm

  • CBS Reality

  • 10 of 10


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