Blue Jam

"Blue Jam" was an ambient radio comedy programme produced by Chris Morris. It aired on BBC Radio 1 in the early hours of the morning from 1997 to 1999.

The programme gained cult status due to its unique mix of surreal monologue, music, synthesised voices, heavily edited broadcasts and recurring sketches. It featured the vocal talents of Kevin Eldon, Julia Davis, Mark Heap, David Cann and Amelia Bullmore. Morris himself delivered disturbing monologues, one of which was revamped and made into the BAFTA-winning short film, "My Wrongs 8245 - 8249 and 117".

Writers who contributed to the programme included Graham Linehan, Arthur Mathews, Peter Baynham, David Quantick, Jane Bussmann, Robert Katz and the cast.

Chris Morris is known for pushing the limits of what is acceptable for the media, as is illustrated by an incident surrounding the sixth episode of "Blue Jam", named after the sketch which precipitated it, "Bishopslips".

Bishopslips controversy

In a sketch commencing approximately thirteen minutes into the sixth episode of the first series of "Blue Jam", Morris re-edited the Archbishop of Canterbury's speech at Diana, Princess of Wales's funeral to make it appear that he was making inappropriate comments regarding AIDS and the British Royal Family. The broadcast of this episode was faded into the first episode in the middle of the edited speech, which was "broadcast almost in its entirety before being faded by a transmission engineer" [http://peteashton.com/002310.html] . It is unknown who ordered this, either a BBC employee receiving complaints (before the sketch had ended?), or Chris Morris himself as a stunt. The same episode was later rebroadcast as the first episode of the second series, with "Bishopslips" omitted.

In "The Nation's Favourite," a book by Simon Garfield chronicling the transformation of Radio 1 under Matthew Bannister, one sequence describes a meeting in which the difficulties surrounding the management of Chris Morris were made clear. Morris had begun deliberately leaving the delivery of the show masters as late as possible - often so late that there was not sufficient time to play through the show before broadcast to check for libel or obscenity. As a result it is likely that compliance was enforced in real-time and a manager was on-hand to order the fading down of the Bishopslips sketch without any complaints being received.

However this contradicts claims that Bishopslips was included as a deliberate compromise by Morris, who submitted a wildly libellous and offensive sketch called "Christ's Cock and Balls" in which a doctor prescribes Christ's genitalia to a patient suffering from a minor ailment after discovering them shat out by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This latter sketch was made available by Warp Records [http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:uTr7gCnnNU8J:old.playlouder.com/news/%2Bnews1073/+%22blue+jam%22+%22cock+and+balls%22] but is no longer present on their site.

Derivative shows

Blue Jam was later made for television and broadcast on Channel 4 as "Jam". It utilised unusual editing techniques to achieve an unnerving ambience in keeping with the radio show, and largely repeated the radio sketches. A subsequent "re-mixed" airing, called "Jaaaaam" was even more extreme in its use of post-production gadgetry, often heavily distorting the footage.

In place of closing credits the show had the website address of jamcredits.com [http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/J/jam/credits_ie.html]

Blue Jam CD

A CD of some of the best "Blue Jam" sketches was released on 23 October 2000. Although the CD claims to have 22 tracks, the last one, "www.bishopslips.com," is a reference to the "Bishopslips" sketch. Most of the sketches on the CD were remade for "Jam".

CD tracks

# Blue Jam Intro
# Doc Phone
# Lamacq sting
# 4ft Car
# Suicide Journalist
# Acupuncture
# Bad Sex
# Mayo Sting
# Unflustered Parents
# Moyles Sting
# TV Lizards
# Doc Cock
# Hobbs Sting
# Morton interview
# Fix It Girl
# Porn
# Kids Party
# Club News
# Whiley Sting
# Little Girl Balls
# Blue Jam Outro
# www.bishopslips.com (Not a real track)

External links

* [http://www.angelfire.com/id/bjsg/mainindex.html Blue Jam Sketch Guide] : details of the shows, some sound files.
* [http://www.thejim.iofm.net/bluejam.html It Started In The Park] : transcripts of every episode of the first two series of Blue Jam.
* [http://www.detour.freeserve.co.uk The Felchspoon] : transcripts of every episode of the third series of Blue Jam.
* [http://cabinessence.cream.org/ Jam Festival] : audio files of every episode of Blue Jam.
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/bluejam/ Blue Jam] on the BBC website.


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