- Down the Line (radio series)
Down the Line
Cover of audio recording of Down the Line
Genre Spoof phone-in show Running time 30 minutes Country United Kingdom Languages English Home station BBC Radio 4 TV adaptations Bellamy's People Hosts "Gary Bellamy" (Rhys Thomas) Starring Amelia Bullmore, Simon Day, Felix Dexter, Charlie Higson, Lucy Montgomery, Paul Whitehouse and Rhys Thomas Writers Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse Producers Charlie Higson, Paul Whitehouse Air dates May 2006 to 15 March 2011 No. of series 4 No. of episodes 27 Website Down the Line homepage
Down the Line is a British radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4, which satirises populist radio phone-in shows. The show is written and performed in a style of heightened realism, as was BBC Radio 4's Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge (a spoof chat show with fictional guests). Down The Line is hosted by "Gary Bellamy" (Rhys Thomas).
Down The Line was first broadcast in May 2006, and led to many complaints from listeners who apparently failed to spot it was a spoof, generating considerable publicity for the programme. It was subsequently revealed that the show is written and performed by several familiar figures in British comedy, including Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson.
Regular 'callers' include:
- Christopher Nibbs from Pevensey Bay; a jokey character who refers to himself as 'Nibbsy' or 'The Nibbster'. Bellamy finds him amusing.
- Khalid, who only repeats topics of the show followed by the phrase 'what is point?' and responds to any subsequent remarks by Gary with the same question. Bellamy's attitude changes towards him as the series progresses.
- The Pearly King, a cheery cockney who talks about the 'pearly way'.
- Humphrey Milner, an elderly gentleman who uses endless examples to illustrate his point.
- Graham Downs, a morbidly obese man who has a sinus problem and is an archetypal loser. Often says he would "really like to get married".
- Chuck Perry, who laughs continuously and maniacally at his own feeble jokes.
- The military man, who responds to every topic stating that he is from a military background and that he would drive a van packed with explosives into the "issue" be it education or global warming.
- Early D begins his calls speaking with a very 'street' sounding MLE dialect which gradually morphs to a thick barely decipherable Jamaican accent. Bellamy never seems to notice.
Recording for the third series commenced on Monday 12 November 2007 and began broadcasting on 10 January 2008.
A television spinoff on BBC Two was announced on 2 April 2009. in which Gary Bellamy goes to the streets of the UK to meet 'real' people and get their opinions on a wide range of topics. The series is entitled Bellamy's People and was inspired by "all the television series of ‘famous people exploring Britain' that have been made over the last few years". The series features improvisation by the cast.
# Subject Original airdate 1 "Freedom of speech" May 2, 2006 The episode discusses whether free speech is acceptable or not as it may offend. However, there are a large number of callers that discuss parking restrictions in their town instead. 2 "Religion and the decline in Anglican congregations" May 9, 2006 The episode discusses whether God is real or not and what is acceptable to say about religion. It also asks the viewers for the name of a new primary colour found by Koreans. 3 "Animals at war" May 16, 2006 4 "Crime" May 23, 2006 5 "Healthy eating" May 30, 2006 6 "Equality and why men won't go to the doctors" June 6, 2006
A second series started on 16 January 2007 for another 6-week run until the 20 February 2007. "Guests" this series include characters played by: Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Lucy Montgomery, Amelia Bullmore, Matt Lucas, Felix Dexter, Mark Gatiss, Catherine Tate, Arabella Weir, Robert Popper, Louis Vause, Simon Godley, Phoebe Higson, Sam Ward, Dave Cummings, and Fiona Whitehouse.
# Subject Original airdate 1 "War and Chocolate" January 16, 2007 2 "Bullying and Property Sales" January 23, 2007 3 "Immigration and Love" January 30, 2007 4 "Plastic Surgery and Natural Disasters" February 6, 2007 5 "Global Warming" February 13, 2007 6 "Education and Ghosts" February 20, 2007
Series 3 of Down The Line started its run on Thursday, 10 January 2008, according to trailers broadcast in the preceding weeks. One trail referred to the show as "DTL", spoofing BBC radio's tendency to call long-running programmes by their acronyms (as in 'FOOC' - From Our Own Correspondent, "TWAO" - The World At One, etc.). "Guests" this series included characters played by: Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Lucy Montgomery, Amelia Bullmore, Simon Day and Felix Dexter.
# Subject Original airdate 1 "Liberal Agenda of Media and What shall we call a new planet?" January 10, 2008 2 "String Theory and Popular Science Fiction" January 17, 2008 3 "Communications and Technology" January 24, 2008 4 "The Elderly, Consumer Rights and The Countryside" January 31, 2008 5 "Olympics and Can we Trust the Media?" February 7, 2008 6 "Bad Manners and Modern Liberal Parenting" July 14, 2008
Recording for a fourth series of Down The Line commenced in January 2011. "Guests" this series include characters played by: Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Lucy Montgomery, Amelia Bullmore, Felix Dexter, Arabella Weir, Robert Popper, Adil Ray, Rosie Cavaliero, the actor Kevin Eldon, Lee Mack, Louis Vause, Dave Cummings, and Fiona Whitehouse. The seven episode series commenced broadcast on Tuesday 15th March 2011 at 6.30pm.
# Subject Original airdate 1 "Episode One" March 15, 2011 2 "Episode Two" March 22, 2011 3 "Episode Three" March 29, 2011 4 "Episode Four" April 5, 2011 5 "Episode Five" April 12, 2011 6 "Episode Six" April 19, 2011 7 "Episode Seven" April 26, 2011
One Off Editions
# Subject Original airdate 1 "Tony Blair Departure Special" June 27, 2007 2 "Credit Crunch Special" April 21, 2009
- ^ Holmwood, Leigh (2 April 2009). "Radio 4 spoof phone-in featuring Fast Show duo to move to BBC2". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/apr/02/down-the-line-bbc2. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- ^ Horn, Caroline (30 July 2009). "Charlie Higson interview". The Bookseller. http://www.thebookseller.com/books/author-profiles/92949-charlie-higson.html. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
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