Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Those Radio Times: The Ronnie Corbett Thing (1970)

41 years ago this week, comedian Ronnie Corbett started a new radio series entitled The Ronnie Corbett Thing. Written by Eric Merriman the series featured what was described in the Radio Times as “knee to nose comedy” and also featured Hugh Paddick, Josephine Tewson and Doug Fisher with music from The Pattersons.

The Ronnie Corbett Thing began broadcasting on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday 27 September at 2.1pm with a repeat the following day (Monday 28 September) on BBC Radio 4 at 6.15pm.

“The series won’t do anything really different in the way of breaking new ground.” Ronnie told the Radio Times, “Eric Merriman who wrote Round the Horne and The Morecambe and Wise radio series is writing the scripts.”

Ronnie went on to describe the formula of The Ronnie Corbett Thing: “The shows will have a few quickies, different characters, a musical spot and then a big parody sketch. I just hope it’s going to be funny”. 

Radio 2 and 4 billings
from Radio Times
for the first show
“For a comic, radio is like working with your hands tied behind your back. I’ve been in the business 20 years and I’ve only done a couple of radio broadcasts before.”

Ronnie by now, was well known for his television appearances on David Frost’s shows with Ronnie Barker, although the pair was still over half a year away from taking the BBC TV schedules by storm by headlining their first TV series.

The Ronnie Corbett Thing would prove to be a brief fling with radio for Mr Corbett, with great TV success ahead for him and Mr Barker, future return visits to radio would be rare until Ronnie returned to Radio 4 some four decades later in the comedy sitcom When the Dog Dies with Liza Tarbuck.

I’m not aware that any episodes of The Ronnie Corbett Thing survived except of one which reappeared when the BBC had their Treasure Hunt appeal a few years back. If you do happen to have anything from the series I’d be very glad to hear from you so I could review an episode of the series for a future post.

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