What were you doing exactly 10 years ago? Too long ago to remember? Well, if you were tuned into Radio 4 you may very well have been experiencing The Mighty Boosh’s first foray into broadcast media.
This month marks the tenth anniversary of The Boosh – the first radio series from what became known as The Mighty Boosh. Written and performed by Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding and Rich Fulcher, and also featuring Richard Ayoade, Dave Brown and Lee Mack, the award-winning show was produced by Danny Wallace and first broadcast on BBC London Live on October 16th 2001, later transferring to BBC Radio 4 and BBC 7.
It consisted of six fantasy adventure-based episodes: Stolen, Jungle, Jazz, Mutants, Tundra and Hitcher. Whilst there are areas of overlap between the radio series and series 1 of the TV show, there’s plenty to distinguish it and make it worthy of every Boosh fan’s attention.
To mark this auspicious occasion, here’s a round-up of some of our favourite moments. We’d love to know yours too….
Like many people, my introduction to the Boosh radio series came via the TV show. In a way I wish I’d been able to experience the radio series without already knowing what the world of Boosh looked like. The soundscape creates incredible images in your head, but it’s impossible to see it differently to how the TV series presented it. I’d love to know what this sound-generated world would have looked like without having seen it on TV.
There are so many brilliant moments it’s hard to pick one. What’s more, each time you listen to it you hear something new. However, there’s one moment that makes me laugh out loud every time, although as with all the best bits of Boosh it’s hard to know why. My favourite moment takes place in ‘Jungle’ with the sudden appearance of Richard Ayoade as Tommy Nookah. His rat-tat-tat of instructions to Howard only last for a few seconds but the line “Let us whistle…STOP! The time for whistling is passed” kills me every time.
My first introduction to the Boosh was through the radio series. My son had it and I kept hearing bits, especially the songs and something about it was very intriguing. When I started listening to the series, I was convinced I’d heard Julian Barratt’s voice before but couldn’t work out where. It was ages before I realised it was from Dark Place. My favourite moment is from almost at the end of Hitcher, when Bob Fossil sings ‘The Fossil Rap’, anyone who can rhyme ‘fossil’ with ‘colossal’ is uniquely talented! Bob is being the hero for once, actually rescuing the lads. The other feature of the radio series that I noticed is that Bob is the first to speak in the first episode and the last to speak in the final episode.
If there is one moment that sticks out in my mind, it is when I sat on my dire economy flight one summer and decided to play the Boosh radio series on my iPod.
We’ve all had that moment when you laugh out loud to yourself alone in public and you know that everyone around you is looking around wondering what you’re on. On this particular moment however, during Tundra where Vince decides to sing a song about Howard in his honour after he vanishes and cries out ‘SHOOT YA FACE OFF’, I uncontrollably cackled out loud, choking on my Orange Juice and causing the steward to come over and ask me if I was okay in worry. That moment still puts a smile to my face just thinking about it!
You might think there’s some hilarious conclusion to this anecdote – maybe I told the steward what I was listening to and she burst out into a crimp… I wish. There’s just a rare few things that can cause a scene like that and the radio series really is that one thing you can have both in the background while you’re cleaning or just stick-on before you nod off in bed, listen to over and over again and never tire of it.
As with The Mighty Boosh, my first introduction to the Boosh radio series was the episode Mutants. Though I went in expecting an audio version of the TV episode, I was delightedly incorrect and thus introduced to the fantastical world of radio Boosh. The general Mutants storyline has always been a personal favourite of mine in the Boosh as a result, and it’s the episode I’m most apt to throw on if I’m ever in the mood. The opening repertoire between Joey Moose and Bob Fossil never fails to crack me up, and it’s absolutely my favourite moment in the radio series. The episode opens with a “stressed out Mr Fossil”, but what drew me in was Joey Moose’s jaunty whistling. Fossil gives Moose the familiar task of transporting the jungle’s cobra, and is attacked in the process. “Hogan’s ghost!” he screams in true pseudo Aussie fashion, and to his incessantly high-pitched yelps Fossil replies ”Joey…are you having sex?” Succinct, to the point, and utterly hilarious. Being the first thing I’ve ever heard from radio Boosh, this tiny bit of dialogue always stuck out in my mind and is an obvious choice, though to be fair the entire series is absolutely hysterical! I will, however, admit that I’ve always been a bit disappointed realizing how little Joey Moose was featured in the TV show after hearing his big-headed self go on adventures with Howard and Vince!
I’ll be the first to admit that it took me quite some time to find the radio series. However, when I finally did listen to it, it just made my love and appreciation for The Mighty Boosh grow even stronger. There are so many good bits in every episode but I cannot mention them all. First and foremost, listening to comedy is an odd thing because it relies so much on your own ability to conjure up images and in particular when it is something as special as the Boosh which as we all know can be quite abstract. Having seen the TV series before listening to the radio series might have been an advantage because one of my favourite bits can be found in the episode “Jazz”.
Howard and Vince’s conversation about porpoise racing is concluded as Howard states that he taught Vince everything he knows which prompts Vince’s slightly confusing “You might have taught me everything I know… but you didn’t teach me everything you know”. This is followed by a quick round of back-and-forth banter as Howard questions the statement and in the end dismisses Vince with a “See you later”. However, it is Vince’s final “Ok…” that never fails to crack me up. There is something utterly hilarious about that short, whispered word and I think the magic lies in the fact that it is so easily pictured. I can see Howard and Vince before me saying those exact words. Moreover, this fragment is a reoccurring feature in the episode as Bob Fossil throws out the knowledge line and then says “I don’t know… I read it in a porno”. For me, this is The Mighty Boosh in a nutshell and it works in all different outlets, no matter whether it is radio or television.
So what do you reckon? Do the moments mentioned above do it for you too, or do you have other favourites? Go on, tell us about them in the comments section below. Don’t be shy!
For anyone yet to experience the pleasures of The Mighty Boosh radio series you can get your paws on it now by visiting the TVO amazon store.