The end of April is normally associated with the ‘unofficial’ early start of Summer, as everyone goes mad for barbecues and suntan lotion. This year, it also sees the launch of a new radio series from Alex Lowe.
Now, we at TVO love Alex Lowe. An unsung hero of British comedy, we officially welcomed him into our fold when he began frequently collaborating with Dan Skinner via the delightful Angelos & Barry Podcast (or is it Potcast?), which has developed a cult following so strong the duo are now going on a UK tour this Autumn.
But really, we should have been publicly championing him much sooner. A veteran of The Eleven O’Clock Show, Alex’s credits to date read like a hitlist of great comedy: including turns in TVO related shows Monkey Trousers, Spaced, Fun at the Funeral Parlour, Swiss Toni, Grass, Don’t Watch That Watch This, Saxondale, The Peter Serafinowicz Show, The Thick of It, Common Ground, Toast of London, The Casual Vacancy, Pompidou and House of Fools. And he’s consistently fab in all of them.
As such, it gives us great pleasure to let you know that his cult character Barry from Watford has a whole new radio venture to add to his resume: Barry’s Lunch Club. For the initiated, Barry is a cockney who moved to the suburbs during the war. He is not given to looking at the old days through rose coloured spectacles, and is well up to speed with current trends. A seemingly harmless old boy, he lures people into a false sense of security, delivering hilariously stinging rebukes or erudite assessments of how the world is treating the over 60s.
Previously featured in Dave Lambert’s Common Ground series, and the aforementioned potcasts with Dan Skinner, “Barry” is a regular on the London comedy circuit, and this new four part series fuses his stand-up comedy with a sitcom setting. The show plays out in real time as if we are eavesdropping on a civic hall meeting group – the titular Barry’s Lunch Club.
Each week, Barry scrutinises themes close to his heart, with club secretary Hilary (Man Down‘s Stephanie Cole) to rein him in, and club treasurer Peter (Yonderland composer and Brian Pern star Philip Pope) providing support on the civic hall piano, this is the ultimate life-style guide for an ageing nation.
Episode One airs on Friday, 29th April at 11:30am on BBC Radio 4, but as part of the channel’s current experimentation with release methods, it is also available to listen to now via iPlayer. Check it out!