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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ed Reardon is someone I didn't know beforehand, so when I saw the blurb, I was quite interested in John Fortune and Sally Hawkins, as they're some of my favorite actors from the likes of Bremner, Bird and Fortune, and the Mike Lee film Happy-Go-Lucky. Seeing that Saxondale's Marwenna Banks was in this too, it would have been wrong of me not to look closer at Mr Reardon.

I was quite surprised at how good this is: it took a while to settle into Reardon's diary style, but the funnies came thick and fast. Felix (played by John Fortune) is so funny, and as usual Fortune plays the middle class man very well, with his smearing at poor folk making me laugh. Ping (played by Sally Hawkins) was funny too, and I liked Reardon's father.

This comes as a 6 episode series, which aired in 2006, but it's nice to see the show getting a release 4 years on, and I found it very funny. It has a Jeeves and Worcester feel about it, with the hapless Ed falling into trouble often, and not really caring about it. I like the way he's always trying to make money, and his crazy schemes to try and get money are just amusing.

If you like comedy on radio, I think you'll like this, Reardon's funny, and it's well written, with hints of older 80's television comedy stylings popping up often, a real treat this, worth getting all 3 seasons - it's funny without being pretentious.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ed Reardon is something of a Hancockian creation - a misanthrope eternally at odds with the modern world he futilely vents his frustration at - but unfortunately as a performer Christopher Douglas is no Tony Hancock and as a writer he's no Galton or Simpson, so far from caring about the chronically underemployed and often dubiously motivated writer anyway or laughing at it his pomposity while recognising the half of it that's true, he all too often comes across as an insufferable whinger and these episodes like being stuck in a lift with him for three hours. It's not helped by overworked situations and too many unconvincingly overplayed media stereotypes. He's on firmer ground with the 'ordinary' characters like David Warner's bitter and chronically underwhelmed father, but they're not enough to distract from the tiresome bore at the centre of it all.

It's not entirely devoid of good ideas - he's the kind of writer who's not above faking a misery memoir about his terrible childhood, who gets hired because he's both cheap and falls inside a local radio station's catchments area to qualify as 'local talent' and who puts his newsagent, plumber and assorted tradesmen into a period radio script to supplement his stipend with some product placement - but the execution isn't up to them. It aspires to dry wit but all too often comes across as tired and perfunctory. Of course, with comedy being a matter of personal taste it's worth listening to a couple of episodes on radio to see if it's to your taste - but it's definitely one you should try before you buy.
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on 14 July 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was initially intrigued enough into ordering this product by the line used to promote it which reads: 'The funniest sitcom ever to grace Radio 4' Given the excellent competition I thought this was worth checking out.

Christopher Douglas supplies the voice of Ed, a financially-strapped writer, and also co-wrote the series with Andrew Nickolds. He plays the role well - he's curmudgeonly, totally lacking in social graces, and allows himself to become increasingly frustrated over trivial, and sometimes not so trivial, things.

The series itself is reasonably well observed and clever but, for me, it's only occasionally amusing, and frequently seems to go in clichéd directions. I constantly found myself asking: Is this really a comedy?

I have very wide ranging comedy tastes - from slapstick, through farce and epigrammatical wit right up to the surrealistic humour of say, 'The Mighty Boosh'. I also listen/watch/read across the complete range of media: books, live stand-up, sitcoms, radio, movies etc, but I'd rank this very much in middle territory - i.e. average. It's not bad and it features some great supporting performances, but the bottom line is this: it didn't make me laugh. 'The funniest sitcom ever to grace Radio 4'? Most assuredly not.

Question to fans of the series: I listened to only the first three of the half hour programmes - did I miss the best ones?
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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ed Reardon: a successful, well respected writer; a master of his craft, with the renumeration commensurate to someone of his obvious skill and standing. Not to mention the plaudits he receives, for his sideline as one of Britain's foremost jazz musicians. At least, to Ed Reardon, that's the description that ought to be applied to him by now. Unfathomably, life has somehow not turned out that way for Ed, which may go some way to explain his continually cantankerous mood.

Divorced and penniless, Reardon lives alone, save for his cat Elgar. Ed once wrote a script for an episode of Tenko and thanks to the ineptness (at least to Ed) of his agent, that remains the pinnacle of his career thus far. Further, to the disdain he receives from his agent, at the creative writing course he gives, his pupils fail to afford him the respect he believes he is due and fall into rapt attentiveness as he dispenses another nugget of wisdom gleaned from his years at the writing coalface.

Each episode finds Reardon trying to escape from his life of penury, seizing each opportunity to make a few, fast quid; either as a writer (inventing a fictional childhood of abuse to cash in on the Traumatic Childhood Memoir genre) or any other means that doesn't involve actual work. Each time Reardon is thwarted by his worst enemy - himself. Like all of the characters in the long British tradition of comedy antiheroes, (Fawlty, Rigsby, Steptoe etc.) Reardon's plans go awry by his ego, pride, greed and, sometimes, lust. Unable to learn from mistakes, he is fated to fail again and again.

'Ed Reardon's Week' is essentially a farce, with a main character suited to at least one Radio Four demographic: that of the grumpy old man, presented in six half-hour episodes on three discs, this was originally broadcast on that station. The comedy can be clever, some of Reardon's half-muttered asides are an example, the most barbed of which are deployed on his more successful (and probably less deserving) contemporaries. Christopher Douglas, the star and writer of the series, has created a comedy that builds slowly, allowing the characters to develop, these are voiced by some talented British comedy actors.

This isn't gag-a-minute stuff and is more likely to produce a wry smile than a belly laugh. Still, I found myself warming to Ed Reardon despite his bluff and ascerbic manner. Perhaps we all love a loser.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Last of the Summer Wine may not have been to everybody's taste but its demise could be seen as another nail in the coffin for the good old fashioned TV sitcom. Compared to ten or so years ago there seems to be very few situation comedies on TV these days and what few there are seem to be aimed at those in their twenties or under. Thankfully though there are still quite a few comedy series on radio for those with more `grown up' tastes and maybe the best of these is Ed Reardon's Week.

Ed Reardon's Week has got all the necessary components for a good comedy. It has a strong lead character, struggling writer Ed Reardon, possessor of both an acidic tongue and a conniving mind. The other regular characters, played by stalwarts such as Stephanie Cole, John Fortune, Geoffrey Whitehead and Phillip Jackson are okay too. The stories are good but most importantly of all for a comedy series they are funny too; not laugh out loud funny but the kind of funny where you find yourself with a smile on your face for most of each programmes length.

The first two series of this sitcom that were broadcasted were both excellent and this CD set, which features the six episodes of the third series, shows that the high standard has been maintained. These CD's are therefore seriously entertaining and a perfect way to pass a few hours in the car. You never know, perhaps the BBC might decide to make a version for TV one day.
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VINE VOICEon 18 August 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I enjoy listening to Ed Reardon, but I find I have to be in the right frame of mind to hear what this cantankerous old skinflint has to say, especially with this CD where I can stop and start each episode as I anticipate his next horrendous error and put off discovering how he's next going to ruin the opportunities offered to him. Sometimes it seems Ed is battling against the modern world, having a go at 'twelve year old producers' and modern culture, all the while being responsible for writing some of the worst parts of it himself. Ed is trying to live while doing as little real work as possible and blaming everyone else for his failings. There is something heroic about his repeated failures to succeed as a writer but his apparently bleak future does always seems to turn out well enough for him to carry on and feed Elgar, his cat.

This CD is funny, with some utterly wonderful moments, inoffensive and quite up with the times. I am not sure how well it will age but f you're buying it now that doesn't matter very much. There are some brilliant actors on these CDs so you'll hear a few familiar voices and at half an hour episodes are of a reasonable length with a few handy break points in each one if, like me, you only want to listen in short sections.
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on 26 August 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This third series follows the consistently funny diaries of a failed writer with the familiar pattern of our anti-hero coming a cropper after some literary money making plan goes wrong.

I think Ed is a modern Basil Fawlty and as such it is his discomfort that makes us laugh, but within this simple premiss there lies sharp observation of the human spirit, particularly the middle-aged, male human spirit clinging to the last vestiges of hope and self-respect, frequently forging those remnants into a verbal club with which to beat some unsuspecting call centre operator to an intellectual pulp.

His (a mirror for our own?) relationship with his children and ageing father give a broader scope for the situations, but all serve to remind us, and Ed, that he is essential in it on his own. He will sink or swim by his own efforts, but always the outcome set largely by misfortune. Things never go his way.

Episode Six ends almost as if he's saying goodbye, but I was delighted to see another series is being aired. Life has not finished being unkind to Ed.
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VINE VOICEon 31 August 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Tragically Radio 4 have seen fit to broadcast this fine series during the day whilst I am at work so I was really pleased to find that it was possible to acquire this on CD. The opportunity to hear the series in full was too good an opportunity to miss and has been an almost permanent part of my journeys to and from work. Ed Reardon is a complex character who will make you cringe with embarrassment at one point only to have you agreeing wholeheartedly with his sentiments at the next.

His ambition to become a great writer is thwarted most of the time (alas I can identify with that!) and his reputation is maintained by harking back to that episode of Tenko that he wrote many years ago. The series is so well written you can quite believe that this is the lot of many a frustrated writer.

This is quite subtle comedy, but very, very funny! Must seek out the other series.
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VINE VOICEon 20 April 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you are unfamiliar with writer Ed Reardon's adventures it may take an episode or two to get into our self-righteous disheveled hero's state of mind. However, once it clicks there is much comedy gold to be had from some of these comic tales. Ed will write or indeed do virtually anything to scrounge a few quid and there is much fun to be had when he goes somewhat over the top selling product placements in his latest radio play, joins a secret mystery shopping group, becomes the on location writer for a murder mystery weekend and even ends up on an archaeological dig. These programs aren't of the joke every few seconds variety but rather develop wonderful comic scenarios which build up the laughs as they progress. Very clever writing.
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VINE VOICEon 22 September 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I approached this series as a newcomer and emerged a fan. The humour here is dark and deeply layered, and seems to get funnier and more twisted with every listen.

The humour is themed around Reardon's personality - somewhat pompousness, yet with an affecting ability to ensure hardship in the face of bleak and desperate prospects without complaint. As a writer, Reardon's character gets some very funny lines and there's some great use of language.

Might I reckon the series will appear to Stewart Lee fans - there are few punchlines yet this is hugely rewarding over time. Looking forward to catching up on the more recent series.
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