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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 September 2013
John Finnemore may be little known, but the man is a comedy genius. Whilst those who do know him are likely to do so from the Radio 4 comedy Cabin Pressure (which he writes and in which he stars as the dippy but goodhearted Arthur), he's also responsible for the sketch show genius that is John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme. Unlike most sketch shows, he actually writes every single word, as well as appearing in every sketch. And what sketches there are!

In this, the second series (consisting of six 30 minute episodes across three CDs), there's a mixture of sketches, stories and song, all very silly, and all suitable for the whole family. Many are based on puns and misunderstandings, but all are brilliant. My personal favourites include a group of humble goldfish asking King Neptune for better memories with unexpected results, the dinosaurs' sung tribute to their God, Captain Dinosaurs (we raise our mighty voices, we wave our tiny arms....), and, best of all, the five minute storytelling monologues that finish each episode.

John Finnemore is a comedy God. It's doubtful whether there will be another series of Cabin Pressure, but John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme more than makes up for this. Buy it, listen to it, and you'll laugh yourself silly.
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on 26 May 2016
The whole family completely loves John Finnemore and all that he does, so this has been a welcome addition to our CD collection, bearing repeated listening while travelling or doing housework.

We've also been lending it to other family members, seeking to convert them to the fold.

As always with Finnemore's comedy, this is gentle, quirky, witty and kindly humour, suitable for all the family, making gentle fun of so much without ever being hurtful.

Great stuff!
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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It was this, the second series of "John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme", that I heard first, on BBC Radio 4. Having since caught up with the first series on CD and having listened to the third on the radio, I think this middle phase is the best one.

There's hardly an ounce of fat on any of the sketches here, as the writer / performer tackles bizarre situations such as sitcom characters being depicted like victims of an obsessive compulsive disorder, or an email parody with a couple of old-fashioned messengers who are out of synch.

Many of Finnemore's characters are personified versions of creatures or objects from the natural world, such as the moon in an uneasy relationship with the sun, a cuckoo chick with something to tell his mum and dad ("you're not my real parents"), a vulture who mounts an effective defence of his feeding habits, a shoal of goldfish seeking to improve their memories, and a council of moths who debate the vexing question of what is and what is not the moon.

Another recurring theme of this series is the application of modern values to familiar old stories, including the renowned wisdom of Solomon, the fairy tale of the ugly duckling (we find out about his slightly less ugly friend), the more likely results of a famous cautionary Christmas tale by Charles Dickens, and what became of the Famous Five when they grew up.

Finnemore has a knack for turning established ideas on their heads, and even as you become familiar with his style he challenges your expectations. On a couple of occasions, I was sitting there smiling smugly to myself, thinking, "Ah, yes, I'm in on the joke. I know exactly what this sketch is about." But then it turned out that the sketch wasn't about that at all!

Providing three hours of quality listening, this second series takes first place in my appreciation.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Rewarded with a longer six episode run after the first series' four episodes, John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme is still something of a mixed bag, with a few running jokes outstaying their welcome, but the hits outnumber the misses and are often inspired: a museum audio guide for five year olds, tweaking Pythagoras' difficult second theorem to make it play better with the public, the baffling mechanics of movie tie-in deals, the absurdity of credit card security questions (and in particular the pointlessness of the security code), over manned superhero team the SuperMongers (Ironmonger, Fishmonger, Rumourmonger and Warmonger), the problems of introducing sitcom characters to the real world workplace, the brilliant Insomnia ballad and commercials for avaricious no-win, no-fee lawyers offering compensation for mental trauma and unresolved narrative stress caused by disappointing movie endings. The rambling ghost stories that were one of the weaker elements of the first series are much funnier this time, even being co-opted into an inspired end credits sequence in the final episode, which also comes to a rousing climax with the insanely catchy prehistoric school assembly hymn Thank You Captain Dinosaur that I promise you will be going round your head for weeks, if not years. It's not always quite so inspired, but when it hits its targets - and it's very good at pointing the logical and practical flaws in everything from Herod's Slaughter of the Innocents and the double-standards that give vultures such bad public relations problems to the absurdity of Crufts and the curious disappearance of alchemy at almost exactly the same time that the stock market appeared - it's sublime.
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on 8 October 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Every commuter has a certain spot in a journey that the traffic just stops and you slowly accept your fate that you're going to be there for a while. There is a time that BBC radio 4 or 5 does not appeal, classic fm will not soothe you or worse still Colin Murray is on talkSport and you decide that you would like something else to keep you sane whilst the world stops. John Finnemore's 3rd series is currently being broadcast on radio 4 and only by chance that I managed to listen to it and actually enjoy it. Granted, some of the sketches are hit and miss but to be honest they are of really good funny material. As good as Mitchell and Webb? Probably not - but worth a listen to and who knows you may even crack a smile.....
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VINE VOICEon 25 September 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well, there are two problems: the first is that I don't like sketch shows; the second is that nothing John Finnemore does can compare to the delightful Cabin Pressure.

Still, as sketch shows go, this is pretty good. It doesn't have the most maddening aspect of sketch shows, which is repeating the same sketches week after week with just a minor tweak. That makes me seriously deranged and wanting to throw the radio across the kitchen very hard!

So, in between listening to Cabin Pressure on CD in the car and waiting for the next series of Cabin Pressure, this will fill a gap.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is nothing short of laugh-out-loud hilarious. Before getting this disc, I knew of Finnemore's contributions to the Now Show but had somehow managed to miss out on this. As soon as I'd finished listening to it, I ordered copies of the first and third series straight away.

If you're a fan of David Mitchell's work, you'll love this. The comparisons between this and the Mitchell & Webb Sound (That Mitchell and Webb Sound: The Complete Radio Series 1-3 (BBC Audio)) are strong, and it carries the same sort of tone and attitude a lot of the time- slightly political, sometimes surreal, but mostly it's wry, good-willed satire about the British condition (it has to be said that I feel a bit of a douche writing that, but I can't think of a better way of putting it).

Memorable moments for me include the invention of the Crufts dog show ("a competition to see which dog looks most like a dog"), Mongers Assemble (where crises are solved by crack super-heroes the Ironmonger, Fishmonger, Rumour-monger and Warmonger), domestic strife between the King and Queen of the chessboard, and "accidentally hearing a bit of the Archers".

Finnemore is also a good performer. He ends up sounding like Tim Brooke-Taylor quite a lot- by his own admission he can do "two different kinds of posh"- but considering how prominent his voice is throughout, it never actually gets monotonous. A strong supporting cast helps as well, though they're mostly treated more like occasional guests than an ensemble.

Here's hoping that John Finnemore can follow the Mitchell & Webb route onto TV and get a wider audience.
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VINE VOICEon 16 October 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme is cleverly crafted show full of original humour that ranges from the reasonable to the totally hilarious. To my total delight, it is also reasonably clean, and you have no idea how cheering this can be. This is actually family listening of the best kind.

There are three CDs and they cover six episodes broadcast on BBC Radio 4 during the autumn of 2012. The sketches flow freely and cover spoofs on ghost story telling, fish with poor memories who visit a very naughty Neptune and then cannot recall what they came for, a delightful skit on the "Famous Five" and many others. I think that the last was my favourite and I did like the idea of Julian growing up to be a smuggler with George settling down to become a wife and mother of three. We must not also forget the Supermongers... There are also a number of songs and I adored the "Dinosaur Hymn" with the studio audience joining in the last verse in tribute to "Captain Dinosaur". I can now sing this all the way through. Mind you, the song about the ugly dog was good too.

The delivery is good with Finnemore doing a splendid job with his own material aided by Simon Kane, Lawry Lewin, Carrie Quinlan and Margaret Cabourn-Smith.

In summary, a wonderful set of CDs for the car and this will cheer up quite a number of family journeys.
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VINE VOICEon 6 December 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The first series was pretty good, quirky and amusing. John Finnemore takes an off-centre look at life. Sketches include a tetchy conversation between the king and queen on a chess board among many slightly strange ideas. In this series the cast became more used to each other and the writing became more consistent and amusing. There are running gags throughout the programs. I'm not sure how to describe or explain the humour other than to say that it is amusing on several levels without having me convulsed with helpless laughter. That is not a carping criticism, as some of the humour is genuinely disturbing in the way of making you think about how the world is. John Finnemore's world is humanistic, slightly rebellious but never vicious. He says things through his characters which have you thinking, 'I wish I'd said that'. Overall this is a bit of a slow burner, but one that rewards listening again. If you get involved in his world it will probably improve your own, if only a little.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The return of this popular light comedy sketch show is a good indication of it's popularity.
A mostly rapid fire approach which varies between absurd situations & viewpoints, (which is when it works best), two ronnie style sketches of varying quality and the occasional running gag, (these were for me the least successful).
Not everything works, especially when the odd scene overstays it's welcome. Finnemore also has a habit of leaving nothing to the imagination or for the listener to work out.
However the sheer amount of sketches means there will be something for everyone to laugh at.
The more off the wall ideas are best and have an innocent and simple approach that appeals.
Not everything works well but the delivery is snappy and well played by all and it's nice to see someone attempting a new spin on the classic 70's style sketch show.
Worth a listen as something to keep you amused but perhaps not ahead of your favourites.
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