Customer Reviews

31
4.4 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2009
The first half of this, largely, excellent book traces the careers of a small group of satirists and comedians from Cambridge Smokers to Clue via Footlights, revues, I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, The Goodies, Hello Cheeky and numerous other less well remembered projects and, over that time, there are comedy connections to most of the greats of the last 40 years. It is only half way through that we are finally introduced to Humph, Barry and Willy.

The author tries to make a case for ISIRTA being the greatest of all radio scripted comedy. Having been too young to have listened to it when first broadcast I have only encountered it far down the line via, the wonderful, BBC Radio 7. As the author writes in another context perhaps you had to be there at the time.

Of course after nearly 40 years Clue has undergone massive changes in style - if not in cast. Most of the early years got wiped by the BBC long ago but those episodes left are a much gentler affair than the current, barely broadcastable, riot with its systematic victimisation of Lionel Blair and the infliction of Jeremy Hardy's "singing" on an unsuspecting world. It was a succession of young producers - Perkins, Mayhew Archer on - who slowly transformed the game into what we know now. Jack Dee has the right personality and wit to keep it going.

I am sure some people saw this title and feared it was a cut and paste rush job to exploit the good will we all had for Humph. Nothing could be further from the truth, this book has clearly been pieced together by a decent writer over a long period and with significant input from most of those involved over the best part of 50 years. My one criticism is that the author likes everyone a little too much. There are hints that there were tensions - Oddie's moods, Cleese's ego, Kendall being the "token" woman and marginalised, Rushton not even trying to contribute to games he disliked - but these are not really explored. What we are left with is a celebration of people and programmes much loved by a large number of people. As Neil Young said, long may they run.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2010
This is a book that you *can* judge by its cover - it shows Humph and the rest of the 'ISIHAC' gang in a pose based on Leonardo's 'Last Supper'. Inside is an in-depth history not only of 'Clue' itself but of its predecessor 'I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again' and of other Radio 4 comedies including 'Hello Cheeky!' starring Tim Brooke-Taylor and Barry Cryer.

I believe there are two types of people in the world - those who love 'Clue' and those who haven't discovered it yet. The former will adore this book and with any luck it will encourage the latter to seek out this comedy gem.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 January 2013
I picked up this weighty tome thinking it would be a fun book to dip into and relive some of the puns and gags from the fifty-odd series of everyone's favourite radio comedy. However, after reading a couple of pages I realised this wasn't a mere collection of "best of"s and was, in fact, a proper chronological story. The history of some of Britain's true comedy greats, from Cambridge University in the 1960s to the present day. So, rather than picking my way through the "Bible" I read it cover to cover, enjoying it enormously.

Clearly, many of the jokes and skits and (particularly) the Chairman's speeches are retold here, and these are more than welcome, but generally this is a written record taken from the mouths of the principal players, at great length, by Jem Roberts. Roberts has performed a great service to the cultural history of Britain, I'd say, if it didn't sound so po-faced.

The book divides into two sections (or, inevitably,"Testaments") the first dealing mainly with the radio show "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" which led directly to The Goodies, Monty Python etc etc the second section is about "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" itself.

Part 1 is a bit more of a critical appraisal than Part 2, which is unashamedly the work of a fan of the show. I found the "ISIRTA" bits if anything more interesting, since I knew nothing about this ground breaking show. Also, unlike the apparent serenity of the "Clue" regulars, the earlier show, featuring John Cleese and Bill Oddie, who both seem more than capable of butting heads with their old friends, comes accross as a bit more frazzled.

The giant figure of Humphrey Lyttelton, who sadly died not long before the book's publication rightly looms genially over this "Bible" but, as Roberts acknowledges in the closing chapter, if it can be said to be the story of any one person, this is the history of Tim Brooke-Taylor, an ever present from the very start.

Great book about a great institution, you also feel that this "professional" history doesn't even touch on the whole of its subjects. Lyttelton, say, or Rushton, you feel, could be the subjects of long, facinating biographies without even mentioning their "Clue" work.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2010
This was well received as a gift for a Clue fan who rarely finds time to read books. But he's had his nose in this book ever since, with much chuckling to be heard!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2013
I found this book of the best of forty years of my favourite radio comedy programme irresistible.Other members of the house wondered why guffaws of laughter kept resonanting from the lounge at all hours
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2013
This is very engaging read which brings to life the fascinating facts behinds the myths and anecdotes of some of the amazing key people that have made British comedy the envy of the world and have made us laugh so often and so loud over 6 decades or more. Jem Roberts has produced a terrific and authorative book that will be up there with the best of comedy histories.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2013
Any Clue book is, by definition, superb and this one doesn't disappoint. It is a feast of information for the obsessive devotee and for the recently initiated alike.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Quite a lengthy tome really at 466 pages - I get the feeling that Jem Roberts is a real fan of the programme.

It starts with the story and background of "I'm Sorry I'll Read that Again" before going onto the history of Clue - people such as Humph and Barry Cryer do not really feature for the first half or so; Clue starts about page 200. There is quite a bit of history prior to ISIRTA as well for the first 60 pages or so. However the links between the programmes are well known and thus to be expected. There are also references to other programmes both on radio and TV.

There is an index and also an appendix listing all the broadcasts of both programmes. I recall some of the jokes from all those years ago. But from the dates given it is unlikely that I heard them at the original broadcast but from reading the book, I get the feeling that some gags would have been recycled over the course of the various series.

As a fan myself I found it interesting but not something to read at one sitting as there is a lot of detail and many actors seem to flit in and out of the scene in the earlier days.

Two lots of eight pages of photographs although it is not always easy to work out whom is who in every case. But none of Samantha!

I would recommend - if you are less interested in the precursors you can always skip that first part although you would miss some good jokes which are worth the ploughing through - at £7.99 RRP (often less on Amazon or similar) it is value for money.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2014
Jem Roberts is indeed a "gem" and no doubt could have taken part in any programme of this superb history of radio comedy. His quirky sense of humour, married to a gift for background detail and analysis makes this book un-toppable. LOL [laughing out loud] is not something I do very often, usually confined to Clue and older chestnuts like Week Ending, but I haven't stopped while reading this book. I wouldn't personally agree that "I'll Read That Again" deserves quite the space given to it, but it does show the roots and shoots that followed thereafter, having originally intertwined via Footlights and general Oxbridge humour. An absolute MUST for any radio comedy fan, however young/old you are!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2014
Consistently enjoyable history of the I'm Sorry phenomenon from Footlights to Humph's last stand, and a peek at the current state of affairs. In fact, it pretty much reads as a breezy history of British comedy post satire boom - which is understandable, given the many cross-fertilisations that went on.
The author is an unashamed fan, in particular of Read That Again. Which is something I don't personally share (prefer my silliness a little less circusy and I was never really sold on Oddie). Roberts imo tends to downplay the debt owed to Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne, dismissing those shows as rather old-school when in fact much of the modus operandi of the young bucks was lifted wholesale - straight man surrounded by lunacy, pokes at authority, innuendo, old jokes and dodgy puns, playlets, doggerel songs, performers dropping out of character and criticising the material...
But Roberts is honest enough to admit that early Clue was... well, not really all that good - or at least took time to find its feet.
Recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed

The New Uxbridge English Dictionary
The New Uxbridge English Dictionary by Jon Naismith (Hardcover - 19 May 2008)
£6.39

 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.