Ed Reardon’s Week (BBC Radio 4, 2005-present)
This is a sitcom that I have found interesting over the years, although this is partly because it’s one where most of the references are lost on me, but as it’s supposedly what people like to listen to on Radio 4 which is rather fancy, I thought that I should give it a try. Ed Reardon (Christopher Douglas) is someone who can be best described as “curmudgeonly” (what a great word), being an aging pipe-smoker, fare-dodger, and someone who has seen it all.
He is a writer, of books, or indeed anything really, but he hasn’t had much success over the years, his last TV writing credit came in the 80s, and he desperately clings on to it in the hope that it will continue to attract work. The only books that Ed writes are ghostwritten cash-in celebrity ones, and he despairs of doing such a thing, but he could really do with that £50. In every episode, we follow Ed throughout a week in his life, which he documents in his diary (on his computer, when it’s working).
We also meet Ed teaching a group of people (including Geoffrey Whitehead and Stephanie Cole) on a creative writing course, but they have long grown tired of his rambling. Also among the regular cast are Ed’s young agent Ping, who confuses him with her up-to-date references, and also his friend Jaz Milvane (Philip Jackson), who directs lots of rather corny feelgood films to great acclaim, and they also play in a band together.
Keeping Ed company at home in Berkhamsted is his cat Elgar (who was rather elderly at the beginning of the series, meaning he must be just about the oldest cat in the world now). We also occasionally met Ed’s children (he is long-since divorced), who have tired of his mishaps too. Other things that Ed often runs into include trouble with women, and the occasional heart attack, but he always comes back for more.
Most episodes seem to follow the same style really. Ed is desperate to get back into the spotlight, and earn himself a decent amount of money as well, but then he falls into a sequence of events where he ends up dropping himself in it, and losing his deal, which leads to rather a lot of growling and concludes with a rant about how the literary and TV world is full of “12-year-olds”, how all of his projects are ultimately scuppered by “asininity”, and his catchphrase “oh, for heaven’s sake!”. We will probably all turn into him eventually.
Ed Reardon’s Week has been one of the more consistently successful of Radio 4’s sitcoms, having ran for over 15 years now, and the large amount of fans that it has attracted are very loyal to the show. Other radio comedies that Douglas has contributed to include the adventures of wayward ex-cricketer Dave Podmore, and sitcom Beauty Of Britain.