Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show! (BBC Radio 4, 2005-present)
I have already reviewed the TV version of this show, but now it’s time to take a look back at where it all started on the radio. Count Arthur Strong is someone who is a veteran of showbiz and considers himself to be something of a continuing success (although nobody else clearly thinks so). Episodes usually begin with a reference to some odd award that Arthur won in 1968-69.
Then we go into the main story, such as auditioning for a play, which usually leads to Arthur becoming mixed-up about something rather minor, leading to a chain of events where an increasing amount of people are caused a lot of trouble, with Arthur’s misunderstandings and unusual turn of phrase not helping. What was interesting about the radio series is that there is almost no overlap with the TV version, not only featuring different writers, but also different characters and locations.
These include Wilf at the butchers, and Gerry at the cafe, who unintentionally often get caught up in Arthur’s schemes. Another regular character is Malcolm, who takes acting lessons from Arthur, when he would be better off going nowhere near him. And Arthur is also rather fond of going round Doncaster, and he once had a bang on the head and started talking nonsense and nobody could tell the difference. Another thing that Arthur likes to do is get something for very little money, including always trying to do deals at the butchers and the cafe.
And Arthur is also rather fond of a drink, which often makes him to burst into song (“Auntie Mary had a canary!“), as if situations weren’t awkward enough already. Another highlight was that some episodes featured guest appearances from comedy veteran Barry Cryer, who has supposedly known Arthur for years, and often goes on the circuit doing after-dinner speeches and the like with his highly amusing anecdotes, what a great sport. Also featuring as various characters were Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.
Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show! grew in popularity very quickly, with listeners being amused as the situations often got way out of hand. Along with the TV series, there have also been several tours, and a book where Arthur told some lovely stories about some of the famous people that he has known. And I hope he’ll be back for more adventures soon, as I do enjoy his show, oh yes I would definitely have to agree with myself there.