Radio Memories – Fist Of Fun.

Fist Of Fun (BBC Radio 1, 1993)

This is a comedy sketch show that I didn’t hear first time round, but there have been several repeat runs on BBC7/BBC Radio 4 Extra in more recent years, and this was another one that also eventually transferred to TV. Comedy double-act Stewart Lee and the human being that can be identified by the name of Richard Herring (or whatever elaborate way he used to introduce himself) were writers on BBC Radio 4’s On The Hour, before going into a trilogy of their own radio series.

Firstly, there was BBC Radio 4’s Lionel Nimrod’s Inexplicable World, where they investigated the unexplained, and this ran for two series. And this was followed by Fist Of Fun, which is my favourite of the three. Lee and Herring presented this one from various universities around the country, they offered their observations of life and what was in the news, and sometimes this could be rather cynical.

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This was an alternative comedy show on BBC Radio 1 in 1993, when the station was in the early stages of its somewhat painful upheaval, meaning that there was something of a clash of eras and styles with most of the schedule, and they didn’t miss the opportunity to make plenty of jokes about the overdue departure of Simon Bates, and so on.

Also among the contributors were Rebecca Front and Peter Baynham (who unlike Lee and Herring worked on the On The Hour TV spin-off The Day Today). Peter was rather scruffy and unhygienic, and he would offer some money-saving recipes, that simply sounded rather horrible, never mind actually seeing some of them when he also featured in the TV version. I do remember the recipe for Easy Toast though, maybe that is one worth trying myself.

There was also a guest appearance in one edition from Dale Winton, who had recently become the host of daytime game show Supermarket Sweep, so naturally the audience of students were rather pleased to see him turn up, and it was at that moment that he realised that the show was going to be a big success and give his career a boost.

After this, their third radio series was BBC Radio 1’s Lee And Herring, and this ran for three series. They were very insistent that there would be no listeners called Ian though. Fist Of Fun then transferred to BBC2 and ran for two series. This then led to their second TV series This Morning With Richard Not Judy which also ran for two series, and they then went their separate ways (rather bitterly it seems) to concentrate on solo comedy projects.

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