Old Harry’s Game (BBC Radio 4, 1995-2012)
As we have seen, there have been plenty of sitcoms over the years that have been set in unlikely locations, and this has definitely got to be one of them, as this really was in Hell. Old Harry’s Game was written by and starred Andy Hamilton, who has contributed to several other TV and radio comedy shows at the more satirical end, including Drop The Dead Donkey and The Million Pound Radio Show.
And in this one, I suppose that he is what you could call the big red guy, the one in charge. But it turns out that it isn’t very easy being the devil. He has been doing it forever, which is a rather long time, and he has begun to get frustrated. Probably not too surprisingly, he has long since developed a cynical and world weary outlook on life. Seriously, what is this guy’s problem.
There are all these people (including historical figures) who are constantly turning up and wandering around, and are insistent that they are in the wrong place. Among the other cast members were the devil’s companion Scumspawn, who often gets caught up in various plans. And there are also the humans, including the Professor, Edith, and Thomas, who was possibly the most corrupt person who ever lived.
Just about every dilemma that could happen was featured, this really was delightfully devilish. You certainly got your money’s worth with Old Harry’s Game. There were seven series, along with some specials, spread over more than a decade. It was clear that this was a situation where humour really could be produced. Plenty of awards were won, and the repeats on BBC7/BBC Radio 4 Extra have been in the dozens, if not hundreds.
And once again, this was yet another one where my mum took the chance to attend to recording of a few episodes (I never attended any myself because as I have explained before, I am just too awestruck in the company of celebrities). Who was that old man in the cast who looked like Jimmy Mulville? Oh wait, it actually was Jimmy Mulville. For a short while, there were plans for a TV adaptation (as an animation, not live action, and not for the BBC), but this was never fully realised.