Dial M For Pizza (BBC Radio 4, 1987-1988)
I always like to listen to comedy sketch shows, whether they be topical or not, and although this one might not be the most famous or award-winning compared to others in this genre, I enjoyed this enough when I heard a repeat run to feel that it deserves to be featured here. Dial M For Pizza featured an impressive cast, including Robert Bathurst (long before Cold Feet), Brenda Blethyn, Mike Grady, and Jonathan Kydd.
And also helping out in some sketches in later editions were Jim Broadbent, Enn Reitel, Morwenna Banks, and Felicity Montagu. As Dial M For Pizza was made in the late-80s there were a few contemporary topics covered such as politics and music, but there were surprisingly few regular characters or catchphrases. Although we did meet The Perriers, a couple who were yuppies and very smug, and didn’t mind telling everyone about it (Jonathan Ross also featured in one of their sketches).
And there was also Mr Makesalotofmistakes, a very silly character who would end up in some bizarre but amusing situations because he did everything wrong. There were also some sketches that parodied various films, and they all seemed to feature actor Denholm Elliott (“hello there!”). There were also plenty of one-off quickie sketches, including Britain’s Stupidest Postman, and The Man At Parties No-One Wants To Talk To.
I also remember a sketch where BBC Radio 3 had a new controller who wanted to take that highbrow station in a rather unexpected direction with various noisy new shows and jingles. The theme music was also rather distinctive, featuring lots of bleeping telephone noises, and the ending of one edition stuck with me because it was very bizarre, as the credits claimed that among the list of writers was “a smell”, and the producer was dressed as Batman.
As always with these type of shows, the quality of the sketches did vary, but there were some good and rather unusual ideas, the material was always performed well by the cast, and plenty of them went on to bigger things. There were two series of Dial M For Pizza, although they don’t seem to have been repeated lately. If it’s not a show you’re familiar with, I definitely recommend finding out more.