Author Topic: Radio Active - Minorities Special  (Read 1333 times)

Radio Active - Minorities Special
« on: July 09, 2019, 12:10:55 PM »
https://t.co/xEVATY0myK

Heard this on the radio last night for the first time - I've heard most of the episodes several times over years of Radio 4 Extra, but not this one. It's pretty jaw-dropping by 2019 standards, isn't it?

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 12:29:32 PM »
Can’t listen to it at work - some nonsense about doing jobs or something - so what’s going on here to make this jaw dropping?

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2019, 01:14:21 PM »
so what’s going on here to make this jaw dropping?

It's not jaw dropping. I's a load of ropey old stereotypes and duff gags about Indian people and curry, Jamaicans and cannabis and a few bits about transvestites being beaten up. I suppose transexuals at the time were so out there they couldn't even contextualise it in the context of a politically incorrect joke.

Radio Active is a terrible show, poorly written and conceived it stands as one of the few things Geoffrey Perkins was involved with that was mainly rubbish. Every episode has a musical number, despite the fact that nobody could write any decent parodies (sorry Phillip Pope). Must have been an angle to get a bigger budget or something.

It's weird because by the 1980s the right on, politically correct attitude was well underway by then.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2019, 01:17:08 PM »
Maybe that was my bad phrasing - I meant more that I was surprised this one would be repeated these days.

The musical number thing really dates it - it's such an 80s thing to me - but more so that the songs are either no longer familiar or too far removed from what they are meant to be satirizing.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2019, 01:31:05 PM »
I meant more that I was surprised this one would be repeated these days.

I'm much more disturbed by things being quietly banned because they don't quite reach the PC standards that prevail in that particular week. Much better to let people listen and make up their own mind.

It's the Huckleberry Finn being friends with Jim argument again.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2019, 01:35:21 PM »
The musical number thing really dates it - it's such an 80s thing to me - but more so that the songs are either no longer familiar or too far removed from what they are meant to be satirizing.

They're piss poor. Terribly written, cliche ridden and just awful. The Bee Gees parody is basically one gag about them having high voices repeated for two minutes. Even if that genius observation about the Bee Gees singing in high voices appealed or amused at the start of the song, by the end you've had enough of that. Listening to the episode again just makes it worse.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2019, 01:35:45 PM »
I'm aware it was of its time, but taking the piss out of the character with cerebral palsy (I think?) for not being able to speak properly was a bit much for me.

It's not about banning things, you know? More that what the general public finds offense at has changed a lot since and it surprised me that they hadn't removed it from the rotation.

Autopsy Turvey

  • Albert The Grinder vs The Hooded Terror
Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2019, 02:11:11 PM »
Radio Active is a terrible show, poorly written and conceived it stands as one of the few things Geoffrey Perkins was involved with that was mainly rubbish.

It has plenty of funny bits in it, far more so than The Catherine Tate Show, Benidorm or Don't Quote Me. This isn't a great episode, but I love the advert for a shampoo that "weeps openly when you leave the bathroom".

Quote
Every episode has a musical number, despite the fact that nobody could write any decent parodies (sorry Phillip Pope).


Phillip Pope could write decent parodies, obviously, but he did seem to take the best ones to Spitting Image.

The musical number thing really dates it - it's such an 80s thing to me - 

Every episode has a musical number because Radio Active is a parody of a local radio show, where you get songs quite a lot, still, even now, when it's not the 80s.

Quote
It's weird because by the 1980s the right on, politically correct attitude was well underway by then.

Well quite, and this episode was poking fun at that, and at the well-meaning but cack-handed attempts at ethnic representation that you might have found in a local radio station that was trying to be trendy in the 80s.

It's not about banning things, you know? More that what the general public finds offense at has changed a lot since and it surprised me that they hadn't removed it from the rotation.

I don't know that the 'general public' finds any of this sort of thing genuinely 'offensive'. I think what's changed is the ability of a handful of disgruntled activists to draw attention to themselves by making such an immediate big noisy stink that we conclude their hysterical sensitivities and lack of humour are shared by a majority of folk. They're not, the majority of folk are fairly robust and sensible and can deal with a few naughty jokes, even ones from 30 years ago.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2019, 02:32:56 PM »
Philip Pope's songs were fucking great, so there!

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2019, 02:41:52 PM »
[...] a few naughty jokes, even ones from 30 years ago.
I was going to say it's not that old... only to find that in fact the pilot aired 39 years ago, aggggggggh.*

I did get pissed with Geoffrey Perkins a few times though.**

*Hm. A questionably useful contribution from me there. 
**And again.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2019, 02:47:21 PM »
I work in compliance, I spend a lot of my work day considering what the general public may or may not find offensive, that's why it surprised me that the episode is still airing...not whether I personally am offended (it was mostly just lazy and dated for me). I'm not even Graham Linehan!

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2019, 02:48:34 PM »
(And yes, I know exactly the kind of people you're talking about - still remember the article from a 'disability activist' which argued that people who have alzheimer's should be cast in films about alzheimers rather than non-disabled actors)

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2019, 03:11:46 PM »
[...]
Well quite, and this episode was poking fun at that, and at the well-meaning but cack-handed attempts at ethnic representation that you might have found in a local radio station that was trying to be trendy in the 80s.
[...]

Yes that's my reading of its intention although it only really achieves it with the West Indian guy and his proverbs at the end. The rest of it seems to be mocking the minorities as much as the insincerity of the hosts. And the cerebral palsy bit is just childish and mean.

From what I remember all of the characters in this and even moreso in KYTV were unlikeable and this pokes fun not so much at the well-meaning but cack-handed attempts to be politically correct but at the insincere attempts to get on the PC bandwagon (which is pretty much what Angus Deayton says in the preamble).

The only but I liked in this was the ads - which is in line with the content and style that I found funny when I first listened to it and what it did best.

Can you still say cack-handed? Probably get put in prison these days etc.

Autopsy Turvey

  • Albert The Grinder vs The Hooded Terror
Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2019, 03:39:49 PM »
And the cerebral palsy bit is just childish and mean.

Cerebral palsy isn't specified, surely? It's just a man with a speech impediment who's taking too long to request a song. I can't deny I find childishness and meanness funny, but surely a CP sufferer would recognise the truth/humour in that exchange more keenly? After all the joke is on the impatient DJ and the non-stop vapid chatter policy of commercial radio.

I work in compliance, I spend a lot of my work day considering what the general public may or may not find offensive

Interesting! Presumably individual members of the public find all sorts of things offensive if they have direct recent experience of the thing being made fun of? Dead pets were always a big problem, is it still? Or is microwaving a cat now less offensive to Joe Public than a white man doing a Jamaican accent? Funny old business.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2019, 03:44:38 PM »
Philip Pope's songs were fucking great, so there!
 

I find the parody songs in Radio Active to be unlistenable cringe parties.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2019, 06:42:18 PM »
Or is microwaving a cat now less offensive to Joe Public than a white man doing a Jamaican accent? Funny old business.

Depends. Is it a black cat?

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2019, 08:04:59 PM »
I thought this was... alright.

It's ok, I #cancelled myself years ago.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2019, 08:28:44 PM »
Loved Radio Active when I was a child and have happy memories of listening to it at lunch with my parents. I listened to some recently and was ......surprised.  There was one particular bit when Mike Channel talked about going on holiday with his wife and children, and meeting up with a hunky Italian (?) tour guide.  Who, predictably, had sex with his wife.  And then - this was the bit I didn't see coming - also with the children.  (Age unspecified, presumably not children, but even so...)

Now that I've typed that, it seems so unlikely that I wonder if I dreamed it.  Anyone else remember that one?

(I also remember that I liked the character names - Mike Flex, Anna Daptor....but I felt a bit sorry for Mike Hunt because his name didn't have a joke.  In my defence, I was only about 6 when it first came on.)

Autopsy Turvey

  • Albert The Grinder vs The Hooded Terror
Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2019, 09:30:45 PM »
There was one particular bit when Mike Channel talked about going on holiday with his wife and children, and meeting up with a hunky Italian (?) tour guide.  Who, predictably, had sex with his wife.  And then - this was the bit I didn't see coming - also with the children.  (Age unspecified, presumably not children, but even so...)
Now that I've typed that, it seems so unlikely that I wonder if I dreamed it.  Anyone else remember that one?

Yes! The tour guide had sex with his wife, and his daughter, and his son. Ages weren't specified, but I remember getting the impression that they were all having sex together in front of him. "They really look after you on these package holidays." Always a bit of a deviant, Deayton.


Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2019, 09:44:38 PM »
Yes! The tour guide had sex with his wife, and his daughter, and his son. Ages weren't specified, but I remember getting the impression that they were all having sex together in front of him. "They really look after you on these package holidays." Always a bit of a deviant, Deayton.

So glad someone else confirmed that.  I honestly started to wonder if I just have an incredibly dirty mind and hallucinated it.

It was like the Radio 4 lunchtime version of the Aristocrats.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2019, 09:50:31 PM »
I have fond memories of listening to it as a kid with my Dad en route to the football.
It must have been broadcast on Saturdays at lunchtime - possibly directly before or after repeats of The Goon Show.

Maurice Yeatman

  • His Reverence won't like it
Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2019, 11:18:20 PM »
Philip Pope's songs were fucking great, so there!

Yep. Loads of the pastiches on the Hee Bee Gee Bees albums are great.

Eagles - Dead Cicada  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS9M8P2YSLk
McCartney - Simple Song  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MmGVEWy0ik

Jake Thingray

  • Chacun a son gout, that is yer actual French.
    • Journalisted
Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2019, 11:45:30 PM »
My fond memories of Radio Active were that it was a Radio 4 equivalent of Not the Nine O'Clock News. I've listened to the ep linked to above and afraid to say, its televisual equivalent would be The Goodies.

kidsick5000

  • Gotta be groovy for the moovy
Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2019, 04:02:50 AM »
Radio Active has turned up again elsewhere as the true originator of the "Ringo not even the best drummer in The Beatles" joke.

As for the song (aside from if you have a talent like Phil Pope, you'd want him doing what he excels at) were the rules for radio the same as TV?
I remember The Young Ones crew realised they'd get more money as a variety show than a sitcom, hence the bands.
If those rules applied to radio...

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2019, 08:00:29 AM »
As for the song (aside from if you have a talent like Phil Pope, you'd want him doing what he excels at) were the rules for radio the same as TV?
I remember The Young Ones crew realised they'd get more money as a variety show than a sitcom, hence the bands.
If those rules applied to radio...

Oddly, when it transferred to (KY)TV, the songs weren't part of it.
You'd think that it would be easy to shoehorn a 'pop video of the week' onto a telly show about a bad TV channel.

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2019, 08:11:39 AM »
I thought the Young Ones thing was because the BBC's comedy unit turned them down, not because there was more money?

There were bits of Radio Active that were okay but they didn't appear to have really listened to much local radio and it seemed like they never had enough material so it was rather padded out. Oddly after satirising local radio, several of the team then went off to Capital Radio to do a part topical sketch / part music show called Brunch when Capital was experimenting with a Sunday-only AOR service called CFM. With Jeremy Pascal they also did a series for Capital called The Uncyclopedia of Rock which isn't bad and some of which was later reworked into a book. (There's a few things from Capital's comedy output from its earlier years that could find a home on 4 Extra but seem to have vanished entirely - maybe there's impossible rights issues, though there were also stories that a big chunk of their archive ended up in a skip when they moved offices.)

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2019, 10:35:11 PM »
I used to love Radio Active as I was growing up, but even then I felt it ran out of steam quite early on.

I discovered it at the tail end of series 2, by series 4/5 I was losing interest.

I forget which show or even which series, but there's a sketch where Anna Daptor is at a carnival or somesuch, and being pursued by a (Jamaican?) guy whose intent seems to be to rape her, and she's trying to escape him and hide from him. Even at the time I found this unpleasant listening.


Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2019, 11:14:26 PM »

 forget which show or even which series, but there's a sketch where Anna Daptor is at a carnival or somesuch, and being pursued by a (Jamaican?) guy whose intent seems to be to rape her, and she's trying to escape him and hide from him. Even at the time I found this unpleasant listening.

Wasn't that the premise of every episode of Pepe le Pew?

Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2019, 05:37:21 PM »
I remembered enjoying it as a child & downloaded a shedload of episodes last year to relisten.  Couldn't believe how awful it sounds now, Phil Pope's work aside.  It's basically sneering at anyone & everyone, particularly women and what-they'd-probably-call "darkies".  Even allowing for the change in attitudes since then, I'm really surprised at how nastily it comes across.  There's parodying crap local radio, and then there's relentless punching down.  Very unpleasant. 

Autopsy Turvey

  • Albert The Grinder vs The Hooded Terror
Re: Radio Active - Minorities Special
« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2019, 01:40:35 AM »
Yeah it was a nasty sneering show, but at least that's because they were the perspectives of fictional and deliberately awful radio presenters. A few years later the Mary Whitehouse boys were doing their nasty sneering as themselves (and I still find them funny too).

There was a lot of this airy disdain and blithe callousness in comedy in the 80s, maybe everyone wanted to be John Cleese.