Laughed Off The Page

Going behind the script, lifting the lid on those who make us laugh for a living, and meeting the writers who have crafted some of our best comedy.


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Ian Pattison wrote for the likes of A Kick up the Eighties before his career really took off with Rab C Nesbitt.

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She talks to Andy Hamilton, who has written for performers including Marti Caine, Les Dawson and Dave Allen as well as creating and scripting Drop the Dead Donkey.

Lynn also discovers Andy's hidden talent for singing.

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Dick Vosburgh started writing comedy in the 1950s, and since then you'd be hard pushed to name a comedian who hasn't used his material.

Comedienne Lynn Ferguson discovers how he came to write funny lines for Bob Hope

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Sanjeev Kohli goes beyond the script and puts us face to face with comedy writer Graham Linehan whose comedy credits seem almost endless: Father Ted, Black Books, The IT Crowd, Big Train, The Day Today, The Fast Show...the list goes on and on.

In conversation with Sanjeev, Graham reveals what drives him to keep making us laugh.

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Sanjeev Kohli goes beyond the script with writing partners Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the minds behind Peep Show and The Old Guys, to find out just what makes them tick.

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In a local conversation for local people, Sanjeev Kohli explores the minds of two of the darkest and funniest writers in comedy - Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton

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Sanjeev Kohli goes beyond the script and puts us face to face with comedy writer John Sullivan, whose programmes you'd have to work very hard to have missed.

The man behind Only Fools and Horses, Citizen Smith, Just Good Friends and many more talks to Sanjeev about how it all began and how it kept on going and going and going.

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Rob Grant cut his comedy teeth writing for programmes like The News Huddlines and Son of Cliche.

In television some of the biggest names in comedy including Jasper Carrot, Bob Monkhouse and Ken Dodd have used his funny lines.

Talking to Janice Forsyth he explains about the strains of writing for those mighty Spitting Image puppets and how he was one of the men responsible for Red Dwarf.

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Neil Innes is regarded as the 7th member of the Monty Python team.

The creative force behind the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band he wrote their hit song I'm the Urban Spaceman.

Neil was Ron Nasty in The Rutles and a performer in The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour.

Still writing comic songs he talks to Janice Forsyth about his lifetime in comedy.

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3/7Jonathan Lynn talks to Janice Forsyth about the sitcoms Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister which he co-wrote with Anthony Jay.

Jonathan made his television debut along with John Cleese and Graham Chapman on the Ed Sullivan Show on American television and he admits to feeling utter terror when told there would be nearly 70 million people watching.

During a career spanning nearly four decades he has appeared in the British sitcom The Liver Birds, wrote the film script for Nuns on the Run and has now brought Yes, Prime Minister up to date for the new stage production.

Jonathan Lynn talks to Janice Forsyth about the political comedy Yes, Prime Minister.

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Janice Forsyth meets some of our top comedy writers to discover the secrets behind those funny lines.

Having given up work as a journalist David Nobbs was soon contributing to the 1960's satirical TV show That Was The Week That Was.

Working with Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker he wrote the wonderful Rook Restaurant sketch for The Two Ronnies.

His most famous creation is undoubtedly Reginald Perrin which was a big hit with Leonard Rossiter and has found a further audience with the new series staring Martin Clunes.

Other notable successes included A Bit of a Do and Fairly Secret Army.

Talking to Janice Forsyth, David talks about his lifetime in comedy and they share a few of the funniest moments.

David Nobbs tells Janice Forsyth the stories behind his comedy character Reggie Perrin.

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Peter Baynham's comedy career path is very different to that of most writers.

He spent several years in the Merchant Navy before dipping his toe in the comedy waters.

Stand-up was followed by writing material for radio comedy including Week Ending.

Never shy of pushing the boundaries of taste, in television collaborations with Chris Morris led to him writing for Brass Eye and with Armando Iannucci and Steve Coogan he wrote the acclaimed sitcom I'm Alan Partridge.

Now in demand in the film world he worked with Sacha Baron Cohen on Borat and again on Bruno and has recently written the screenplay for the re-make of the film Arthur staring Russell Brand and Helen Mirran.

From a studio in Los Angeles Peter tells Janice Forsyth about his extraordinary career and how he still remembers the thrill of hearing his first sketch played on the radio.

From radio comedy to Hollywood movies, Peter Baynham is one of our top comedy writers.

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Does My Bum Look Big In this? - Arabella Weir's creation of the 'Insecure Woman' became one of the most popular characters in The Fast Show.


Janice Forsyth meets some of our top comedy writers to discover the secrets behind those funny lines.

Does My Bum Look Big In this? Arabella Weir's creation of the 'Insecure Woman' became one of the most popular characters in The Fast Show.

Born in San Francisco to Scottish parents Arabella was brought up listening to the likes of the Goon Show on radio and watching Stanley Baxter on television.

Now an established novelist and comedy writer Arabella talks about the various characters she has created and reveals details of her new Glasgow comedy character.

Janice and Araballa have laughs along the way as they chat about her lifetime in comedy and listen to some classic clips.

Laughter all the way as Janice Forsyth meets top Scottish comedy writer Arabella Weir

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is one of our most successful comedy writers.

Writing and appearing with Jasper Carrott he first made his name in Carrott Confidential and Canned Carrott.

Steve was involved in The Mary Whitehouse Experience on television and It's Been a Bad Week and The Now Show on Radio.

In conversation with Janice Forsyth, Steve explains how he got into comedy, talks about his long term partnership with Hugh Dennis and they listen to some funny moments along the way.

Prolific writer Steve Punt tells Janice Forsyth about his love of laughter and comedy.

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Comedy writers Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement discuss their most successful sitcoms.


Comedy writing legends Ian La Frenais & Dick Clement discuss their most successful sitcoms with Janice Forsyth which includes national favourites, The Likely Lads and Porridge.

The duo discuss how they formed their writing partnership and how their journey and lives as sitcom writers has developed over the years.

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Greg Hemphill speaks to Janice Forsyth about his writing partnership with Ford Kiernan and how they went on to enjoy huge success with the BBC sketch show 'Chewin The Fat' and the popular sitcom 'Still Game'.

Greg also talks about the intensity of a writing partnership and how his friendship with Ford was a casualty of the success they both shared.

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Simon Nye speaks to Janice Forsyth about his writing partnership with David Nobbs and their decision to resurrect Reggie Perrin. Simon also explains how he adapted his novel 'Men Behaving Badly' into the popular television sitcom.

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Comedy genius David Renwick speaks to Janice Forsyth about creating the hit sitcom 'One Foot In The Grave' as well as that iconic character 'Victor Meldrew'.

David also shares his experiences of working with The 'Two Ronnies' and how he came up with that classic 'Mastermind' sketch.

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Richard Herring talks to Janice Forsyth about his career as a comedy writer and performer.