Monday, 12 August 2013

Hello, remember me?

I bet you're really sick of looking at Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Sorry about the silence, I've had my hands a bit full of writing and recording the new series of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, which is now DONE, and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 starting next month.

(In the meantime, you can buy the first series, and pre-order the second, on CD here:


…but this is very bad manners, to disappear for the best part of six weeks, and then just hit you with adverts; so here's something else: a sketch from the new series which I really like, but which we can't use, because a good friend sorrowfully broke the news to me after the recording that it's got a lot in common with a bit of stand-up Ricky Gervais used to do. So, here it is, for your eyes (and no-one but the studio audience's ears) only, as a sort of DVD extra…


FX                                 HORSE GALLOPS UP TO GATES.

KNIGHT                       (LAWRY) Watchman, ho! Raise the alarm! The Vikings are invading! Summon the King’s men, they must immediately ride out to battle!

WATCHMAN               (JOHN) The King’s men?

KNIGHT                       Yes!

WATCHMAN               Oohh… they’re not in.

KNIGHT                       Not in? What do you mean, not in?

WATCHMAN               They’re out.

KNIGHT                       What, all of them?

WATCHMAN               Yep, all of them.

KNIGHT                       Well, where have they gone?

WATCHMAN               They’re, um… Well, I’ll tell you what they’re doing. They’re trying to put an egg back together again.

KNIGHT                       …An egg?

WATCHMAN               Yep.

KNIGHT                       Why?

WATCHMAN               It got broke. Fell off a wall. Very nasty.

KNIGHT                       An egg?

WATCHMAN               Yep.

KNIGHT                       And the King has sent… all his men?

WATCHMAN               Yep. And all his horses.

KNIGHT                       His horses? Why?

WATCHMAN               To get ‘em there faster, I spose. I can’t imagine it’s to help fix the egg.  

KNIGHT                       It seems an awful lot of trouble to go to for an egg.

WATCHMAN               True, sir, very true. But it’s a special egg. We’re all very fond of it.

KNIGHT                       Are you.

WATCHMAN               Oh yeah. We even gave it a name.

KNIGHT                       Right. Well, in that case, send a messenger after them with all speed, while I rouse the townfolk!

WATCHMAN               Aren’t you going to ask what name we gave it?

KNIGHT                       No! I’m trying to protect the kingdom from Vikings, I don’t what to know what you call the egg!

WATCHMAN               Humpty.

KNIGHT                       Humpty. Humpty the egg.

WATCHMAN               Not finished yet. Humpty… Dumpty.

KNIGHT                       Oh, so the egg has a surname?

WATCHMAN               It’s not a surname, really, so much as a nick-name. On account of his comical shape.

KNIGHT                       What shape?

WATCHMAN               Egg-shaped, sir. Did I not mention he was an egg? I thought I had.

KNIGHT                       Right. So you’re telling me that the kingdom has been left at the mercy of the approaching Viking hordes because the king’s entire military strength, human and equine, have been dispatched to reassemble an egg-shaped egg, which has fallen off a wall?

WATCHMAN               Could be, sir. Or, it could be that I’m not really the watchman at all, so much as a Viking advance guard instructed to stall you from raising the alarm by telling you whatever old nonsense comes into my head.

KNIGHT                       Zounds! Are you?

WATCHMAN               …No, sir. Just messing about. It’s the egg one.



Anonymous said...

While I haven't really tired of seeing the sketch (of Archbishop Tutu, i.e.), it is nice to read new words. Moreover, the sketch (the comedy one, this time) is excellent. Wish it could have been included in the final programme, though; the voices never are as funny in my head as they are on the show. But I do live 8000 km away, and can't be at the recordings in person...

I'm looking forward to the next season of JFSP. Will it have 6 episodes again?

sally said...

pahahahaha that's brilliant! i read it in yours and Lawry Lewin's voices. shame it couldn't go into the programme cos that's hilarious.
it's also made me realise how much i've missed the show. can't wait!

btw, yes, i have to say, i did get a bit tired of looking at Archbishop Desmond Tutu. (but only because i've been reading your old posts and every time i come onto your website, his face is the first thing i see, and i swear, i can almost see it when i close my eyes... :S still very good though

Sil T said...

So very happy about new episodes, I really missed it.

Unknown said...

Aww! I'm so sorry John, that was my favorite! Really excited anyway. Just please tell me that you can still broadcast 'sleepy towels'!
I was lucky enough to be at that recording, which happened to line up with the two weeks my family was in Britain--we live in North Dakota, USA, of all places. I was one of the ducks in the balcony being shot.
It was a wonderful way to kick off the first night of our holiday, and I think it cured my jet lag.

Valerie_S said...

Had the pleasure of attending one of the recordings of Souvenir Programme and had a great time. Looking forward to hearing that episode...

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm a big Vabin Pressure fan but do love all your work, I was wondering if we would or old somehow find ot the story behind Douglas getting kiked out of air england. We get the lue 'for having sticky fingers' and I am so curious to the rest I just had to ask!

Mary McFadden said...

Here's the thing...I purchased the other Souvenir Programs from iTunes using American money.

Your pound things are just too heavy to carry across the ocean and, besides, I get a hefty import surcharge for trying to buy anything - even ephemeral electronic things from Amazon UK, or decidedly unephemeral, solid things from Hobbs or Fortum & Mason or any UK shop. (Did you know that it costs $35 for a small box of F&M tea here! Hob Nobs are almost $5!)

Will the SP be on iTunes? Will JF ever be on the News Quiz? Why, oh why, does the BBC keep sending BBC America episodes of Top Gear and Kitchen Nightmares? Surely there's some English village with an inordinate number of amusing, if not outrageously comical, murders?

Luna said...

I don't remember you. Who are you? And what are you doing in my kitchen?!

Love the sketch, shame it can't be used! I'll start saying 'zounds' in its honour though. I really enjoyed the last SP recording! Can't wait for it to go out, so I can finally tell people about the posh man's song!

@ Mary McFadden - Pretty sure Finnemore was on The News Quiz a couple of years back? Also Sue Perkins I think... ? I could be wrong. Also, about the murder thing - never visit Chideock in the dark. It's a scary scary place. ;)

Anonymous said...

Mary - were you able to find all of the episodes on American iTunes? I was able to find all of the Cabin Pressures (after a delay) but only a fraction of the Souvenir programs.

Mary McFadden said...

What are you doing up so late? I'm avoiding doing more work, but you are avoiding rest!

I found 4 episodes of SP on iTunes. I don't know if that's all of them. I also recommend Old Harry's Game by Andy Hamilton which may be on Audible or/and iTunes.

slepkane said...

Desmon Tutu is my Isabella Rosselini Discombobulates a duck's phallus.

Ruth E said...

Hello John Finnemore,

good to have you back.
Also good it is still possible to look at the Archbishop si l'envie nous prend (that's with a posh French accent).
A week ago from today I boarded a plane by a cheap airline to leave London. I had not slept at all but had in my dream been curiously involved in a tennis match between England and Scotland (as part of the net).In the BBC of all places. I also hope you liked the biscuits.

...Bad manners me too, but I thought it was obvious: The sketch is great. The Souvenir Programme I dreamed of last Monday was exquisit. I will now push the button.

scientiste said...

Very sad that sketch won't be in the aired show; oh well, I was at the recording of the second (I think) show, so I know you've got plenty more up your sleeve... Looking forward very much to hearing it all!

Samantha said...

The watchman must have been heartbroken when he was told the news that the attempt to reassemble Humpty had failed. I'd like to remember the watchman as the happy-go-lucky chap he was, before the news (and the egg) got broken.

Samantha said...

Sorry, I forgot to say at the end there that I'm very much looking forward to your next Souvenir Programme! x

Hannah Littleton said...

That is brilliant, John! It's just as funny on paper (screen) as it would have been read out. Welcome back!

Also, just want to say I was on the way to a job interview the other day and was so nervous I felt sick. My brother and I put on the last episode of CP series 4 (the one with the job interview) to cheer me up. It worked.

Looking forward to more Souvenir episodes!

H :-)

Anonymous said...

I just discovered Cabin Pressure over here in the states (via amazon). It's not unusual for me to be crying from laughing so hard while listening on my drive home. "Qikiqtarjuaq" is the favorite so far, but I'm only halfway. Fantastic show, and thrilled to see you have other works out there. I'll definitely check those out.

Anonymous said...

Hey there. Glad to read you're still blogging. BTW will there be an episode Z to Cabin Pressure? It's a brilliant programme (as you probably know). Best wishes, Steph

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the next souvenir programme! Partner is getting tired of rehearing series 1 and 2.

For other Americans - I think CP and JFSP might be cheaper at than on itunes. If you want them as mp3s and not audiobooks then order the cds from the Book Depository or amazon uk.

Pauline Laing said...

We just had a performance of that sketch by our kids! Here's proof :

It went well, could you publish a few more? No? Oh, well, thanks for that one, anyway!

Rachel K said...

That sketch is ridiculously hilarious - I almost wish you hadn't put it up because now I'm not sure if I can wait until the show is available. Looking forward to it tremendously, anyway.

Cringing Wretch said...

Will the sketch be available in the "Director's Cut" CD set?

Mandy said...

Shame it has to go into the bin, but on the bright side, you must have the hell a lot more funnier things outside the bin. I know I won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

How could I/we forget? Good to see you back (though it sounds like you've been very busy doing great funny things so the absence entirely understandable.) The Tutu sketch is amazing, honestly.

Thanks for posting the deleted bit--very funny! Seeing you're continuing to write funny things makes me happy. I had a nerve-wracking interview the other week and gave Yverdon a re-listen afterwards. I felt Martin's pain.

--ks from Illinois

Verity said...

It'll be good to hear the new series - hurrah! I'm glad it's on its way.

(I recently finished listening to all of Cabin Pressure and adore it. Also your blog. On the subject of which, by the way, is its tit;e a reference to Dorry in What Katy Did? If not, apologies for the inane question.)

Anonymous said...

Just met Mattie Ziegler (Princess Teresa) on a flight to france. Please have her back for Z - I want Martin to be happy and she's a brilliant actress!

Pipit said...

SO glad you updated the blog! Yes, it was getting a bit old looking at Des all the time, though it IS a lovely sketch. but, I must say, John, it was worth the wait! LOVE the egg sketch! I always look forward to your fairy tale/children's story sketches. As Arthur would say, "Brilliant!" Can't wait for SP to air! Now get cracking with the Z episode of Cabin Pressure. (Not trying to be pushy, but new episodes of CP are some of the sweetest things in life.)

julz said...

Really really good news! So looking forward to a new series. And that sketch was hilarious!

Unknown said...

As instructed...first series ordered and enjoyed. Second series on pre-order. Excited about third.

Your writing is a favourite in our house. Arthur a hero.

Quote from my 10-year old daughter:

K: Mummy, how old is John Finnemore?

Me: I don't age. 37?

K: I hope he keeps writing until he is 107 years old.

Upon reflection I don't know whether I am upset that she is wishing you eternal life and inspiration (not me...her mother) or to be proud that she enjoys, appreciates and understands how clever your writing is.

Elloumua said...

Can't wait, going to happy dance until the second series is on the radio.

Christine said...

I'm so glad your wonderful Souvenir Programme is now out on CD's, this will make buying gifts very easy for a while, and means I get to share your lovely laughs with non-UK friends and family. Also glad they spelled your name on the CD sleeves correctly in the end.

What a shame the Humpty Dumpty sketch will not air. But I think any of us who have listened to the programme often, can do a pretty good reconstruction in our heads, now that you have been kind enough to post the text, thanks for that.

I was in the audience on your last recording day of JFSP3. First time I have witnessed a radio recording like that, you were all fantastic and I enjoyed it a lot. It was very interesting to see how it's done, and fun to put faces with the familiar voices. I'm quite in love with the Spiny Porcupine song. Sorry about being a bit dumbstruck, when you came up to me and said thank you for coming afterwards. But you took me by surprise, as I was only hanging around in the background to wait for friends who wanted autographs (don't collect autographs myself, and although I would like to tell you how brilliant I think your work is in person, I was mindful of it having run over time and the BBC people being in a hurry to get us out). Looking very much forward for this new series to air! I have listened to the first two series many times by now, and they still make me laugh out loud.

How long did it take for you to write each series? How large a percentage of what you wrote for series 3, actually made it to recording? Do you often make yourself laugh out loud as you write?

Please forgive all my spelling and grammar mistakes, me being wilfully and persistently a foreigner. A Viking actually, as it happens.

Anonymous said...

Hello, John--Such a delight to see an update on SP. Fabulous! Thank you.

Cheryl from Orange County, CA

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SEPTEMBER 3RD!!!!!!!!!!

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Kathryn fs said...

Dear John,
I have been away due to the circumstance of having to attend to some real world activities such as work and children home from university for a long long summer, where listening to the Complete Cabin Pressure on audiobook has been my only nightly pleasure...and tonight have been catapulted into a new rapture on finding a Souvenir back on the BBC!!! GOL (gasp out loud) to discover it IS a new series THANK YOU :):):)
PS. I am not a robot

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Anonymous said...

I'm having surgery under general anaesthetic on 3 September, and will be in recovery when JFSP is broadcast.
Must hide small radio w/earbuds in shabby dressing-gown so it won't get stolen; then I can distract myself from pain and hospital boredom when nurses aren't looking.
Note to self: Do not laugh at JFSP in ward, or nurses will use restraints for what they perceive as hospital psychosis. If in danger of giggling, think of something sad: e.g., dead kittens.

--Aunt Raven in Mancester

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