Tag Archives: comedy

Tea & Review: ‘Fish’ Podcast is the Ultimate Edutainment Experience

{All images used courtesy the No Such Thing as a Fish Facebook page.}

No Such Thing as a Fish
produced by BBC Two / QI
Hosted by James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber.
Released weekly, with an approximate running time of 60 minutes.
Started March 2014.

Did you know that there is an American cricket team in Compton (as in ‘Straight Outta….’)? How about that symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller coaster ride? And Leonardo da Vinci made sculptures out of marzipan and got angry when people ate them. These are just some of the fun facts you will learn when you start listening to the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish.

Started three years ago this month, the podcast is a byproduct of the British quiz show QI. Hosted by the researchers of said show, who are cheekily titled the QI Elves, the podcast combines the best of British humor and the fun parts of research and education.

Each week, the approximately hour long podcast is hosted by four of the Elves (mostly James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber, although they occasionally have someone else come in for one of them). They each present their favorite fact they came across that week, and then discuss it. The topics range from somewhat serious to outright hilarious, and are always fascinating.

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What I Had Hoped to Get from ‘Sherlock’

{All images courtesy BBC One.}

So, Sherlock series 4 has come and gone, and I’ve already expounded greatly (to the tune of over 4,000 words) how much “The Final Problem” was a horrible way to end the show, if indeed it is the last episode of the series. In said review, I wrote about my expectations for the show, and how that may have been a problem going in. It got me thinking of all the little things I had hoped to get out of series 4 (and even series 3 for some of these) and that I hope we get to, should the series ever make a comeback. Some are silly, and some are legitimate things I wished the show would explore.

As a fan of both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman beyond Sherlock, I’ve had the opportunity to hear both of them sing (i.e., Cumberbatch sang in August Osage County, and Freeman in Saving Santa), and while they aren’t exactly Tony award winners (Freeman especially), they can at least carry a tune in a bucket. So, why haven’t we had a musical episode? If we have to maintain ‘realism’ (which, considering the James Bondness of series 4, I will have problems if THAT’S the only reason why), have it where Sherlock has to take the place of an actor in a stage musical. (Maybe even where we see that when Sherlock actually TRIES to act, he’s horrible at it? And dear God, the idea of what Martin would do if John had to be on stage as well: I keep thinking of that tag scene from “The Puppet Show” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

In fact, I wish the show would’ve let both Freeman and Cumberbatch show off their comedic chops more often. Yes, the show is a drama and we should take it seriously, but all the best dramas are interspersed with comedy, and both Freeman and Cumberbatch have great comedic timing. Which leads into another silly one: we finally got a canon ‘The game’s afoot’ (one legitimate one in “The Abominable Bride”, and one of Sherlock quoting the source in “The Lying Detective”): couldn’t we have gotten John to say “No shit, Sherlock” even once?

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Prepare for Takeoff: BBC Radio 4 Rebroadcasts ‘Cabin Pressure’

{All images used courtesy BBC Radio 4}

Note: all quotes come from Wikiquote.

Brilliant!

The BBC Radio 4 sitcom, Cabin Pressure, is currently being rebroadcast from the beginning. But hurry up – the first episode of series 1 only has five more days.

If you’re unaware of this lovely piece of comedy writing, the basic story is of an airline company … well, make that an airplane. “I don’t have an airline. I have one jet. You cannot put one jet in a line. If MJN is anything, it is an air dot,” as the head of the company, Carolyn Knapp-Shappey (Stephanie Cole) states in the first episode, “Abu Dhabi”.

Having gotten the jet in a divorce, Carolyn sets out to run a private charter company. Accompanying her on this is her not-so-bright son Arthur (played by the show’s creator and writer John Finnemore). She has two pilots: “I have a good pilot and a safe pilot; and the safe pilot’s in charge of the good pilot,” as she says in “Ipswitch”. One of the pilots – the good one – is First Officer Douglas Richardson, played with smarmy fun by Roger Allam (V for Vendetta and the original Javert in the London Les Misérables). The safe pilot is Captain Martin Crieff, played with comedic incompetence by some actor named Benedict Cumberbatch (not sure if you’ve heard of him, or anything: it’s not like he’s been getting any roles lately).

While the show is primarily the four of them, there are the occasional guest stars, including later in the series a recurring spot for Anthony Head (known as Anthony Stewart Head here in the states) as a sometimes dater of Carolyn.

Photo from the last recording session.

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TAPES: CHAPTER ONE

Who knew the Apocalypse would look so dated?

We had come so far, turned so many pages but, in the end, none of that mattered.

The tapes had taken over and that was that.

Looking back, we should have expected it, especially with the rise of the Internet all over the world. We thought CD’s and DVD’s were the next step and, for a while they were, but physical media soon crumbled under the awesome weight of the virtual, the unseen. The tapes remained, old and dusty, waiting for a chance to rise again. The world would embrace VHS once more: or else.

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