Ooh, that sounds a bit rude, doesn’t it! Nevertheless, the time has come to not only hear new comedy material from one of Red Dwarf‘s co-creators, but to hear it in his own voice. Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall have written *and* performed Radio 4’s The Nether Regions, also starring Helen Cripps, Edward Rowett and Holly Morgan, and it airs tonight at 11pm on BBC Radio 4. It will also be available thereafter on BBC Sounds and the programme page, for those too sleepy. This broadcast pilot, which was produced by Hudzen 10, marks a return to sketch comedy from two of its most distinguished exponents, and we’re very much looking forward to it. Do let us know what you reckon.

And if you haven’t already, why not warm up by listening to our interview with the pair of writer-performers?

24 comments on “Let’s Talk About The Nether Regions

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  • Yeah, stick it to those vegans and their noble lifestyle because some of them are apparently a bit up themselves about it (not the ones I’ve known). If there’s a full series, I hope they lay into those tree-hugging electric car drivers who are trying to ruin things for everyone!

    Didn’t enjoy much of that, as much as I wanted to. The Bible Belt radio bit was quite funny, had some bite that the ‘real-life Amazon’ skit surprisingly lacked.

  • For some reason I had it in my head that this was going to be a bit more overt an Outer Limits/Twilight Zone parody, so I was a bit surprised that it was just a collection of random sketches.

    It felt like some of this had been sat on a shelf for a long time – sketches about Amazon shopping, 24 season 5 (from 2006!) and Game of Thrones all felt years out of date. Then when it started going back even further to Delia Smith and Alan Bennett I wondered whether there might be some kind of deliberate backwards time-travel element to it all.

    So yeah, the targets of the comedy felt a bit dated. Still, at least they stuck it to vegans and people with food allergies – take that, 2019!

    Having said all that, it wasn’t terribly unfunny – the squeaking bit got the best laughs from me, especially the part with the doppler effect, and the Alan Bennett stuff was quite good – but at the same time I didn’t find anything particularly hilarious either.

  • Just looking back at the blurb for this episode, it didn’t really feel like it matched the broadcast version.

    Join old men talking Sh*t – the call-in hosts of Impotent Rage FM – London’s premier station for exasperated seniors.

    Meet the permanently angry chef, who vents his foul-mouthed invective on diners with the temerity to question his serving Chicken on an Electric Fence with a side of Gasping Fish.

    Recoil in disgust as you witness the appalling conditions in backstreet emoji farms.

  • Did you listen to the interview Dwarfcast yet? I think they said they were still reworking it up to the recording, after writing that blurb, so the chef and other things got cut (or maybe some edited out, Niki’s ‘set report’ sounds like they recorded about 40 mins).

    I think this breed of sketch show just isn’t for me, since I never even listened beyond the first episode of certified Grant Naylor classic Cliché. I’m looking forward to Quanderhorn series 2 though (sounds like it’ll be a while).

  • because some of them are apparently a bit up themselves about it (not the ones I’ve known)

    Yeah, having known a lot of vegans over the years, I’ve never actually come across a single one who constantly goes on about it. The amount of people who go on about vegans going on about it, however, has been fairly high. There’s probably a sketch in that. I did enjoy the punchline to that sketch, still.

    I thought it was pretty funny overall. Not particularly groundbreaking, but most of the sketches made me laugh quite a bit. The ’70s cookery show was a highlight, along with “filthy bastard”. I don’t think it really lived up to the ‘Nether Regions’ conceit, though. Certainly most of the sketches had some sort of surreal element, but that’s true of a lot of sketch comedy.

    I’d definitely listen to a series if it came along, anyway.

  • Yeah, having known a lot of vegans over the years, I’ve never actually come across a single one who constantly goes on about it.

    Lucky you. I’ve met plenty.

  • Lucky you. I’ve met plenty.

    The amount of people who go on about vegans going on about it, however, has been fairly high.

  • I’ve given Cliché another try, I really like it now. Here’s an observation about Son of Cliché from whoever wrote Rob Grant’s website. For… no particular reason:

    They still shied away from contemporary parodies and topical satire, and, as a result, most of the material still holds up today. Let that be a lesson.

    In that spirit, The Nether Regions is rarely contemporary (I think Game of Thrones was the most current reference, and that’s finished), but its approach to parodies comes across like they were written at the time to tap into that ever-more-distant zeitgeist, rather than the more general parodies of Red Dwarf (and Dave Hollins) that you don’t even need to get to enjoy them*. Ends up feeling more instantly retro-dated than timeless, I think.

    * Though watching Back to Earth without having seen Blade Runner must seem really weird and random

  • BtE is probably less confusing than you imagine, because the homage is SO broad than it covers pretty much the entire last episode, meaning viewers without knowledge of the film would probably just follow it and think it was all made up / original ideas.

  • I didn’t think it’d be hard to follow, just always wondered how the ramping up references would come across if you weren’t included. If it’d be alienating, annoying or just taken for granted as Red Dwarf being weird. It really might be more impressive if you don’t know how much is directly lifted and shoehorned in. Knowledge doesn’t make it any funnier.

  • The scene with the “enhanced” photo is a great example of a Blade Runner reference done right. it still works as a silly bit of nonsense, irrespective of whether you know it’s a parody. It works within the context of the scene, rather than informing the context of the scene.

    This is the only example I can think of though. The rest of it is baffling. Someone who is familiar with Blade Runner is no better at answering “Why is this reference to Blade Runner here?” .

    Blade Runner has a very clear look to it. And when that’s informing stuff like Kochanski’s costume and hair-style (for no other reason than “Hey reference!”) it just seems unnecessarily odd.

  • Honestly to me it all worked absolutely fine, the most bizarre aspect would have to be Nose World, but that just comes off as wacky “lmao a dude who’s entire job is making noses” stuff, it isn’t confusing. I knew the photo manipulation stuff was a reference to something, but I thought it originated in bad detective shows like CSI etc. I thought Cat making little squids was really clever – it was a genuine mystery to me why he kept doing it, and I initially thought they looked like little rocket ships. If that’s a Blade Runner thing it makes it a little less clever in retrospect. I did remember thinking Kochanski looked pretty odd, but I thought the very heavy makeup and daft wig was just because she was old and they were trying to cover for that, or possibly it was an attempt to make it all seem the more dreamlike. Everything in Back to Earth works on a narrative/comedic level if you’ve never seen Blade Runner, it just makes it slightly more surreal.

  • I have never watched Blade Runner either. but there are a couple of moments that stood out as odd to me in BTE. like the whole jumping through glass thing. yeah its in Blade Runner. but why was it in Back to earth? it looked good visually, but what was the purpose of it in BTE?

  • Doug wanted to homage Blade Runner in direction, so wrote it that way.

    That’s pretty much it.

  • Bit late to the party, but I finally listened to this today!

    Well… I enjoyed a couple of the sketches, I guess. Probably would have enjoyed the Alan Bennett ones too if I understood the references, but alas I am not a man of culture.

    I definitely agree that it was weird how dated a lot of the set-ups were. Even the title/theme of the show is a parody of The Twilight Zone, which is far beyond played out at this point. The connecting “Nether Regions” segments were OK, but they weren’t even close to being as funny as the “Scary Door” bits from early Futurama.

    Another thing I noticed is that a fair few of the sketches seemed to have very direct descriptions of the premise/events being read out, almost as if they were reading out stage directions, which made it feel like it was meant to be a TV sketch show at first and they didn’t have time to rewrite. Perhaps I’m just being ignorant here, but if you need a narrator to interrupt the flow of a Tomorrow’s World parody to tell me that Rob Grant has transformed into a fat Welsh woman, then maybe the sketch is not suitable for a purely aural medium?

    Also, I feel a little bit bad about saying this (though not enough to just not say it, obviously), but Grant and Marshall’s lack of acting experience was pretty evident. I just couldn’t imagine any of Rob Grant’s characters being anything other than Rob Grant himself. I listened to the Dwarfcast interview with them, and I can’t remember if they gave a reason for acting in this other than ‘because they wanted to’, but I hope it a least saved the BBC a bit of money.

    One positive of this show is that it made me appreciate how good The Quanderhorn Xperimentations is. I think I’m looking forward to series 2 of that more now than I was yesterday.

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