Thursday, April 01, 2010

On The Hour


“In the Beginning was the News, and the News was Good!”

Everybody has already heard about the art of rhetoric, which is the art of elegant and persuasive communication. The speaker uses all kinds of techniques to make his speech sound convincing and true, even if he is not necessarily telling the truth. Rhetoric is part and parcel of the series On The Hour broadcast by the BBC. On The Hour is often considered to be one of the best, if not the best radio comedy series from the late 20th century. The programme is a real satire parodying current affairs as well as the way in which they are reported. When listening to the programme, the news might at first sound plausible until the listeners realized that it was complete nonsense. Just for the pleasure of the ears, here is an example of a news bulletin about children’s education.

The cast and the crew of On The Hour involved a great deal of people: Chris Morris, Armando Iannucci, Steven Wells, Andrew Glover, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring and David Quantick were responsible for its writing and Steve Coogan, Patrick Marber, David Schneider, Doon Mackichan and Rebecca Front regularly appeared in it. On The Hour consists of two series of 6 episodes each and was broadcast on BBC Radio Four between August 1991 and May 1992.

On The Hour saw the first appearance ever of Alan Partridge, the very well-known fictional tv and radio presenter created and portrayed by Steve Coogan. He reported mainly about sports but did not really know anything about sports, which led him to use strange metaphors.

At one point Stewart Lee and Richard Herring entered into conflict about a copyright problem and this was the end of On The Hour. However, this did not mean the public had to say goodbye to Alan Partridge and their other idols. Indeed the programme became The Day Today and was broadcast on BBC Two; people could at last see these stars in the flesh. On The Hour was so much appreciated in the radio world that it got several awards and prizes, including the Writer’s Guild Award for Best Comedy and the British Comedy Award for Best Radio Comedy (1992). Last but not least, in 2008 a double CD came out with all the episodes of On The Hour, including the Christmas Special (series one).

“Man is only 90% water, but On The Hour is 100% news!”

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