Clare in the Community

BBC Radio 4 live recording
The Drill Hall, London
(2004)

This new radio sitcom is due to be broadcast in six episodes from late November onwards (Tuesdays at 11.30 am). It was the first live radio recording I've ever been to, and I was impressed, firstly by the large and enthusiastic audience it attracted, and secondly by the entertainment value of the whole experience. The ten actors, headed by Sally Phillips, Gemma Craven, Alex Lowe and Nina Conti, were a joy to watch and listen to, and the script was funny and true to life.

Clare is a social worker who, we are told, prefers to meddle in other people's problems rather than deal with her own. We meet her long-term partner Brian, her colleagues, her sister, and her new neighbours, and quickly become engrossed in her daily dilemmas.

Guardian readers will no doubt recognise the title, for Clare has been appearing on a weekly basis in the newspaper's pages for nearly ten years, in the form of a strip cartoon by Harry Venning. Some of the cartoons have also been published in book form. In fact, if you picture in your mind a four-part cartoon strip, the laughs in the radio sitcom seem to come just as frequently: setup-setup-setup-punchline. It's possible that being able to see the actors made the script even funnier, and I'm sure there's potential for a televised version. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to hearing the show on the radio when it comes out.

Gill Stoker