The Complete History of the BBC in 60 Minutes (Abridged)

A very welcome return for one of the most entertaining and informative shows that I saw at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe – “The Complete History Of The BBC In 60 Minutes “. Although, this time, it is in a slightly abridged and revised edition, thus bringing it bang up to date for the audience of 2013.

Conceived and co-written by actress Alix Cavanagh, she is ably partnered by a new actor who (in the best Doctor Who tradition) is regenerated into the bouncing and eager form of Paul Thomas.

So how can you possibly squeeze over 8 decades of radio & TV programmes, involving hundreds of individuals, and hours upon hours of all star lavish entertainments from the BBC’s back catalogue, into roughly sixty minutes of stage time? Well, our pleasing and entertaining couple (in the guises of the slightly bickering Terrance & Ingrid) cleverly manage to whisk their audience through the time tunnel of “Auntie Beeb’s” broadcasting triumphs – as well as not forgetting to mention the odd embarrassing flop into the bargain.

Both actors illustrate (with lashings of boisterous good humour) the highs and the lows of television and radio, whilst emphasising in a chummy and not preachy manner, just what it was that made the BBC such an important and integral part of British society.
From documentaries to children’s shows, from serious groundbreaking drama (often with bonnets which pleased Ingrid) to sit-coms, and from major sporting events to the arrival of reality programmes and soaps. Nothing it seems was spared their dissecting curiosity and evaluation.

And yet how do you deal with the more recent controversial aspects of the BBC’s history? Very quickly it seems, as Ingrid abruptly halts Terrance just as he was about to wax lyrical about the popularity of Top Of The Pops, as well as the significance (from a historical standpoint) of a certain cigar smoking former disgraced DJ, whose name we shall not mention. Ingrid, displaying both sense & sensibility (more bonnets for her!) stops him in his tracks and swiftly moves on to “something completely different…”
Perhaps just as well as I believe that this was – more or less – a show for all the family!

Once again the talented Ms Cavanagh, with her new “regenerated” on-stage partner, presents a show overflowing with nostalgic tit-bits that those of a certain age (of whom I include my good self) will warmly welcome and appreciate. Light-hearted, witty and informative, the show moves at a rapid pace giving insight into what was – and hopefully might well still be? – a proud institution. And one that continues to grip fast on the emotions, opinions and imaginations of the British public.

Although I do wonder how they would tackle a journey through that elusive foreign territory know to all as ITV??

So, a welcome return to the Fringe from old friends Terrance & Ingrid, and another terrific show to catch up with. Regardless of whether you have yet to renew your Licence Fee!!!

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