Alan partridge

Joel Morris: Be Funny Or Die

50 min listen

My guest in this week’s Book Club is Joel Morris, an award-winning comedy writer whose credits run from co-creating Philomena Cunk to writing gags for Viz and punching up the script for Paddington 2. In his new book Be Funny Or Die, he sets out to analyse how and why comedy works. He tells me why there are only three keys on the clown keyboard, what laughter does for us in neurological terms, and why Laurel and Hardy could get away with anything.

What’ll happen next – or what’s happened so far – is anybody’s guess: The Ipcress File reviewed

ITV’s new version of The Ipcress File began with a close-up of a pair of black-rimmed glasses just like those worn by Michael Caine in the 1965 film. They were then put on by their owner (Joe Cole), thus transforming him into Harry Palmer – but also neatly establishing the kind of show we were in for. Sunday’s first episode did a fine job of setting up an impeccably twisty (i.e. confusing) Cold War plot. It spared no effort in its quest to show us that the Britain of 1963 was on the Brink of Social Change. And yet, neither of these things really got in the way of its

Fare game: life as The Spectator’s restaurant critic

A fictional Spectator restaurant critic called Forbes McAllister appeared on Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge. He was played by Patrick Marber and was obviously based on Keith Waterhouse — bow tie, mad eyes — even if Waterhouse was never the restaurant critic at this magazine. McAllister was on TV to show off Lord Byron’s duelling pistols ‘and a lock of his stupid hair’. He bought them to annoy Michael Winner, then restaurant critic at the Sunday Times. ‘Are you entirely motivated by hatred?’ Partridge asked McAllister. It was his best ever question. ‘Yes, I think I am,’ said McAllister. ‘Rather perceptive of you. I hate you.’ Partridge then