The programme gained cult status due to its unique mix of surreal monologue, music, synthesised voices, heavily edited broadcasts and recurring sketches. It featured the vocal talents of Kevin Eldon, Julia Davis, Mark Heap, David Cann and Amelia Bullmore. Morris himself delivered disturbing monologues, one of which was revamped and made into the BAFTA-winning short film, My Wrongs #8245–8249 & 117.
Format and style
Each episode opened (and closed) with a short spoken introduction (delivered by Morris) describing, in surreal, broken language, various bizarre feelings and situations, set to ambient music interspersed with short clips of other songs.
Common recurring sketches
- Doctor (played by David Cann): "The Doctor" is a seemingly "normal" physician working in a standard British medical practice. However, he has a habit of treating his patients in bizarre and often disturbing ways, such as prescribing heroin for a cold, making a man with a headache jump up and down in order to make his penis swing (while mirroring the patient's bewildered jumping himself) and making a patient leave and go into the next room so he can examine him over the telephone. His name is revealed to be Michael Perlin in several sketches.
- The Monologue Man (played by Chris Morris): Short stories, often up to 10 minutes in length, written from the perspective of a lonely and socially inept man. Invariably involving the man's acquaintance 'Susie', but in different capacities each time, Morris paints a picture of insanity with sober and reasonable clarity.
- Michael Alexander St. John: A parody of hyperbolic and pun-laden radio presenting, St. John presents items such as the top 10 singles charts and the weekend's gigs.
- Monged Sex: Short clips of two lovers (Julia Davis and Kevin Eldon) making increasingly bizarre erotic requests of one another, such as to "shit your leg off" and "make your spunk come out green".
- The Interviewer (played by Chris Morris): conducting real interviews with celebrities such as Andrew Morton and Jerry Springer, Morris confuses and mocks his subjects with ambiguous and odd questions.
- Mr. Ventham (played by Mark Heap): An extremely awkward man who requires one-to-one consultations with what seems to be his psychologist for the most banal of matters.
Morris included a series of 'radio stings', bizarre sequences of sounds and prose as a parody of modern DJs' own soundbites and self-advertising pieces. Each one revolves around a contemporary DJ, such as Chris Moyles, Jo Whiley and Mark Goodier.
All episodes were originally broadcast on BBC Radio 1 between November 1997 to February 1999. Original broadcasts per series, one episode per week, with each having six episodes:
- Series 1 – (Fridays) 14 November 1997 to 19 December 1997, from 12:00 to 01:00.
- Series 2 – (Fridays) 27 March 1998 to 1 May 1998, from 01:00 to 02:00.
- Series 3 – (Thursdays) 21 January 1999 to 25 February 1999, from 12:00 to 01:00.
The first five episodes of series 1 of Blue Jam was repeated by BBC Radio 4 Extra between February and March 2014.
Blue Jam was later made for television and broadcast on Channel 4 as Jam. It utilised unusual editing techniques to achieve an unnerving ambience in keeping with the radio show. Many of the sketches were lifted from the radio version, even to the extent of simply setting images to the radio soundtrack. A subsequent "re-mixed" airing, called Jaaaaam was even more extreme in its use of post-production gadgetry, often heavily distorting the footage.
Blue Jam CD
A CD of some of the best Blue Jam sketches was released on 23 October 2000 on Warp Records. Although the CD claims to have 22 tracks, the last one, "www.bishopslips.com," is a reference to the "Bishopslips" sketch. Most of the sketches on the CD were remade for Jam.
- Blue Jam Intro
- Doc Phone
- Lamacq sting
- 4 ft Car
- Suicide Journalist
- Bad Sex
- Mayo Sting
- Unflustered Parents
- Moyles Sting
- TV Lizards
- Doc Cock
- Hobbs Sting
- Morton interview
- Fix It Girl
- Kids Party
- Club News
- Whiley Sting
- Little Girl Balls
- Blue Jam Outro
- www.bishopslips.com (not a real track)