The News Huddlines
|Running time||30 mins|
|Home station||BBC Radio 2|
|Air dates||1975 to 2001|
|No. of series||51|
The News Huddlines was a long-running BBC Radio 2 topical comedy sketch show starring Roy Hudd that ran for fifty one series from 1975 until 2001 . Each episode lasted for half an hour and consisted of topical sketches, songs and one-liners.
The show became British radio’s longest-running audience comedy in 1994 and became the second longest-running overall behind Week Ending, which was terminated in 1998. Huddlines would have overtaken it in 2003 had it not been terminated with a Christmas special in 2001.
Many and varied writers added to the success of the show over the years. A feature of the show was its aim to let the public send in gags which they used and gave credit to those authors at the end of the show. It was hoped that this policy would help develop inexperienced writers. Major contributors included:
- Andy Hamilton
- Terry Ravenscroft
- Laurie Rowley
- David Renwick
- Marc Blakewill
- Terence Dackombe
- Paul Kerensa
- Terry Newman
- Mark Griffiths
- Ged Parsons
- Alan Stafford
- Richard Quick
- Jeremy Browne
- Iain Pattinson
- Sarah J Price
- D. A. Barham
- Julian Dutton
- Malcolm Needs
- Peter Hickey
- Colin Gilbert
The News Huddlines was established in 1975 as Radio 2’s answer to the BBC Radio 4 current affairs sketch show Week Ending, albeit with a distinctive style, much of it based around the stage persona of lead performer Hudd.
Huddlines ended in 2001 with a Christmas special show. In January 2002, Hudd accepted the role of Archie Shuttleworth in the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street and felt he could not continue in both capacities.
Unlike many contemporary BBC comedy shows, the Huddlines isn't being replayed on BBC Radio 4 Extra owing to 'rights issues'.
Content and style
The material of Huddlines was in a traditional British comedy style, usually aimed at an older audience, with every gag ending on a recognisable punchline.
Each show is loosely based around a series of ‘news items’ — usually convenient pegs on which to hang one-liners of greater or lesser topicality — and sketches about events in the week’s news.
The sketches are usually about public figures, many of whom reappear regularly and have distinctively exaggerated or fanciful characterisations. For instance, the ex-prime minister’s wife Norma Major, as voiced by Whitfield, seemed to bear an uncanny resemblance to Eth, her character in The Glums, a widely-remembered segment in the 1950s series Take It From Here. Certain members of the royal family (a Huddlines staple) are likewise not copied from life, such as The Queen Mother, who was portrayed with a Cockney accent.
- John Lavalie (2006). "The News Huddlines - Titles and Air Dates Guide". Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- Judy Leighton (1998). "RADIO Let's hear it for the original funny man". Retrieved 2006-12-02.[dead link]
- Paul Kerensa - Comedian & Writer
- Huddlines cancelled : News 2002 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide