John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme

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John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme
John Finnemores Souvenir Programme series 3 and 4 CD cover.jpg
CD cover showing the cast, l-r: Carrie Quinlan, Simon Kane, John Finnemore, Lawry Lewin, Margaret Cabourn-Smith
GenreSketch show
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Home stationBBC Radio 4
Written byJohn Finnemore
Produced byEd Morrish
Original release2011 (2011) – present
No. of series9
No. of episodes53
Opening theme"Do It Your Own Way" by The Voodoo Trombone Quartet

John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme is a sketch comedy series broadcast on BBC Radio 4.[1] John Finnemore is the sole writer and performs with Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Simon Kane, Lawry Lewin and Carrie Quinlan. The first series was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2011, and further series have followed annually.[2][3] A special edition recorded at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was broadcast in 2012. All eight series have been released on CD.

The series contains sketches and character monologues, with only one major recurring character, a storyteller (a fictionalised version of John Finnemore) who narrates a tall tale in the last five minutes of most programmes, and who also provides the show's only recurring catchphrase, opening each story with "Well, since you ask me for...". This segment occasionally serves as a coda to several connecting sketches within a single episode, such as several small cons made in preparation of a milliner's heist. The only other recurring character between episodes is an interviewer played by Carrie Quinlan named Patsy Straightwoman.

Many episodes include a comic song with words by Finnemore and music by Susannah Pearse. Some of these songs include a cello played by Sally Stairs. Stairs also appears in the Stoppable sketch as a tram driver and in an Orchestra sketch as a cellist. Many episodes also include a recurring sketch that comes up two to four times in the episode. There are four sketches which parody the BBC Radio 4 series The Archers, portraying the show as it supposedly sounds to people who do not regularly listen to it. Starting in the fifth series the performers often break character, usually to complain to John about the sketches or to provide 'footnotes' highlighting factual errors. Another series of sketches involves a man (Finnemore) and the 'voice in his head' (played by Simon Kane) which appears only to give bad or unhelpful advice that often results in public awkwardness or embarrassment, such as retrieving a tip from a tip jar so that a barista can see him tipping.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ninth series, broadcast in 2021, was not performed before a live audience or accompanied by live music. The series focused on five generations of a family and their collective lore, chiefly a family song called "Woof, Woof, Woof Goes the Wolfhound". The series' main characters were Russ Golding (Lewin), Deborah Golding née Wilkinson (Cabourn-Smith), Jerry Wilkinson (Kane), Vanessa Wilkinson née Noone (Quinlan) and Oswald 'Uncle Newt' Nightingale (Finnemore). The sketch format was modified, with the first five episodes focusing on each of the main characters with scenes from their lives being depicted in reverse order, whilst the sixth depicts their shared experiences told in nonlinear order. 'Uncle Newt' is analogous with Finnemore's storyteller character, having told stories to Russ, Deborah, Jerry and Vanessa as children, starting them with the catchphrase "Well, since you ask me for...".

A pilot programme with a different supporting cast, titled John Finnemore, Apparently, was broadcast in 2008, starring Tom Goodman-Hill and Sarah Hadland. Many of the sketches in the pilot were subsequently remade for the series.


John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme was voted Best British Radio Sketch Show in the British Comedy Guide Awards 2011.[4] In 2014, it was awarded Silver for Best Comedy at the Radio Academy Awards.[5] It was also shortlisted for Best Radio Comedy in the 2014 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards.

Original broadcasts[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 11 September 2011 9 October 2011 4
Special 22 August 2012 1
2 13 September 2012 18 October 2012 6
3 3 September 2013 8 October 2013 6
4 16 October 2014 20 November 2014 6
5 7 January 2016 11 February 2016 6
6 27 December 2016 31 January 2017 6
7 4 January 2018[6] 8 February 2018 6
8 22 May 2019[2] 26 June 2019 6
9 6 May 2021[7] 10 June 2021 6


The show has been released in both Audible audiobook format and on CD, with physical releases published by BBC Physical Audio.

Release Date
Series 1 23 August 2013
Series 2 5 September 2013
Series 3 & 4 13 November 2014
Series 5 7 April 2016
Series 6 2 March 2017
Series 7 5 April 2018
Series 8 19 September 2019


  1. ^ "John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b "BBC Radio 4 - John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme". BBC.
  3. ^ Finnemore, John (June 13, 2014). "Souvenir hunting". Forget What Did. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  4. ^ " Awards 2011 - Results". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  5. ^ "2014 Radio Academy Awards: Full Winners". Radio Today. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  6. ^ "John Finnemore's Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  7. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, Series 9, Episode 1". BBC. Retrieved 7 May 2021.