The News at Bedtime

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The News at Bedtime
News at Bedtime.jpg
A screenshot of an online trailer for The News at Bedtime featuring Jack Dee (left) as John Tweedledum and Peter Capaldi (right) as Jim Tweedledee.
Other names News at Bedtime
Running time 15 minutes
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Home station BBC Radio 4
Starring Jack Dee
Peter Capaldi
Lucy Montgomery
Vicki Pepperdine
Dan Tetsell
Lewis MacLeod
Alex MacQueen
Written by Ian Hislop
Nick Newman
Produced by Simon Nicholls
Recording studio Maida Vale Studios
Original release 24 December 2009 – 31 December 2010
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 8
Opening theme A remix of the BBC News theme playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".[1]
Website BBC website

The News at Bedtime is a satirical comedy series on BBC Radio 4 written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, writers of the satirical Private Eye magazine. The series is a spoof of news programmes, in particular shows such as The Today Programme, set in "Nurseryland", a place in which all nursery rhymes and children's stories are real. The News at Bedtime stars Jack Dee and Peter Capaldi as the main newsreaders, John Tweedledum and Jim Tweedledee. The series was broadcast over the Christmas period in 2009, from Christmas Eve 2009 to New Year's Day 2010 with a special "Year in Review" episode broadcast on 31 December 2010.

Plot[edit]

The News at Bedtime is a news programme broadcast from the magical world of Nurseryland, in which nursery rhymes and children's stories are real. The main news readers are John Tweedledum and Jim Tweedledee, who both make it clear that they dislike each other. Tweedledum sees himself as more professional, compared to Tweedledee who likes celebrity culture. Whenever Tweedledum gets annoyed by Tweedledee (or vice versa), he hits him with a toy rattle. The other main contributors to the programme are Mary Mary, the Contrary Correspondent who reports live from news stories; Peter Rabbi who presents the Thought for the Day religious slot; and weather reporter Dilly Dilly.[2]

Production[edit]

The News at Bedtime is written by the editor of Private Eye and his close friend and sometime Private Eye contributor Nick Newman, and was inspired by a column they had written for the magazine.[1][3] Newman said of the writing process that when writing for Private Eye, they find a news story and then a nursery rhyme to fit it. However, for the radio series the process was reversed, "because it's timeless, rather than topical (though there is an element of topicality about it)."[4]

Newman also said: "It's such a mad word, nursery rhymes, when you think about it logically. There's actually quite an interesting story behind some of them. Like Humpty Dumpty - we all think it's about an egg falling off a wall. But really, Humpty Dumpty was a cannon in the English Civil War that one of the sides managed to blow up, and it fell down. So all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again - that's the origins of it. Some of these stories are true, and real news events. Part of the oral tradition of news!"[4]

Reception[edit]

The show has been received well by critics. Tom Cole in the Radio Times wrote: "The News At Bedtime is an almost hypnologic take on the conventions of a modern radio news programme, which presents streams of dreamlike absurdity with a staunchly straight face. While the content is a little silly at times, comedy fans and news junkies will still find plenty to enjoy."[5]

Jane Thynne said in The Independent: "you wouldn't need to be a Today aficionado to find this series a delight... All of it was pitch perfect, totally inventive and very funny."[6]

Episodes[edit]

# Title Original airdate
1 - 1 "Episode 1" 24 December 2009 (2009-12-24)
John Tweedledum, Jim Tweedledee and Mary Mary report on the scandal of Jack and his genetically modified beanstalk.[7]
1 - 2 "Episode 2" 25 December 2009 (2009-12-25)
It is Christmas in Nurseryland, and as everyone prepares for the Christmas Message from The Queen of Hearts, The News at Bedtime reports on the ongoing strike action threatened by Santa Claus over modernisation.[8]
1 - 3 "Episode 3" 28 December 2009 (2009-12-28)
In a special episode, The News at Bedtime cover the nutrition of Nurseryland, interviewing food campaigner Jack Sprat and with Mary Mary covering the news that a house made from sweets is to be demolished because it is unhealthy.[9]
1 - 4 "Episode 4" 29 December 2009 (2009-12-29)
Jim Tweedledee reports live from Mooston as the world prepares for a space mission which will see the first cow to jump over the moon.[10]
1 - 5 "Episode 5" 30 December 2009 (2009-12-30)
Mary Mary reports on a medical operation to try and save the live of an old lady who swallowed a fly, while John Tweedledum interviews Gregory Griggs about the death of Cock Robin.[11]
1 - 6 "Episode 6" 31 December 2009 (2009-12-31)
There is a disturbing news about the death of an egg sat on a wall, so Mary Mary attempts to interview one of the king's horses and one of the king's men.[12]
1 - 7 "Episode 7" 1 January 2010 (2010-01-01)
It is New Year's Day and the riot police are called upon during the Teddy Bears' Picnic.[13]
1 - 8 "Special: The Year in Review" 31 December 2010 (2010-12-31)
Co-news anchors John Tweedledum (Jack Dee) and Jim Tweedledee (Peter Capaldi) host a very special review of the previous year in Nursery Land.[14]

References[edit]

General

Specific

  1. ^ a b "The News At Bedtime - Production Details". comedy.co.uk. 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Wolf, Ian. "The News at Bedtime". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "The News At Bedtime - Overview". comedy.co.uk. 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Thair, David (24 December 2009). "Ian Hislop and Nick Newman on The News at Bedtime". BBC Comedy Blog. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Cole, Tom (24 December 2009). "The News at Bedtime". Radio Times. 
  6. ^ Thynne, Jane (31 December 2009). "The Week In Radio: Festive fare with hardly a turkey in sight". The Independent. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "The News at Bedtime - Episode 1.1". British Comedy Guide. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "The News at Bedtime - Episode 1.2". British Comedy Guide. 25 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  9. ^ "The News at Bedtime - Episode 1.3". British Comedy Guide. 28 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  10. ^ "The News at Bedtime - Episode 1.4". British Comedy Guide. 29 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  11. ^ "The News at Bedtime - Episode 1.5". British Comedy Guide. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  12. ^ "The News at Bedtime - Episode 1.6". British Comedy Guide. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "The News at Bedtime - Episode 1.7". British Comedy Guide. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  14. ^ "The News at Bedtime - Episode 1.8". British Comedy Guide. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 

External links[edit]