To bloop or not to bloop?

A new CD of radio cock-ups isn't as funny as it might be.

HOWLERS, TYPOS and malapropisms have always been a source of entertainment; but the last couple of decades have seen a dramatic rise in our consumption of them, particularly on television. No doubt this is partly a matter of economics - out-takes are pretty cheap, and I can't imagine it costs that much to hire Denis Norden for the evening. Perhaps, too, it says something about the decline of deference, our eagerness to see even minor authority figures, such as newsreaders and weathermen, caught with their pants down. More optimistically, it may say something about an increased public tolerance for fallibility, because, as often as not, it is shared embarrassment rather than pure schadenfreude which prompts us to laugh at mistakes and accidents.

All of these factors play a part in Bloopers Gold, a CD compilation of "classic" radio moments being sold in aid of the British Wireless for the Blind Fund, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Unfortunately, Jonathan Hewat, who has compiled, produced and presents the entire thing, has not given much thought to what it is that makes a "blooper" funny. This has two results: one is that his commentary, with its relentlessly facetious "Dear, oh dear" tone of voice, too often undermines the rather sad humour of the piece. There is nothing intrinsically amusing about hearing a newsreader suffering a fit of the giggles over the Rev Canaan Banana (not unless you are under 10); it is the crack in the facade, the unintended admission of frailty, which makes it rather sweet.

The other, more damaging result is that he has chosen a lot of bloopers which just aren't funny. Too many of these revolve round double (or near double) entendres: a woman called Regina, a rowing cox, and more quips about balls than you could shake a stick at. (You would think that sports commentators would work through the humorous possibilities of balls at a very early stage in their careers. You would be sadly mistaken.) In some cases, the simple inability to pronounce a word is supposed to be the cue for humour, but this doesn't always work - for instance, "invalidity benefit" is such an inherently unfunny concept that no amount of stammering and gibbering can change it.

Some of the other extracts here do not involve things going wrong at all. One of these is the hysterically triumphant Norwegian football commentator ("Maggie Thatcher! Can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher! Your boys took a hell of a beating!") - not that anybody will be unhappy to own a copy of this extraordinary moment. Apart from anything else, you can take the time to replay it, and wonder exactly why he invoked Anthony Eden and Clement Attlee as champions of Albion.

The one unquestioned classic here is the great Hastings Banda interview, in which the future dictator of Malawi answers each question with a confident "I won't tell you that". "Are you going to tell me anything?" "Nothing." "Are you going to tell me why you've been to Portugal?" "That's my business." It is a masterpiece of patient inquiry to compare with Paxman's grilling of Michael Howard. Elsewhere, there is one perfectly-timed belch, a reference to Eric Cantona's fracas with a Crystal Phallus pan, Brian Johnston giggling, and a quiz competitor asked who wrote Mein Kampf: heavy hinting helps him to work out that the first name is Adolf and the first syllable of the surname is Hit, but he still can't quite put his finger on it.

Of course, the real difficulty with marketing this CD is that these days you can get all the bloopers you want for free just by listening to the BBC radio news. Ah well, it is for charity.

To order `Bloopers Gold' or `Bloopers Silver', send a cheque for pounds 8.99, payable to `46 Design', to Bloopers Gold CD, BWFB, Gabriel House, 34 New Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4QR

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower